BIA Update 2016

Most every commercial district working on establishing a Business Improvement Association (BIA) is surprised at how long it can take. There are a wide variety of components involved that all need to align regardless of the interest by the business community to create one. It is not uncommon to take several years to successfully create a BIA. The Lower Lonsdale BIA process however has been in the works longer than most but with steadfast determination we hope we are one step closer to making that happen.

The model of a traditional 'Business Association' is antiquated. While many still exist very few if any are newly created. Instead commercial districts looking for a proactive edge are turning to 'Business Improvement Associations' because they have proven more effective and sustainable.

Hopefully in the coming months the City of North Vancouver will move the BIA initiative to the voting stage at the request of the start up group so that the commercial property owners and subsequent tenants/businesses can make the decision about starting a BIA in Lower Lonsdale. This model is proven successful and before the vote occurs we encourage business stakeholders in Lower Lonsdale to contact us directly to learn what it is all about and how it can specifically benefit your commercial property or business.

Call: 1 888 659-2208


A Bit About BIAs

Retail commercial districts such as Lower Lonsdale compete for business. This is a traditional objective that has remained consistent. Areas across the lower mainland want you to frequent their area, support their businesses and they have no alliance really to whether you are a resident of that community. What is also consistent now but was not in the past is the growing sophistication that these concentrated commercial areas undertake to increase and maintain consumer patronage and positive growth.

There is a growing movement that started in the 1970's called Business Improvement Areas. The largest concentration is in North America but it has spread world wide. Some are called Business Improvement Districts, Business Revitalization Zones and so on. The concept is universally the same. These areas recognized that businesses working together on common issues that affect a concentrated commercial area benefits that area as a whole and helps to make that area more successful and also a place that draws people to want to live near.

Imagine a large shopping mall that had no brand and no name. The identity was it's address only. All the tenants independently marketed and attempted to promote themselves. They all kept different hours, there was no coordinated parking and garbage collection, and there was no mall security. It was every man for himself. Why don't shopping malls do this? They do this for the same reason that there are condominium strata councils. Maintaining a professional standard has benefits for all. Businesses together can have a stronger impact than if they went it alone. Your business expenses in a mall contribute to the overall marketing and promotion of that mall. Your businesses is supposed to benefit from the larger volume of people that visit that mall as a result of that malls promotional activities and strategies.


Concentrated commercial districts in a way are like malls. They are a destination that attracts people to purchase good and services. Many have a distinct advantage. That advantage is location, uniqueness, atmosphere and the experience it offers.  Thousands of concentrated 'outdoor' commercial districts have chosen the BIA model to work together to advance their potential.  If your concentrated commercial area does not have a BIA and is surrounded by other neighbouring competing commercial areas that do, unfortunately you are at a disadvantage.

The economy has changed for a multitude of reasons. New methods of consumer spending and engagement have completly changed the game. Savvy BIA areas understand this and work at giving their members a better cahnce to keep pace and compete.

The Lower Lonsdale Business Association is looking at the model of a BIA and how that might benefit Lower Lonsdale businesses. It will be looking at some of the over 70 BIA's in British Columbia for key ideas of what beneficial programs and activities have made a difference in other communities and if versions of those may resonate with Lower Lonsdale.  No two BIA's are the same. Each has it own specific attributes and challenges. All BIA's can determine what programs or initiatives they want to run and  how modest or aggressive they want those to be based on input from its members.

Plan to  learn the real facts about what a BIA can do that will benefit you. 

The particular advantage Lower Lonsdale has at this time is  synergy of the City of North Vancouver’s Central Waterfront redesign.  A new BIA would have the added advantage of starting out with the excitment of these positive new advancements that are exciting for the area and building on that. The opportunity is timely to work on startegies to draw new interest not only to the central waterfront area but to all four corners of the Lower Lonsdale business area.


Below: Roger Brooks, from Roger Brooks International, on the art of branding a community

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