Trust is eroding in a deal struck last month between the Downtown London Business Association and a group of concerned merchants.

Business owner David E. White warns that a new letter asking city council to approve the 2019-2022 DLBA board of directors could reignite tensions.

“That would be like pouring kerosene on the fire. We cannot afford to put control back in their hands for four more years because we have no guarantee whatsoever that they will relinquish that control.”

Last month, a contentious annual general meeting saw a group of merchants question how their tax levy is being spent, the leadership of LDBA CEO Janette Macdonald, and Downtown London's positions on issues like street parking and bus rapid transit.

Members voted against the 2019 budget, and most supported the idea of striking a temporary board which would serve until a small ad hoc resolved their differences.

But the letter to council makes no mention of a “temporary” board.

According to city hall, a business improvement area is created when council passes a bylaw.

The bylaw for Downtown London states that the term of the board should be the same as the term of council.

The chair of the DLBA, Gerald Gallacher, warns if council delays the appointments and 2019 budget, then the board will be stuck in neutral until the ad hoc committee reports back in June.

“The board is going to council because we need to move forward. We will take the findings of that (ad hoc) committee and present it to the membership, and if the membership wants that board replaced, then that's what we will do.”

But White is skeptical, “We don't take their word for it. The chain of trust, the corporate governance has broken down between membership and the board.”

Gallacher suggests trust goes both ways, “Various deals were in place and various deals were not fulfilled but I think we are in a place now we've got the committee its ready to go.”

Letters are being sent to city hall asking that the appointment of the board and 2019 budget be put off until June.

Council is expected to make a decision next week.