What is a BIA?
BIA stands for Business Improvement Area. A BIA is an association of business and property owners who work together to support growth and development of a geographic area. The goal is to make the area a better place to do business by increasing foot traffic with the use of activations, events and marketing, beautification of the public realm, and community-building efforts. BIAs work to nurture their geographic areas as desirable and exciting places to live, work, do business and shop.
BIAs are self-funded Local Boards of Council(s) and are funded by the municipality’s tax levy from the commercial properties within the BIA’s boundaries. BIAs are governed by the Ontario Municipal Act (Sections 204-216).
An Introduction to Business Improvement Areas
The main definition, as per the Municipal Act, on the work of a BIA:
BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT AREAS
Designation of improvement area
204 (1) A local municipality may designate an area as an improvement area and may establish a board of management,
(a) to oversee the improvement, beautification and maintenance of municipally-owned land, buildings and structures in the area beyond that provided at the expense of the municipality generally; and
(b) to promote the area as a business or shopping area. 2001, c. 25, s. 204 (1).
(2) A board of management is a corporation consisting of the number of directors established by the municipality. 2001, c. 25, s. 204 (2). Ron Quinlan – Glazed Expressions
Local board status
(2.1) A board of management is a local board of the municipality for all purposes. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 89.
For more information about BIAs and the work they do, a great resource is OBIAA, the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association: https://obiaa.com/start-a-bia/
Watch OBIAA's "What is a BIA?" YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97nb27sOF2s&t=15s
The Georgetown BIA
DGBIA acts as a unifying body for its membership and works on their behalf to make Downtown Georgetown a desirable destination to do business while creating an inviting, thriving atmosphere to attract patrons, shoppers and residents from the surrounding areas as well as visitors from further afield, many of whom are visiting family and friends of Halton Hills residents.
Regular maintenance of infrastructure
Public art programs
Special events, activations and promotions
Operations & Funding
DGBIA Board of Management oversees the annual operating budget for DGBIA. Each year a budget is created and presented to the BIA membership at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in October or November. Once approved by the membership, the budget is then submitted to Town Council for approval. Once approved, the funds are raised via a special levy collected by the municipality from commercial properties within DGBIA’s boundaries.
DGBIA has one full-time manager, two permanent part-time staff, and 2-4 staff who assist us at the Georgetown Farmers’ Market and BIA events.
Our BIA Beliefs
Our BIA believes that our area would be enhanced with access to improved infrastructures:
- More lighting and video surveillance for increased security
- Free, public wi-fi access to remove barriers for members and visitors of our community for basic web browsing
- Better hydro outlets to accommodate our needs for electricity access for BIA events such Georgetown Farmers/ Market and to power Holiday décor
Our BIA believes that our area would be enhanced with partnerships with municipal partners, community groups and BIA members in delivering a superior and unique experience to our visitors, patrons and local community.
Questions the BIA has for the Municipal Candidates
- How would you support improved transit and parking to accommodate the increased number of residents and their visitors in the Downtown?
- Are there plans for additional bike routes, carshare spaces, EV charging stations?
- How would you support an integration and increase of police and social services to provide better security in our BIA community?
- How would you support the required/needed Municipal infrastructure improvements needed in our BIA?
- Roads, curbs, sidewalks, street lighting, street furniture, public washrooms, enhanced accessibility, etc.
- To improve walkability and safety, would you support Council in the implementation of 30 km/hour speed limit or other traffic calming measures throughout the BIA? We currently have 40 km/hour through the Downtown.
- As BIAs are local Boards of Council, how would you enhance our Municipality and our BIA relationships and partnerships?
- How will you support the development of a framework for strategic planning that includes inclusivity and diversity participation? (First Nations, LGBTQ+, multiculturalism, minority/alienated/stigmatized groups.)
- What are your plans for new green/environmental projects to support the development of our BIA, and how would you partner with the BIA to implement them?
- Increase cycling networks in and around the BIA
- Improved transit
- EV charging stations
- Permeable paving
- Community gardens
- Would you support additional financial supports directed to the BIA for implementing community events, improved beautification and infrastructure such as patios, planters, wayfinding signage, street furniture and lighting?
- Do you support investments to improve fibre optics internet connectivity within the BIA?
- Would you support free public WiFi in the BIA?
Bylaws govern the operation and governance of the Downtown Georgetown BIA.
Download a full outline of DGBIA Bylaws.
About Halton Hills
Where is Halton Hills? https://www.investhaltonhills.com/en/why-halton-hills/location.aspx
What are Halton Hills’ demographics? https://www.investhaltonhills.com/en/why-halton-hills/demographics.aspx
What is Halton Hills’ labour market? https://www.investhaltonhills.com/en/why-halton-hills/labour-market.aspx
What is Halton Hills’ quality of life? https://www.investhaltonhills.com/en/why-halton-hills/quality-of-life.aspx
What is Halton Hill’s Climate Change Action? https://www.investhaltonhills.com/en/why-halton-hills/climate-change-action.aspx
What business resources are available through The Town of Halton Hills? https://www.investhaltonhills.com/en/about-us/business-resources.aspx