In conversation with the new Project Manager of the Malton BIA - Natalie Hart

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1. What attracted me to the Malton BIA,?

The Malton BIA was only created in 2013, the first few years for any community organization are a challenge. Now is a great time to build on the work that has been done and move forward with programming and events that bring the community together. I'm a big fan of having the advantage of a core event such as the Malton Canada Day Celebration, and using that to anchor the business community to the residents. Tourism is a natural area to look at for growth when Malton is after all the home to the Airport, not to mention the Avrow Arrow!

2. What did you do prior to this?

Like nearly everyone these days my career path is hardly a straight line. My background is heavily influenced by the over 20 years I spent in financial services, primarily as a commercial lender. There is no question that work with business owners led me to look at how I could be more directly involved in how our business community thrives. that career took me to several towns across Ontario before I moved back to Mississauga in 2013. Growing up here, with my family in Mississauga meant this was the right place for me to choose myself. Since then I've had multiple roles in community events, boards and more. The largest one of course was Amacon Mississauga Rotary Ribfest, but I'm just as proud of the work I have done with the Dam, A Canada 150 event, and others across the city. Promoting community events from social media, to videos to public speaking has become a part of my DNA, I'm so proud of the way Mississauga embraces the public events that are held here.

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3. What attracted you to become an entrepreneur?

I don't think I'd describe myself that way, despite it being true. My work is focused on our community, our city, and not for profits across a wide range of directions that help make Mississauga such a vibrant community. I think of myself more as an activist, and worry less about the entrepreneur part, and more about if what I'm doing is creating the city that I want to share with my community.

4. What's the most resounding lesson you learned from being an entrepreneur?

That it is ok to branch out in different directions, nobody goes to school to learn how to run a major festival (and in fact I'm currently at U of T studying Gender Studies and Urban Planning). If you focus on why you do things, the how to get them done will be something you can find. It's about the motivation, not the process. Of course the fact that my choices let me juggle a schedule that has school, family, volunteering and more is pretty important. Communities like Malton are about people who want to work together, families striving for a solid education for their children, a range of services for seniors, and a place where you can live and work. I'm excited about getting involved in projects that will help build Malton's pride of place.

Speaking of Pride, the Avrow Arrow is a historical aviation achievement, designed, built and created in Malton. By far the most important part of my enjoying new projects is going to be working with the board of the BIA, stakeholders and the community to bring a new replica CF 105 to Malton. Spearheaded by the Malton BIA and Councillor Carolyn Parrish, adding this replica to our park will add to the civic pride of Malton. Not to mention creating a tourism draw, the CF 105 remains not only an aviation mystery, but still would be competitive from a technology standpoint. Being a small part of that project is a key reason I'm excited about Project Management with the Malton BIA, talk about a unique undertaking!

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5. How do you see Malton evolving over the next four years?

There is a tremendous chance to create an identity for Malton, leveraging the aviation history, and future to help craft that story. It is a very walkable area, with residents and commercial areas in close proximity to each other, new parks have been built to create public space. Community centre's such as the Paul Coffey area have been revamped. There is still more to do, a community hub for meetings, activities and more would create a space that is important to get the community together more often. It will be about placemaking, from parks, to community hubs and yes including the new replica. It is also about addressing infrastructure, rebuilding the bridge on Goreway for is one such project. More importantly it is about creating a community that gets involved in crafting that vision, and bringing it to life. Project management is about executing the vision the community has for itself, I am thrilled to be a part of the process.

6. Describe Malton in six words

Diverse, walk able, and ready to take flight!

7. Pineapple on pizza?

No...just no. Now if you want to add hot peppers sure, but still no pineapple.

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8. What's the one thing you've bought that you can't live without?

I'd probably have a hard time giving up my shoes. Or coffee.

9. What is the biggest misconception about Malton?

Did you know that area overall has some of the largest commercial tax base in Mississauga? Talk abut a thriving area that contributes to our city.

11. If I gave you a time machine, would you go forwards or backwards, to what year and why?

EXPO 67 as it was an event that helped to shape a community. As a person who enjoys looking at how we use public space, and create it by what takes place in it, that would be worth a look.

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