Monday, January 23, 2017 11:00 am ·  0 Comments
Oakville BIAs hosted the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) this week at the Quality Inn on Bronte Road. The OBIAA represents over 60,000 small businesses, which is a large percentage of Ontario’s 407,000 small businesses.
Ontario’s first BIA represented the businesses in Bloor West Village, and was created in the 1970’s. This has grown to 310 including the 82 BIA’s in Toronto. BIA’s are financed by a tax levee on commercial properties located within their boundaries, and receive no government funding. Events like Canada Day, Jazz Festival, Kerr-Fest, and Midnight Madness are financed through those funds along with any additional sponsorship the BIA’s are able to secure.
The role of a BIA is to improve business capacity in their geographic areas, through tools such as beautification, cultural and sporting events, and business development. They work closely with local residents association, such as Kerr Village with the West River Residents Association, and Bronte Village BIA with the Bronte Village Residents Association. They all work closely with the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.
The other role of the BIA’s is to advocate on behalf of the business in their areas with local government to help eliminate red tape. The OBIAA is working with the provincial government in revamping the Vacant Unit Rebate. Currently landlords who have vacant buildings, such as the those owned by Bentall Kennedy on Lakeshore Road East in Downtown Oakville received an, up to, 30% rebate on their taxes and BIA levy. The vacant locations have a negative effect on revenue as well as street appeal. The OBIAA is suggesting the Vacant Unit Rebate become a economic development tool – the Attraction Rebate, and that property owners receive the full Vacant Unit Rebate in the first year, 75% of the rebate in the second year and 25% in the third year and that the Attraction Rebate be tied in with the property standards and upkeep of the property.
Areas in Oakville that could be looked as BIA’s include Speers Road becoming the Designer District, or OakPark at Trafalgar and Dundas. BIA’s are created by interested community leaders of business and resident associations. If you are interested in creating a BIA, you can contact OBIAA. OBIAA is a non-profit organization that works with the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing.
Bronte Village, Downtown Oakville, and Kerr Village play a vital role in creating the fabric that makes Oakville more than a suburban outpost of Toronto, but rather as one of the most desirable places to raise a family in Canada.
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