Lower Lonsdale Business Improvement Area (BIA)


A BIA is a mechanism provided for in the Community Charter and is intended as a way for businesses within a defined area to use the property taxation authority of the municipality to raise funds that are directed to the association and used for a range of described purposes. These purposes are intended for the general betterment of businesses in the BIA, e.g. area branding; marketing; physical improvements; promotional events; commercial tenant recruitment; and advocacy on behalf of the business community.

A BIA is established by municipal bylaw and is primarily funded through a special tax levy on all commercial Class 6 properties (Business and other classification under the BC Assessment Act) within the defined boundaries of the BIA, calculated per $1,000 of assessed land and improvement values. This is a self-funding model, in that 100% of the levy collected by the local government is granted to the BIA to fund its own programs. A BIA is managed by a non-profit society of business and property owners that establishes its own priorities, programs and budgets. There are currently over 70 BIAs in the Province of BC.

Lower Lonsdale Business Improvement Area

The Lower Lonsdale Business Association (now referred to as The Shipyards District) consulted with the City of North Vancouver and area businesses for a number of years regarding the creation of a Business Improvement Area (BIA) in Lower Lonsdale. Following a petition process required by Provincial Legislation, Council adopted Bylaw No. 8494 in 2016 to establish the Lower Lonsdale Business Improvement Area Service.

With the adoption of the bylaw, each property within the Lower Lonsdale BIA that falls within the Class 6 commercial property classification is charged a tax levy based on value of that property (land and improvements). The funding is collected by the City and granted to the Lower Lonsdale BIA Society to fund activities of the Society based on the funding limit identified in the bylaw. Each year the Society is required to submit a proposed budget for the coming year and audited financial statements from the year previous for City approval.

The Lower Lonsdale BIA includes commercial properties; it does not include residential or industrial lands. At the time of the adoption of the bylaw, there were approximately 320 Class 6 (business and other) taxable properties in the area with approximately 496 businesses. The total taxable value in the BIA at the time was $490,813,300. Examples of the annual tax levy are set out below:

Total Assessed Value Service Area Levy (annual)
$500,000 $510
$2,000,000 $2,040
$5,000,000 $5,100

Map of Lower Lonsdale Business Improvement Area

The City's Role

The City was responsible for several important aspects as the work to establish a BIA proceeded. Firstly, the City carried out a petition process to solicit support and/or objection to the proposal. This process communicated directly with area property owners through direct mail and community advertising to seek to inform them of the details of the BIA proposal and provide an opportunity for them to express their position. In order for a local area service petition to be certified as sufficient and valid using the Council Initiative-Subject to Petition Against approach, a minimum of 50% of the parcel owners representing a minimum of 50% of the assessed value of land and improvements in the defined area must register their opposition within the 30 day notice period.

Secondly, with the petition process being successful and the BIA bylaw adopted, the City became responsible for collecting the approved amount of funding through the annual property tax process. Further, the City also reviews and approves an annual BIA work plan and budget that establishes the authority for monies to be collected and used for the businesses in the BIA area.

With the bylaw being adopted, a new Society was created: the Lower Lonsdale Business Improvement Area Society. Board members are elected by the BIA membership at an AGM, which is comprised of property owners as well as business owners.

Contact Info

Siobian Smith
Manager, Economic Development
Tel: 604-982-3913
Email: business@cnv.org

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