Barrie Construction Association celebrates 25th anniversary First BCA president recalls the association’s establishment at Aug. 25 party

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STAFF WRITER
The GTA Construction Report Special Feature

The Barrie Construction Association celebrated its 25th anniversary with an afternoon party on Aug. 25.

Founding BCA president Bill Thompson gave a speech describing his early recollections of the association that was incorporated in1991.

Thompson said “the formation actually started quite a bit before then. I remember well my good friend Jordan Abercrombie coming into my office one day in 1989 and saying . . . ‘You know we really need an association” (because) the regulations are changing and we need a place for training, networking and to be a voice for the ICI Construction Industry.’”

“I said: ‘Sounds like a good idea’ and he says: ‘OK get something going.’”

Thomson said a small group met at the Bertram Construction (then Bertram Bros.) boardroom to see if the idea had merit.

“Then in 1990 we met a couple of times, the last one being a large group in the Barrie PUC Lunchroom. A vote was held and it was decided to move forward,” Thompson said. “This led to a day almost exactly 25 years ago when Jordan, Paul Marly, Jerry Verlaan and I met with David White and in the span of an hour we drafted out a charter and incorporated the Barrie Construction Association as a not for profit organization.”

“Little did we know that that was the easy part,” he said.

Early on, the association got its first test when Barrie city council decided to introduce development charges in 1992. The BCA was defining its identity in comparison to the established Barrie Builders Association (which is now the Simcoe County Home Builders’ Association). The two associations co-operated in their response to the development charges issue.

“With the builders we organized a large number of trucks to ring City Hall in advance of the Council Meeting,” Thompson recalled. “This was so successful that Mayor Janice Laking couldn’t get to her parking place in the City Hall garage.”

“We spoke at the council and with the like-minded thinking, Chamber (of Commerce) were successful in having zero DCA charges for commercial and industrial in that initial bylaw.” (These charges were subsequently introduced by the city.)

Thompson also recalled some of the BCA’s earliest social events, including the first golf tournament. “Wow has this event ever grown,” he said. “The Par 3 contest has generated much needed funds for needy organizations over the years.”

“In 1993 we also inducted our first group – Les Bertram, Ross Bertram, Millet Salter, Harry Nesbitt and Jordan Abercrombie – into the Honour Roll,” he said.

Thompson wrapped up his presentation by inviting past presidents and board members at the gathering to raise their hands, and with a message to younger people about the value of association participation.

“I wish everyone much success and I encourage the younger folks here to get involved in this association,” he said. “The construction business is our livelihood and this is a good way to pay it forward.”

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