A BRZ is a Business Revitalization Zone. In June 1983, the Province of Alberta passed legislation that allows municipalities to establish Business Revitalization Zones.
A BIA is a non-profit association of business owners that join together to promote and improve the economic vitality of their business district.
Worldwide there are approximately 1200 Business Improvement Areas of like Business Improvement Areas. Approximately 348 of these Business Improvement Areas are in Canada.
The main purpose of a BIA is to revitalize and maintain a dynamic commercial area and promote the area as a business or retail destination.
The mandate of a BIA is to encourage the economic and physical improvement of local businesses through beautification and maintenance of streetscapes, buildings and structures in the area, and to promote the area as a business and shopping district.
Some strategies BIAs use to achieve their goals are:
Maintenance: sidewalk cleaning, graffiti removal, etc.
Special Events and Festivals
Marketing and Economic Development: Websites, promotional materials, signage
Regulatory Advocacy and Bylaw Enforcement
Parking and Transportation Management
Streetscape and Capital Improvements
Improving Open Spaces: Parks, Green Spaces, etc.
The name BRZ was changed to BIA on July 1, 2016
COUNCIL OF BIAs
The Edmonton Council of Business Improvement Areas consists of 13 diverse commercial districts with equal representation and represents approximately 25% of the total number of businesses in the City of Edmonton. Using a consensus method, the BIA Council markets, promotes, and advocates for the BIAs of Edmonton and encourages economic development and growth in the 13 commercial areas. The BIA Council will use its collective voice and strength to build relationships and increase awareness among stakeholders.
The Edmonton Council of Business Improvement Area aims to celebrate the diversity of the BIAs and their unique contributions to making Edmonton a livable and vibrant city with walk-able social spaces.
The 13 Business Improvement Areas in the City of Edmonton are: Alberta Avenue Business Association, Beverly Business Association, Chinatown and Little Italy Business Association, Downtown Business Association, Fort Road Business Association, French Quarter Business Association, Inglewood Business Association, Kingsway District Association, Northedge Business Association, Northwest Industrial Business Association, Old Strathcona Business Association, Stony Plain Road Business Association, and 124th Street and Area Business Association.
A BIA is established by the City of Edmonton at the request of the business community under the legislation in the Municipal Government Act (RSA 2000, C.M-26).
Upon receipt of a formal request signed by at least 25 percent of the taxpayers within the proposed boundaries and if no petition is filed by at least 50 percent of the tax payers against the proposed BIA, the City may pass a bylaw establishing the BIA Board as a not-for-profit corporation.
City Council sets the zones boundaries and approves the BIAs annual budget. The City also collects the special tax levy for the BIA and forwards it to each organization in quarterly payments.
Further information on how to establish a BIA can be obtained by contacting the City of Edmonton City Planning and Development by phone at 780-496-6095 or by visiting their website at www.edmonton.ca.
Any business that lies within the prescribed boundaries determined by City Council is a Member of the Business Improvement Area and contributes to the BIA budget by way of the special tax levy is given the opportunity to nominate themself or another to sit on the Board of Directors.
A select number of seats on the Board of Directors may be held by people outside of the BIA.
Members of the BIA are entitled to attend the BIAs Annual General Meetings and are eligible to vote on the selection of people nominated to the board.
Every member business is entitled to one vote at these meetings.
The list of approved nominees are submitted to City Council for approval.
Each year, The Board of Directors of the Business Improvement Area (nominated by the Membership) approve the BIAs budget. The Annual Budget is presented at the Annual General Meeting.
The budget is submitted to City Council for approval, as required by legislation. After approval, a special levy sufficient to raise the approved budget amount is added to the Municipal Business Tax for all businesses within the BIA area.
The levy is collected through the City through the normal tax billing process and distributed to the BIA through quarterly payments.
Each business member’s share of the annual budget is proportionate to their share of the total taxable value within the BIA boundaries.