KENILWORTH – An Arthur BIA (Business Improvement Area) meeting is being held at the Arthur community centre on Jan. 29.
A presentation outlining the functions of the new organization will start at 7:15pm.
In an email to the North Wellington Community News, Wellington North’s economic development officer Dale Small explained a letter was sent to all commercial property owners and business owners within the BIA boundary.
“We heard the concerns that the process was moving too fast or people were not aware, so this is an opportunity for them to learn more about the BIA,” said Small.
“We hope that individuals who are interested in sitting on the board and being part of the decision making process moving forward will put their names forward.”
The letter sent to owners states, “Over the past few months there has been a significant amount of discussion around the creation of a Business Improvement Area (BIA) in Arthur. Some has been positive discussion, and some has not.
“We want to ensure everyone is aware that at the Wellington North council meeting on Dec. 16, 2019 council did pass a bylaw to create a BIA in Arthur.”
The letter notes the BIA boundary includes all 55 commercial properties from the area of Clarke and Smith Streets to the intersection of Wellington Road 109 and Highway 6.
At the Dec. 16 council meeting it was also decided that prior to approving a budget or appointment of a board for the new BIA, the township would hold another information session.
“We also want to be very clear that the information session is not to determine whether or not to establish a BIA. Council have already made this decision,” stated Small in the letter.
“The information session is being setup to ensure everyone has the opportunity to become better informed about the BIA.
“We will also be looking for business or property owners who want to become more involved, in a positive way, to step up and indicate their desire to sit on the board and have real influence on the direction the BIA takes.”
After the Jan. 29 meeting, council will be in a position to appoint the BIA management board.
Once appointed, the board will then be afforded an opportunity to consider projects and a corresponding budget for 2020 and beyond.
Small states in his letter to owners that “the BIA model is a very successful model and we know that Arthur has a great mix of people to ensure that the Arthur BIA is the envy of others.”
He noted there are over 500 BIAs in Canada, including communities such as St. Jacobs, Creemore, Acton, Barrie, Blyth, Collingwood, Huntsville, Elora, Thornbury, Goderich and Exeter, as well as Mount Forest, where the BIA has existed since 1985.
“As we look forward to the future and leveraging council’s $8-million investment in the Arthur Wastewater Treatment Plant, we know our community is going to change and grow and we believe having a strong BIA will help to position our businesses and community for much success,” states Small in his letter.
For information contact a member of council or Small at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business Improvement Areas designed to promote local shopping
Functions of a BIA
The general functions of a traditional BIA are to:
– Oversee the improvement, beautification and maintenance of municipally-owned land, buildings and structures in the area beyond that provided at the expense of the municipality generally.
– Promote the area as a business or shopping area.
Examples of BIA Activities include:
Beautification – BIAs often provide enhancements in a business area to create a more pleasant atmosphere for local businesses and neighbouring residential areas. The most common way is streetscape improvement through the addition of customer-friendly lighting, signage, street furniture, planters, banners and sidewalk treatments as well as seasonal decorations.
Revitalization and Maintenance – BIAs can help to revitalize, improve and maintain physical infrastructure as well as help make an area cleaner and safer. Approaches have ranged from working towards brownfield redevelopment and building facade restoration to graffiti removal and enhanced street cleaning and garbage receptacles.
Marketing and Promotion – To retain and expand its customer base, a BIA may encourage both local residents and others to shop and use services within the local commercial district through marketing and promotional activities.
Special Events – BIAs often organize and work with community partners to hold special events to promote and showcase their businesses.
Examples include holding a street dance, music, theatre or dance festival, food fair, arts and crafts exhibition, art studio tour, fashion show, ethnic/cultural celebration and seasonal carnival or parade as well as establishing a local farmers’ market.
Business Recruitment – BIAs often work with commercial or industrial property owners to help ensure that available space is occupied, and that an optimum business and service mix is achieved and maintained.
Communication – BIAs can act as a voice for the business community and often establish important relationships with other community voices, such as city council, municipal departments, local community groups (schools, churches, citizen groups, etc.) and institutions (chambers of commerce, committees of council, etc.).
The BIA forum can be used to convey community concerns to council and help prompt council to pursue policies and activities to promote and strengthen the community and its unique identity. Likewise, it can provide a feedback mechanism for council issues.
Who May Benefit from a BIA?
Business Operators – All businesses in the area, whether retail, professional, dining, entertainment or finance, may gain advantages from the improved local atmosphere and ambience that a successful BIA helps to create. Improvements and activities may retain more local customers and attract more visitors. Cost savings to members may result from improved integration of capital funding and promotional activities.
Property Owners – BIA-initiated improvements and activities may help to create and sustain a more vibrant economic environment within an area, which may lead to an increased demand for retail and office space, a decrease in commercial vacancy rates and an increase in property values.
Surrounding Neighbourhoods – A BIA may improve quality of life in surrounding neighbourhoods through physical improvements as well as enhanced ambience, choices in local shopping and professional services, job opportunities, cleanup and safety programs, and community get-togethers.
The Wider Community – Fostering local economic development and revitalization in an area can stimulate new impetus for tourism and investment in the wider community. Increased business activity can improve both the municipal and sales tax base and support public services of benefit to all.
Fostering community engagement can strengthen and build community interest, spirit, pride and networks well beyond the boundaries of a BIA.