I would like to provide an update to residents regarding the Stittsville Business Improvement Area (BIA).
When a group of local businesses first approached me with the thought of implementing a BIA in Stittsville, I provided support through my office to them as I saw there are many great merits to having a BIA. For example, currently there are 19 successful BIAs across the City of Ottawa which have created some signature Ottawa events including Poutinefest, Ribfest and Glow Fair. BIAs also can provide marketing focus as well and have been successful in areas similar to Stittsville such as Barrhaven.
That being said, not all businesses may feel that a formal BIA is the right fit for them at that the BIA framework may not work for all areas. I know businesses are also facing changes with the minimum wage increase and corporate tax. Even though a BIA would be completely run by the businesses and the City would only be involved by collecting the levy and returning all the funds back to the BIA, I can appreciate that with other government pressures there are businesses concerned with the impact a BIA levy could also have on their businesses.
Given the concerns some businesses have expressed; it has been decided for the time being that the Steering Committee will no longer pursue establishing a formal BIA at this time.
I feel that the discussions regarding a BIA have led to some important dialogues within the business community and hopefully some valuable connections have been also made between businesses to the benefit potential business partnerships moving forward. I have heard some word that businesses are interested in developing an association of Stittsville businesses that may have similar goals as a BIA and I think this is an excellent idea and I would be pleased to offer any assistance that I can through my office. Regardless of how these partnerships proceed, I am pleased to see that the businesses are interested in working together to assist in supporting Stittsville’s vibrant business community.
I would like to thank the steering committee members, comprised of Stittsville businesses, who volunteered their time to engage these discussions in the business community.