What is a BIA?

Steps to Starting a BIA

The decision to start a BIA can only be made by people who own or lease commercial and/or industrial property in the area. Sections 19-2.2 and 19-2.3 in the Municipal Code Chapter 19 (Amended) PDF detail the processes required to establish a BIA.

Step 1: Establish a Steering Committee to Start your BIA

Comprised of five or more people, the Steering Committee should include commercial and/or industrial property owners and business tenants that represent various types of businesses and geographic sections within the area. The Committee’s main role is to gauge stakeholder interest in forming a BIA and to define the geographic area. With assistance from the City the Committee must develop an implementation strategy addressing the rationale for forming a BIA including potential benefits for the area and objectives for future improvements.

Step 2: Determine Community Interest Within Proposed Area

The Steering Committee must provide business and property owners within the proposed area with information about BIAs. Informal meetings and consultation sessions with area stakeholders are good ways to confirm the area boundaries, clarify issues, and validate the level of interest.

The Committee should report the level of stakeholder interest to the City BIA Office in order to determine sufficient support in proceeding to step three.

Step 3: Hold a Public Meeting and Formal BIA Request

On behalf of the Steering Committee, the City will organize and host formal public meeting(s) to determine if there is sufficient interest in creating a BIA. If more than 50 per cent of those in attendance support moving to the formal polling stage, the Steering Committee then makes a formal request to proceed.

Step 4: Polling Process for Creating a New BIA

Property owners must forward a copy of the poll to their tenants.

The Steering Committee is responsible for distributing a copy of the notice to commercial/ industrial tenants in the proposed BIA area. Property owners and business tenants are asked to return ballots to the City Clerk’s Office.

City Council can approve a BIA if:

  • at least 30 per cent of the ballots mailed (or a minimum of 100, whichever is lower) are returned to the City Clerk’s Office
  • more than 50 per cent of the ballots are in favour of the BIA