White Rock moves to re-establish BIA

White Rock council has given first, second and third readings to a bylaw re-establishing the city’s Business Improvement Area for five years.

Following a delegation Jan. 24 by Business Improvement Association representative Ginny Harrison, council gave unanimous support to moving the bylaw forward.

The issue has been a contentious one in the past, with infighting leading two groups to claim control – a fight that went to B.C. Supreme Court and ended last year with an order that a new board be elected.

In light of the strife, council last year opted to renew the BIA for just one year, with a lengthier renewal this year dependent on the organization’s demonstrated effectiveness.

Harrison told council that BIA members voted to renew the organization for five years at the annual general meeting last month, proposing an annual levy of $300,000 for the first three years and a two per cent increase in the fourth and fifth years – subject to city approval.

Harrison said the plan is to focus on revitalization, events and working with the city on programs and initiatives including graffiti removal and the ongoing business needs assessment.

Property owners opposed to the program have until 4:30 p.m. March 7 to submit a petition to the city; the petition must be signed by owners of at least 50 per cent of the land parcels that would be affected, and represent at least 50 per cent of the assessed value of land and improvements that would be subject to the tax.

If there is no counter petition, the bylaw will come before council for final consideration and adoption March 21.