Sidney marketing levy goes to business vote

Proposed business improvement area in Sidney's downtown set to face the alternate approvals process in the new year.

Commercial property owners in Sidney are one step closer to participating in a new business improvement area (BIA) after council on Monday unanimously set into motion an alternate approvals process.

Under this process, expected to be sent out to owners of class five and six commercial properties in downtown Sidney by late January, owners would have 30 days to register their opposition to a BIA in writing to the Town of Sidney. Chief administrative officer Randy Humble says for the BIA to fail, there would have to be a clear majority (just over 50 per cent) of property owners who oppose it.

Those owners, as well, would have to represent more than 50 per cent of the value of commercial properties within the proposed BIA boundary. A lack of any one of these goalposts by the time the 30-day notice period ends, would mean the BIA would pass.

The alternate approvals process (AAP) is controversial — a fact not lost on town council.

In a prepared speech, Councillor Mervyn Lougher-Goodey said his only concern with the BIA proposal was with how it was seeking to be implemented.

“I have heard it is unfair and undemocratic from some of the business owners,” he stated. “It’s also highly improbable that the BIA will fail under this process.”

That, he said, raises issues of fairness in his mind. It wasn’t enough, however, to keep him from voting in favour of a BIA bylaw. Lougher-Goodey said while he has reservations with the AAP, a majority of business owners appear to support the BIA plan — a fact he cannot ignore.

“Since there is a lack of support for (other options), I have to support (this option).”

Mayor Larry Cross said there are threats to Sidney’s economic well-being — from Victoria-area shopping centres to proposed new commercial developments closer to home.

“Those represent big risks to our town,” he said, “especially in this economy, both provincially and nationally.”

Coun. Marilyn Loveless and Melissa Hailey both said council’s only concern was the use of the AAP, not the effort put into the BIA proposal.

“Now, all business organizations have to somehow unify,” Loveless said. “Using this process to create a single voice is the right thing to do in Sidney.”

Coun. Tim Chad added similar debates over BIAs have happened in town for years and finds this effort positive and the best way to stave off the economic doldrums.

“Councillors are short-term caretakers of the town,” added Coun. Steve Price. “We make these kinds of decisions every day and it’s no small task to find the balance for the community.”

Price said that in the end, it will fall to business owners to have the final say on the BIA.

Developed by the Sidney Business Development Group, the proposed BIA would place a levy on some 300 downtown businesses over a period of five years. Raising an estimated $250,000 in its first year, the BIA’s members (all downtown business owners) would use it to better market the area to customers.

Just Posted

Free firework safety courses coming to the West Shore right before Halloween

No permit? You could be fined anywhere between $100 and $10,000

Persons Day to be marked with literary readings in Sidney

Peninsula authors to read from their new books relating to women and courageous journeys, Oct. 18

Vendors open doors to new futures at Black Press Extreme Education & Career Fair

More tham two dozen employers, educators signed on for Victoria event

Fairfield-Gonzales residents aim to establish senior care phone line

The Fairfield-Gonzales Village would allow seniors living alone to have a direct line to resources

Antimatter 2019: The best in experimental media art comes to Victoria

22nd annual festival of film, performance art and more biggest ever – 120 artists, 30 countries

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Dog killed in alleged hit and run, Goodlife Marathon takes over city and more

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

The one with the ‘Friends’ photoshoot: Kelowna group recreates TV show intro

A friend’s departure prompted them to create something that really says, “I’ll be there for you”

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

Most Read