Business Improvement Areas can exploit opportunities and solve problems. In a nutshell, BIAs link the owners of two or more private properties or businesses, enabling them to share the costs of solving common problems, or realizing economic opportunities associated with their area.
BIAs represent systems of cooperation in which business representatives agree to a formula for cost sharing and for managing the implementation of plans they have helped shape. This sustainable funding system enables predictable, dependable multi-year budgets.
Sustainability requires that a BIA levy be compulsory, multi-year, and applied to all benefiting properties or businesses. It is enforced with the power of government to collect the assessments.
Oversight is the responsibility of a board of directors whose membership reflects both the interests of property owners and commercial interests – those that are paying the assessments.
While governments have limited authorizing and oversight responsibilities, the onus for planning, financing and managing BIAs resides with the private sector. BIAs are not ‘privatization’ of government functions. They are better described as ‘cooperative capitalism’.
BIAs are active all across North America. We are part of the Business Improvement Association of British Columbia (BIABC), an organization formed in 1991 to facilitate networking among BIA members. There are currently 52 BIAs operating in British Columbia, with 25 more in the process of formation. There are 20 BIAs in Vancouver that represent over 6,467 properties and $17 billion in land value. Vancouver BIAs pay $336 million in property taxes. Combined Vancouver BIA budgets in exceed 7.8 million dollars, with many of those dollars being spent in the public realm for all citizens to enjoy.
Each BIA reflects the needs and wants of the individual areas. BIAs range in size, budget and focus depending on the needs of the community. BIAs are for every community – from downtowns to entire towns, and from industrial parks to neighbourhood shopping areas.
The South Granville Business Improvement Association (SGBIA) obtains its revenue from a levy that is collected on our behalf by the City of Vancouver. Our mandate runs in 5-year terms and each year the SGBIA membership approves an annual budget. The budget then gets divided amongst the BIA properties based on their assessed property value. The City of Vancouver collects these funds together with standard property taxes and then turns this money over to the Association to administer on a semi-annual basis. For most tenants, the levy is included in the property tax total portion of the triple net costs of their lease. In actuality, the BIA portion of a tenant’s property tax is about 5.4%.
The SGBIA was established in 1999 for the following express purposes:
The physical boundaries of the SGBIA are 16th Avenue to 5th Avenue along Granville Street with an east-west boundary of the lanes on either side. The area also includes properties on the south side of Broadway between Granville and Fir Street. The South Granville shopping district has been a part of the fabric of Vancouver for over 100 years.
We promote South Granville as a world-class destination for art, antiques, fashion, home decor, services, and restaurants. An individual merchant or business cannot accomplish what we do without seriously impacting their business, time and revenue. We are proud of the relationships we have developed with the Vancouver Sun, Guestlife and the many other publications that advertise and showcase South Granville and its diverse shopping opportunities. Our website and Blog are state of the art, and we lead the way in the realm of social media and online marketing for our collective community.
In this past 11 years, the SGBIA has found its groove and is reaping the benefits of long, hard work. The need for a BIA has never been greater. City Hall has finally begun dialogue with the commercial community and the BIA’s have become the voice of merchants and property owners across the city.
We work for you! The list of things the SGBIA does on your behalf is very long. We represent a united, collective voice for our business community. We are your advocates in dealing with the issues of security and vagrancy; taxation and city services; as well as beautification and promotion.
Long-term goals involve the continuation of our efforts to squeeze every bit of value out of any money that we receive. Our goals are to make sure that our tax dollars are being spent in our community, and to make South Granville the tourist shopping destination of choice and to ensure that South Granville retains its character and cache.
The South Granville BIA 2010 Annual Report is now available in a PDF format for download from the website.
Download a PDF version of the South Granville BIA Bylaws and Constitution.