BIA Boundary Expansion Information & feedback
As you may have heard, our BIA is looking for feedback from area businesses on an important project to expand our boundaries to finally serve all the businesses across Hintonburg and Wellington Village.
This map shows our current BIA area in orange, with the new “expansion” areas shown in blue. Later this year, after our application is hopefully approved by City Council, all commercial property owners in both areas will receive an official City notice with a 90-day opportunity to formally object to the expansion if they choose.
But in the meantime, we are looking for your feedback!
More information: Download 2019 Report
About the expansion
Since our founding in 2008, the Wellington West Business Improvement Area has been building a different kind of commercial district. We’ve been intensely focused on three things: 1) serving, supporting, and equipping our 550+ businesses and 200+ property owner members for business success; 2) creating a warm, safe, and professionally maintained commercial district for our members, neighbours, and community partners; and 3) cultivating a diverse and exciting “community of communities” to maximize the benefits of local ownership, mutual cooperation, and civic engagement.
In preparation for the coming of the Light Rail to our area in Fall 2019, from May to November 2019, the Wellington West Business Improvement Area has carried out this research study to explore the viability, benefits, and business dynamics involved with a possible expansion of our current boundaries toward the three LRT stations that will serve our area by 2022.
And now we would like to welcome new members
As a result of this study, the BIA is proposing an expansion to its existing boundaries, to include businesses within the three areas adjacent to the existing BIA (See Map above).
- Area 1: Gladstone Station – along Gladstone Avenue West of the O-Train Line 2.
- Area 2: Tunney’s Station – South side of Scott Street near Holland Avenue, including Holland Cross.
- Area 3: Bayview Station – South side of Scott between Pinehurst and O-Train
We believe we have much to offer businesses in these three areas, and since none are likely to be included in any other BIA, we are uniquely positioned to represent and assist them into an integrated BIA.
And for all members – existing and new – while the proposed boundary expansion would only add a total of 19 properties, with around 45 businesses, to the BIA, this would represent a 33% increase to the assessed value of our area, which is critical to expanding our pool of resources while allowing us to ensure that our levies per member remain affordable – we currently have the lowest average levy per member of any urban BIA in Ottawa.
So what *is* a BIA?
As the Ontario BIA Association defines it: “A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a “made-in-Ontario” innovation that allows local business people and commercial property owners and tenants to join together and, with the support of the municipality, to organize, finance, and carry out physical improvements and promote economic development in their district.”
Basically, like a traditional business association, our BIA is run by a Board of local business and property owners who collaborate on projects and programs to improve and promote our area as a premiere place to shop and do business. But in addition, being a BIA means that we have official status with the City to carry out streetscape improvements, speak for collective business interests in dealing with City, hall, and we have the ability to set our own budget and ask the City to collect proportional membership fees (“levies”) on our behalf to support our programs and our small permanent staff and office.
So the Wellington West BIA is:
- Business run. All BIA decisions are made by business for the success of our fellow businesses, independent of City Hall.
- Self-funded. We set our own budget, every penny of which goes into improving our local area.
- Open and transparent. Any local property owner or business can stand for election on our Board or serve on our committees.
- Entrepreneurial. Every year for the past three years, a growing proportion of our budget has come from grants, sponsorships, and partnerships rather than member levies.
How much does it cost?
Since our levies are self-determined by our own Board, we work to keep our budget and our levy request as low as possible; every year since our founding, Wellington West BIA levies have been the lowest-per-business of any BIA in central Ottawa.
And how much is that? It’s different for every property, but generally small businesses will pay much less while larger stores or offices will pay a proportionately larger amount. This is because levy rates are weighted to the size of each property’s assessed value relative to the all the others in our BIA. So side-street businesses will pay lower rates than main-street retail spaces, prime offices will pay more than lower-rent spaces, and so on.
But to give more concrete examples, last year one fairly typical small mainstreet store in Hintonburg paid around $17.80 per month, while one of our larger stores paid less than $181.75 per month. For new businesses, we estimate this will average around 20-25 cents per square foot per year when we set next year’s budget. But we’ll be able to provide more accurate estimate for any particular property on request.