What is a BIA?
What is a BIA?
The Technical Stuff
A BIA is a Business Improvement Association. It is formed under authority of the community charter (sections 210-219, you can read it here). Its primary purpose (defined in section 215 (1)) is:
- Carrying out studies or developing reports
- Improving, beautifying or maintaining streets, sidewalks or municipally-owned land, buildings or other structures
- Removing graffiti from buildings and other structures
- Conserving heritage property
- And generally encouraging business
With these considerations in mind, business and municipal leaders can work together to help create a shared vision of the business improvement area.
Where Does the Money Come From?
The City, on our behalf, collects membership dues as a “property value tax”. It is assessed only on Business Owners and Commercial Space Lessors (Class 5 and 6). The dues rate that is currently approved by our members is a rate of 71 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value.
Who are our Members?
All commercial property owners and their commercial tenants (operating legally with licenses and such) are automatically members of the BIA. For the North Shore BIA, this includes all of these properties from the Overlander’s Bridge to Ord Road, from the North Thompson River to the Country Club.
How Are We Transparent?
To ensure we are representing our members best interests, we undertake three processes to maintain transparency with our funding:
- We present our annual results (including financials and operations) to an Open Council meeting. this allows us to publicly attest to what we have done for our members,
- We present our annual report on operations and financial reports to our members each spring at our AGM.
- We MUST renew our mandate with our members every five years (at a maximum).
What We Are Not
While we have a close working relationship with the City, we are not a city agency. We are a member driven organization with a Board of Directors, We hold an annual AGM. We communicate regularly through our channels (such as this one) and work hard to forge positive relationships across political lines to further the cause of creating a positive business and community environment on the Shore.
We do not serve any other agencies, governments or organizations. We serve our members and their community.
We are not a mediator between commercial owners and their tenants.
What we DO..
1) We Celebrate the Culture of our Shore.
We embrace and work to enhance our community through events and celebrations in our core areas. (Overlanders’ Day, Brewloops on the Shore, Scavenge the Shore, and others to be announced soon).
2) We Market for our Members.
We work with media and other partners to market our areas, encourage customers to visit our business areas, and we project the desirable nature of Shopping, Dining, Living and Playing on the Shore.
3) We Construct.
We work with developers, speculators, business owners, entrepreneurs and investors to create the environment that leads to business success. This can occur through attracting new business, developing new projects, enhancing existing business, or working with our partners to get stuff done!
4) We Liaise
Everyday, we work with our partners at the City, Non-profit Associations, Community Associations, other professional organizations, and our members to find balance and cheer lead us all in the same direction. Sometimes its tough to find common ground, other times its easy. Its up to us to be at the “table” talking and working positively with everyone to create a vibrant community in which our businesses thrive.
5) We Care. A Lot.
All of us at the BIA are here because we believe. A Lot.
We believe in what the Shore has always been;
- a cultural gem in the province.
- A recreational mecca where we access highlands, lowlands, pathways, and sporting facilities,
- A quirky shopping district where the unusual can be found, where niche stores are filled with antiques and where mainstream shopping is right alongside mom and pop shops.
- Where you can dine at a different restaurant every week for over eight months, sampling 13 cultures and numerous fusions of them.
We Believe in our Community. What it is, what it can be, and the pathway between. We acknowledge it’s not always easy, but we also acknowledge that by working together we can become what we envision, a strong, proud and vibrant community.
So, the next time you wonder “What is a BIA?”, remember, we are here for you, our members, and our future.
We care, and we are always here to help.