RIVETING: Meet Doug Ausman


“If it wasn’t for Doug Ausman, there would be no Shipyards District Business Improvement Area,” says the BIA’s current Executive Director, Greg Holmes. 

If you live and/or work in The Shipyards District you have likely met the charismatic, strategic, and people-minded, Greg Holmes. But before Greg, there was Doug (actually, Doug is still very much around) who paved the way beginning in 2008 before today’s vision of this neighbourhood was fully realized. 

While the BIA has officially been in place for five years now, Doug Ausman has served as Director and, at times, President and Treasurer, of the former Lower Lonsdale Business Association. At the same time, he was a City of North Vancouver representative to the Port of Vancouver’s North Shore Waterfront Liaison Committee. It seems the moment he “landed” in the neighbourhood he hit the ground running to help ensure the transformation of the community from industrial to impressive.  Doug’s volunteer work has earned him the 2010 City of North Vancouver Community Champion award from City Council.

Doug moved to North Vancouver’s Lower Lonsdale in 2002 after spending decades in Victoria, BC. He and his wife decided to move to the area to be close to their adult “kids” and arriving grandchildren, and so that he could establish a new career.  

Doug has held a variety of impressive leadership roles (too many to list) including Assistant Deputy Minister/Executive Director at the Province of British Columbia, General Manager of the University of Victoria Students Society, and Director and President of BC Legal Management Association.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree, an M.B.A., and is a Chartered Professional Accountant CPA – in fact, he did two of his degrees simultaneously while also working. Doug took on the role of Chief Operating Officer at the law firm Ratcliff & Company, whose offices are across the street from his home at the waterfront. He was attracted to the views, the walkability of the area, and he could see, or imagine, the potential.

Then one day in 2004 as Doug was at work at Ratcliff & Company, a form came across his desk asking businesses to join the Lower Lonsdale Business Association, as it was known then, and he knew without a doubt that he wanted to be a part of this venture. He wanted to make a positive contribution to the area, and he was excited for the rewarding purpose it would provide in his future semi-retirement.

Like all change, the Lower Lonsdale Business Association’s journey (2004 to 2016) was a long, and slightly bumpy one, but ultimately incredibly worth it for the area businesses (mostly small business owners), the City of North Vancouver, locals, and visitors. 

Thanks to the tireless work of volunteers from the business community, on January 1, 2017, the Lower Lonsdale Business Improvement Area (now renamed), a non-profit society, was formed to provide a united, collective voice for the newly revitalized business district (now known as The Shipyards District). The Lower Lonsdale BIA began operating with a budget of $500,000, funded by a special levy, with Doug serving as the BIA’s Acting Executive Director. Typically, once a BIA is established, City Council adds a special levy to commercial tax bills to the area businesses to be used for marketing, beautification projects, and community events.

The primary goal of The Shipyards District BIA is to market and promote businesses within the area to locals, Metro Vancouver, and tourists. The 14-member Lower Lonsdale BIA volunteer board is elected from eligible members at each Annual General Meeting and, since May 2017, has been led by Executive Director, Greg Holmes.

When asked, in recent years, what is his current role with the BIA Board, Doug says he’s had trouble summarizing it so he invented the following tagline response: “Founding Father, Governance Guru, History Honcho, and Continuity Counsel.”

Curious to know more about the neighbourhood transformation and the BIA’s accomplishments over these last five years? A few clicks through this website and a quick Google search will reveal a plethora of dramatic, progressive, and very positive change – again, far too much to list here. 

So, it seemed inevitable that on December 13, 2021, following five incredibly successful years, the City of North Vancouver’s Mayor and Councillors unanimously approved a new eight-year mandate for The Shipyards District Business Improvement Area! 

The extraordinary commitment, passion, and dedication of The Shipyards District community deserves the highest of praise for this accomplishment. “We are so grateful for the much needed trusted and valued partnerships on this journey as we create the most vibrant, exciting, and diverse waterfront business district in Canada,” says Greg Holmes. “With eight more years of financial security, there’s a number of big plans we still have for the community.”

The best just might be yet to come.


Curious to know a bit more about Doug Ausman? Here’s the scoop:


  1. What are three things people might not know about you?
  2. I drink Diet Coke by the gallon.
  3. I’m a “gear head” – I love cars. 
  4. In the last 40 years, my wife and I have travelled to 62 countries.


  1. What was your first job?
  2. When I was eight, I would regularly help my brother deliver 200 Woodward’s and Eaton’s flyers to homes. He was paid $3.50, and then he’d give me 50 cents for helping deliver 100 of them. 


  1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
  2. An astronaut. In the late 70s, the government announced a new national astronaut program and I applied. I got a nice rejection letter.


  1. What do you like to read?
  2. My wife and I are big news junkies. Most mornings we grab our iPads and go through all the news sites, and then discuss the various articles. 


  1. What are your favorite go-to meals and drinks? 
  2. I like to cook but my wife says I, “get in the way.” I love a good BBQ hamburger with mushrooms, pasta, my wife’s sticky toffee pudding, any wine, and a Manhattan or vodka martini. 


  1. What advice do you have for small business owners?
  2. Learn about business, look after the money, get a good advisor, don’t go into debt, and start small so you can handle a downturn.

Fancy a chat with Doug? You’ll likely bump into him somewhere in the neighbourhood on his daily walk, tending the Chadwick Court Street Island Gardens, or get in touch with him directly at Ausman Business Management dougausman@gmail.com