MEDIA RELEASE – October 16, 2015
OBIAA’s VOICE HEARD AT GOVERNMENT ROUNDTABLE
The Ontario Business Improvement Areas Association (OBIAA) presented recommendations from Business Improvement Associations, their members and their Municipalities for change. On Wednesday, October 7, OBIAA presented to a multi-ministerial Provincial Government Deputy Roundtable (PERL), the following recommendations:
PRIORITY #1 – MUNICIPAL ACT – OBIAA will be submitting a positioning paper regarding the Municipal Act Review.
Definition of BIAs
BIAs as Local Boards
Interpretation of the Municipal Act (204-216)
PRIORITY #2 – HISTORIC BUILT FORM ACCESSIBILITY – Our basic downtown infrastructure has not changed radically since the 1960’s, although many outside influences have changed. Limited accessibility has always been there. New awareness, changing demographics, an aging population and new legislation introduced to break down the accessibility barriers, has changed this landscape.
Physical Barriers at Street Level
Access to Upper Storeys and Basements
PRIORITY #3 – ASSESSMENT – Assessment is a complex and broad topic. It has many different elements to consider that can have a profound effect on a BIA’s operation and ultimate success. The following related issues, as identified by local BIA Boards and/or their members, are considered very important:
Vacant Unit Rebate
Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) Methodology
Government Building Exemptions
OBIAA concluded the presentation with a Partnership Opportunity on working together with a number of partners to quantify the ‘return on investment’ for the community vitality and economic impact of BIAs.
Through the PERL Secretariat, OBIAA advocated for a stakeholder partnership to launch a research project with the objective of gathering available data to understand and quantify the economic impact of BIA’s and their stakeholders in a province-wide data collection initiative.
“OBIAA asked and our BIA membership told us their stories. Our membership told us that long-term, unattended building vacancies are causing distress on ‘Main Street’ by discouraging new investments. Our membership told us about inconsistent MPAC property assessment. Our membership told us how the Municipal Act is or can potentially have a negative effect on our BIA Communities. Our membership told us about the challenges of creating an accessible streetscape and how non-retail businesses are having to move out of second floor occupancy to assist people with disabilities.” Stated OBIAA President, Ellen Timms. “As a collective group of over 300 BIAs and 60,000 businesses, OBIAA presented these concerns to the Planning, Environment, Resources and Land Deputy Ministers of Ontario (PERL).”
Media Contact: Kay Matthews, Executive Director | OBIAA
Contact Information: [email protected] | 1-866-807-2227 | 647-521-5341
2015 PERL Report available upon request
ABOUT: ONTARIO BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT AREA ASSOCIATION (OBIAA): OBIAA, since 2001, acts as an important resource for education, partnership and collaboration to each BIA across the province. OBIAA recognizes the power of networking, the strength in numbers and the value of sharing common concerns and finding resolutions specific to our individual communities.
OBIAA, through membership, represents, supports and encourages business improvement areas to increase their effectiveness and their contribution to the economic, cultural and social well-being of communities in Ontario.
ABOUT: PLANNING, ENVIRONMENT, RESOURCE AND LAND SECRETARIAT (PERL): Representing 12 member-ministries, with mandates in Planning, Environment, Resource and Land use (PERL), PERL is a policy cluster with committees at the Deputy Minister (PERL-Deputies Committee), Assistant Deputy Minister (PERL ADMs Committee), and Director (PERL Directors Committee) levels. The committees serve as forums for horizontal policy development and cluster capacity building. They also allow executives to engage in strategic discussions that enhance linkages between member ministries to ensure policy and program coherence across broad streams of work. The PERL Secretariat provides administrative leadership and executive support to the PERL cluster, while also leading and facilitating multi-ministry research projects to tackle substantive, complex challenges.