FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a BIA?
A BIA is a legal organization mandated by provincial legislation that acts as a unified business voice to address issues on behalf of its members. A BIA is made up of local business owners and commercial property owners and tenants within a defined area who work in partnership with the city to create, organize, finance and implement physical improvements and promote economic development.
What are the benefits of a BIA?
As a united collective of local businesses, BIAs are an effective vehicle to facilitate change. BIAs fund, organize and facilitate civic improvements to enhance neighbourhood quality through access to municipal, provincial and federal grants as well as financial incentive programs all of which help to fund an array of projects including festivals, murals, public art displays, market research and strategic planning.
How is a BIA funded?
Upon establishing a BIA, all property and business owners within the defined area are automatically members and therefore contribute a special levy (in addition to normal municipal taxes) on property within that area. All members have the opportunity to voice what that levy amount should be. The BIA Board of Management then creates a budget based on the levy amount outlining how the collected funds will be utilized. The budget is submitted and must be approved by the local municipality. Upon municipal approval, the City then collects and distributes the levy to the BIA Board of Management to administer according to its program of activities for the year.
How does a BIA work?
A BIA is run by a volunteer Board of Management elected by its members as well as any staff deemed necessary. The Board is nominated at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) and, once approved by City Council, serves a four-year term concurrent with the term of Council. The Board works on behalf of its membership and meets regularly to develop budgets, set priorities, implement capital improvements, plan festivals, and promote its business area and community
How does a BIA improve local economy?
- Street and sidewalk maintenance
- Promotion of local businesses, employment, tourism
- Host festivals and events to attract more business
- Crime prevention and increased safety and security
- Neighbourhood beautification: graffiti removal, murals, banners etc
- Advocate on behalf of their members