Central Lonsdale, a commercial zone located in City of North Vancouver, wants to establish a business improvement association (BIA) to enhance its appeal and attract more visitors. The City council unanimously voted on July 18, 2022, to provide $30,000 in funding for area entrepreneurs to set up the BIA. Once established, the BIA will levy additional taxes on commercial property owners, which the elected board members will invest in marketing, events, and beautification projects to benefit the business community as a whole.
The director of the Lonsdale Business Improvement Area Society and owner of Chop & Chew Restaurant, Shayan Keshvadi, envisions a pedestrian-oriented “European style” makeover for Central Lonsdale, with more patios and revitalization of alleys and lanes. He stated that creating a cohesive environment where people don’t need to venture too far away would be a great vision for the area, much like Lower Lonsdale. He proposed creating a grand boulevard from 13th to 20th streets on Lonsdale Avenue, with luscious trees and walking spaces for pedestrians.
The timing is ideal for the establishment of a BIA in Central Lonsdale, with the redevelopment of the Harry Jerome Rec Center and surrounding land underway. Keshvadi noted that they have good momentum and that it is the right time to pounce on the opportunity. Central Lonsdale has approximately 500 businesses that could become part of the BIA. The society’s board members have already begun going door-to-door in the area, informing business owners about their plans.
Most often, BIAs are formed through a reverse petition, where commercial property owners in the area are informed of the process and given an opportunity to speak against it. If 50% plus one of the property owners representing more than 50% of the assessed value of the properties register their opposition, the proposal will be killed.
The establishment of the Lower Lonsdale BIA was highly controversial and took several attempts before it was approved in 2016. When it came up for renewal in December 2021, an enthusiastic council gave their BIA a fresh eight-year mandate. In contrast, the proposal for a new BIA in Central Lonsdale had no qualms about putting up seed money, which will be spent on things like a website, outreach to local business owners, and administrative costs.
The council believes that a BIA is essential for Central Lonsdale’s growth and development, and its members are enthusiastic about seeing the project come to fruition. Mayor Linda Buchanan stated that a new BIA is entirely in keeping with her vision for the area. She said in her inaugural address that Lonsdale would be the greatest high street in Canada, and a BIA would be a significant step in that direction. If all goes smoothly, Keshvadi would like to see the BIA up and running by 2023 or 2024.
In conclusion, the establishment of a BIA in Central Lonsdale is a significant development that could bring about numerous positive changes to the commercial zone. The initiative will enhance the appeal of the area, attract more visitors, and promote the growth of small businesses. It is a positive step towards making Central Lonsdale the next hub for business and leisure activities.