Sidney’s BIA is making marketing strides

Sidney’s fledgling Business Improvement Association (BIA) is exploring partnership options with Tourism Victoria

Sidney’s fledgling Business Improvement Association (BIA) is exploring partnership options with Tourism Victoria to help the retail core of the community take advantage of the larger group’s marketing acumen.

BIA executive director Donna Petrie says she recently had a group from Tourism Victoria on a familiarization tour of Sidney and the area.

“We are the gateway to the Island and this will be a good partnership,” she said in a recent interview with the PNR.

Petrie and BIA board chair and president Cliff McNeil-Smith sat down to discuss the recent BIA annual general meeting and progress made by the BIA over its first year of operation. Petrie said making the connection with Tourism Victoria will take the BIA to a new level of marketing and promoting all that Sidney has to offer.

The BIA was established last year to collect a fee from all downtown-area businesses. The money, which is collected by the Town of Sidney, goes to the BIA for use in marketing programs and related initiatives. It’s goal is to bring more shoppers and visitors into downtown Sidney.

“We call this our start-up year,” said McNeil-Smith.

He said the BIA has created new marketing and promotions material. For instance, he said an estimated 12,000 copies of a new Sidney brochure was distributed on B.C. Ferries, the Anacortes Ferry and throughout hotels. They went so fast, he said, another 15,000 were printed.

These are only a couple of the measurable accomplishments of the BIA, McNeil-Smith said. From its outset, the BIA was tasked with proving it could do good work and help better the fortunes of local businesses. Petrie said the BIA board has come up with 20 marketing and promotions activities — from videos to its website ( and a new online community events calendar.

“People, I think, were really impressed during the AGM,” she said.

Petrie, who has worked in the past with Tourism Victoria, said she use those connections to help attract them out to Sidney for a look.

“This is to help generate a plan to bring Sidney to the table to be able to bid on meetings, conferences and other events,” Petrie explained.

One of the reasons Tourism Victoria is looking further afield, said McNeil-Smith, is at the insistence of Butchart Gardens. He said they had approached Tourism Victoria and other stakeholders on additional tourism options in the region. Visitors, McNeil-Smith said, had been asking about other things to do, in addition to the Gardens, in the south Island. It’s here, he said, where Sidney can claim its share.

“It’s a new level that we’ve reached now,” Petrie added.

The BIA is working in collaboration with the Town and a variety of groups to help promote the area near and far.

With a budget of $250,000 in its first year (which has gone up in 2014 to $256,000), the BIA is trying to get as much mileage out of it as possible.

It’s membership sits now at 115 registered individuals. More are encouraged to sign up, as all businesses in the downtown core of Sidney are automatically involved and are paying an annual BIA fee.

McNeil-Smith added there are 12 to 14 associate members — such as Butchart Gardens, Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre and the Mary Winspear Centre.

All told, those members represent 175 to 180 businesses and property owners in Sidney.

At its recent AGM, the BIA welcomed three new directors — Brad Edgett of the Mary Winspear Centre, Denis Paquette of the Sidney Waterfront Inn & Suites and Bob Whyte, owner of the Dairy Queen property. They replaced outgoing directors Angus Matthews, Dan Perrin and Keyla Perry.


Just Posted

Food service workers at Victoria airport protest for second time in four months

Negotiations continue to drag on with employer Compass Group Canada, VAA refuses to engage

Firefighters rescue horse stuck in Saanich mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Esquimalt senior’s complex getting redeveloped

The Esquimalt Lions Lodge is one of the projects to receive funding for affordable housing

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Federal environment minister faces protesters in B.C.

Catherine McKenna defended her government’s environmental record during a funding announcement in Victoria

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Dog psychic can help Vancouver Islanders better connect with their pets

Michele Wonnacott hosts one-day seminar in Nanaimo on Saturday, Nov. 17

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Most Read