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  • DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER T H E D O W N T O W N V A N C O U V E R B U S I N E S S I M P R O V E M E N T A S S O C I A T I O N N E W S L E T T E R | S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

    S AV E T H E D AT E ! A G M J U N E 1 8 ( PA G E 3 ) | S TAT E O F D O W N T O W N R E P O R T | Y E A R - E N D H I G H L I G H T S

    Mission Connection

    DVBIA 10-Year Mandate

    Renewal

    That new office space will bring with it an influx of 20,000 new employees–and with them, an unprecedented opportunity to real- ize the culturally-dynamic, people-focused future collectively imagined by thousands of dreamers through the Re-Imagine Down- town Vancouver visioning process that the

    DVBIA completed in late 2015. Through Re-Imagine, which had feed- back from over 11,000 people, and a recent member engagement survey that solicited feedback directly from the DVBIA’s member base, the DVBIA has learned that business owners, employees, and residents want

    a more progressive, community-oriented downtown. It is through these listening exercises that the DVBIA has decided to focus the next decade of programs and activations on the three pillars of place- making, festivals and events, and clean and safe initiatives. Continued on page 2…

    With three million square feet of new office space coming online in the DVBIA district over the next four years, the timing couldn’t be better to embark on the DVBIA’s mandate renewal.

    IMPORTANT

    NOTICE FROM THE CITY OF VANCOUVER:

    See page 3 for information about the Business Improvement Association’s (BIA) proposed renewal, which, if approved,

    would continue to assess a BIA levy for a

    future term.

  • 2 downtown vancouver

    Continued from the cover…

    These three pillars represent the core values of our downtown community, but they also have a considerable impact on the health and prosperity–and the bottom-line– of any downtown. Placemaking initiatives, large festivals, and smaller community events have a very real return-on-investment when it comes to attracting people to visit and spend time in the downtown core. The same can be said for maintaining the cleanliness and safety of a downtown; these basic foundational elements make a significant impact on visitations and tourism spending. Through a progressive approach to placemaking–think interactive alleyways and free outdoor concerts– the DVBIA has already embarked on a path to make downtown a place everyone wants to be. “We’ve been listening closely to how mem- bers want downtown to grow and evolve in a way that puts people first,” says Charles Gauthier, President & CEO of the DVBIA. “They want us to make public spaces more vibrant, exciting and engaging, and we’re answering that call. The Re-Imagine process showed us how people want downtown to look, feel, taste and even smell. We’ve done so much to further that vision, but there’s much more work to be done.” Once the current DVBIA mandate expires on March 31, 2020, the new term will run

    from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2030, if approved by DVBIA members and Vancouver City Council. Members can have their say at the upcoming June 18th AGM, where they’ll vote on renewing the DVBIA’s mandate for another ten years, the first-year budget, and the maximum amount of money the association can receive through the levy over the next decade of operation.

    In keeping with member feedback, the DVBIA has mapped out how it plans to allocate those strategic investments. Placemaking, which is a clear priority, will see a six-fold increase in funding, and will see additional projects come on stream, including ten new laneway transformations throughout the ten-year mandate. Sponsor- ship funding of festivals and events will be tripled, allowing for more large-scale events to stay viable and grow their footprint, and the Downtown Safety Ambassadors and Clean Team budget will increase by 1 ½ times, which will go directly towards adding

    more staff members to patrol the streets and keep them clean and safe. The DVBIA will also continue its advocacy and partnership efforts in the important areas of homelessness, increasing and diversifying the supply of housing in the city, childcare and transportation. Increases to program budgets will be implemented in a phased approach, over a five-year period, to coincide closely with

    the influx of new office inventory that will contribute its share to the total levy. As a result, the levy paid currently by all businesses in the DVBIA’s 90-block district is expected to increase by only a few cents per square foot from the exist-

    ing median of 8 cents per square foot. In the vast majority of leases for downtown busi- nesses, the current levy is less than 1% of the total rent and operating costs combined, and will continue to be so going forward. “With so many new workers coming down- town, now is the time to invest in our future, in the key services and amenities that make us a world-class city,” says Gauthier. “We’re being both practical and strategic, so these boosts to priority programs won’t have a significant financial impact on our valued members. We’re stepping up our services to meet a growing need, and we’ve

    DOWNTOWN 2030: VIBRANT, EXCITING, ENGAGING DVBIA seeks a 10-year mandate renewal from the City of Vancouver

    “This is our boldest plan. It has strong support because of the significant investment we’re planning in the three pillars of placemaking, festivals and events, and clean and safe initiatives. We’ve never had an opportunity like this, where we’ll be experiencing unprecedented growth in job space, new businesses and employees in our BIA district. The timing is perfect for us to move forward.”

    – Charles Gauthier

    The placemaking initiatives, especially the laneway projects, have made

    downtown more vibrant and welcoming. – Member

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  • downtown vancouver 3 downtown vancouver 3

    got a clear plan to implement those changes–sustainably, over the long term.” The DVBIA has undertaken extensive consultation to engage members about the renewal process, including 14 engagement sessions in the fall of 2018. That feedback, along with key takeaways from Re-Imagine, was incorporated into the renewal proposal that was favourably received by the Board of Dir- ectors. The association has leveraged all of its communi- cations channels–e-newsletter,

    Twitter, LinkedIn, and good- old-fashioned email–to gauge members’ level of support for the renewal process. Out of a scale of five, member support netted out at a positive 4.66. The unprecedented increase in job space coming online next year through to 2024 will provide a ripple effect that will boost the vitality of downtown, provide options for companies who are currently squeezed for space, and give the DVBIA an even bigger role to play in making downtown a sought-after neighbourhood to

    both live and work. “This is our boldest plan,” adds Gauthier. “It has strong support because of the significant investment we’re planning in the three pillars of placemaking, festivals and events, and clean and safe initiatives. We’ve never had an opportunity like this, where we’ll be experiencing unprecedented growth in job space, new businesses and employees in our BIA district. The timing is perfect for us to move forward.”

    Planning, Urban Design & Sustainability City-wide and Regional Planning

    BIA Program

    VanRIMS No.: 11-2000-14 May 9, 2019

    Property Owner or Business Tenant

    Dear Sir/Madame:

    RE: Renewal of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Area (BIA)

    You are receiving this letter because you are an owner or business tenant in the Downtown Vancouver BIA, which is now commencing the process to renew their mandate and funding.

    The BIA movement in the City of Vancouver has a very long history starting with the first associations being formed in Gastown and Mt. Pleasant in 1989. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the contribution that your BIA and the many other BIAs located across Vancouver have made to the continued success and sustainability of our City and its business districts.

    The BIA board will be coming to you, the stakeholders, for approval to renew the BIA mandate, including continuance of an annual BIA levy collected by the City and granted back to the BIA. The levy–calculated on the basis of property value - appears on the tax bill of each commercial property owner. For business tenants, the levy is generally included in your lease payments. This levy, currently representing approximately 1.25% of the property taxes, generates the funds needed to deliver promotional, enhancement and other activities undertaken by the Downtown Vancouver BIA. The funds are managed by the Board of Directors made up of elected business and property owners within your BIA.

    I encourage you to involve yourself in the process of renewal. You can do this by reading the enclosed materials about the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and BIA renewal, and by attending the Downtown Vancouver BIA AGM on June 18, 2019. All property owners and business tenants are eligible for voting membership. The AGM is the first step toward BIA renewal: If the membership votes to pursue a renewed mandate, the BIA will apply to the City of Vancouver, which then delivers formal notices to all commercial pro

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