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OUR VIEW: A Sidney BIA in the balance

Town council is sure to hear from many people as they make their decision on the SDBA’s request.

What a difference a week makes.

On Nov. 13, the council of the Town of Sidney were asking their administrative staff if they had to take the many presentations of support for a proposed business improvement area (BIA) seriously. They were told those presentations were for information only, as the Sidney Business Developmpent Group (SBDG) hadn’t asked the town to approve a council inititiated approvals process — or counter-petition — on the matter.

A week later, on Nov. 19, that is exactly what the SBDG did and those comments suddenly become more significant.

In probably the last-surprising move to come out of the SBDG’s BIA push, they presented their plan to town council’s committee of the whole on Monday night. It included a request that council proceed with an alternative approval process.

Council’s debate on this request occurred after the News Review’s press deadline, however a final decision will have to be made at an upcoming regular council meeting. The request itself is sure to spark significant debate among the councillors, not to mention the broader business community. And so it should, as it sets out an ambitious plan to vigorously market the area.

With support from 76 business and commercial property owners — plus another 10 outside of the proposed BIA boundaries or not-for-profits — the SBDG does not appear to have the support of half of the stated 303 property owners or 380 business operators in the BIA catchment area.

Which makes their pitch for a BIA in Sidney — like those that have gone before them — a risky one even in the wake of a positive campaign to date.

Town council is sure to hear from many people as they make their decision on the SDBA’s request. Yet, it is still up to the business group to seek out the voice of the business community as a whole on this issue, for the impact of a BIA falls directly to them.