Vancouver Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) have reached a significant milestone. On April 1, 2019 they will celebrate 30 years of contributing to the success, vitality and sustainability of Vancouver’s commercial districts and neighbourhoods.
From its birth in 1989 in Mount Pleasant, Downtown Vancouver and Gastown, Vancouver’s BIA network has since grown to include 22 areas collectively representing more than 22,000 small businesses and commercial property owners in unique and diverse neighbourhoods across the city.
The Benefits of BIAs
BIA Businesses and commercial property owners generate significant resources ($13M in 2019) that are directly invested in strategic programs to support neighbourhood level economic development, such as marketing, street beautification, community safety, advocacy, and special events. The city as a whole has benefited through creation and maintenance of vibrant, welcoming and healthy communities for business owners, employees, citizens and visitors alike.
Here are some of the ways our local economy is boosted by BIAs:
- Marketing: cost-effective exposure for businesses/area including co-op ads, directory brochures, social media and other digital marketing, media features.
- Events: showcasing the area, nurturing social connections and attracting patrons through season events, street festivals, outdoor movie nights and more.
- Street Enhancements and Safety: making the area safer and brighter through street lighting, banners, planters, street furniture, social employment clean
teams, and various safety initiatives (i.e. safety guides, workshops, street ambassadors).
- Community and Business Engagement: establishing valuable partnerships, cross-promotions and networking events to connect businesses and other
community members. BIAs partner with municipal departments, community centres, neighbourhood houses, CPCs, schools and much more.
- Business Recruitment: working with property owners and realtors to recruit and retain tenants, and encourage an optimum business mix.
- Advocacy: supporting businesses by advocating to address local issues (i.e. parking, transportation, permit processes, commercial property taxes, etc.); serving
conduit of information and liaising with stakeholders about relevant business matters.
The City of Vancouver recognizes the invaluable contributions of BIAs in making Vancouver’s distinctive neighbourhoods and downtown streets desirable places to operate businesses, work, live, socialize and celebrate. Mayor Kennedy Stewart made this recognition official, proclaiming April 1-7, 2019 as Vancouver Business Improvement Area Week in the city.