Work underway to form business improvement association for Valleyview, Dallas – Kamloops News

A steering committee has started work to launch a new business improvement association that aims to give a collective voice to businesses in Valleyview and Dallas.

Lynn Vicars, who is leading the steering committee for the yet-to-be-formalized East Kamloops Business Improvement Association, said commercial property owners in the east end of the city want to “be at the table” when it comes to dealing with issues around sidewalks, traffic, highways and street disorder.

Vicars said she spoke with members of city council about the need for a BIA, and they helped connect her with Jeremy Heighton, executive director for the North Shore Business Improvement Association.

“I’ve been following what’s going on on the North Shore because they’ve got a neighbourhood plan in place now, they’ve been working real hard with their BIA, and I think that’s what we need out here,” Vicars told Castanet Kamloops.

Heighton, who also sits on the provincial board of directors for the B.C. Business Improvement Association, said the NSBIA is now “happily mentoring” the steering committee to help them get their own association up and running.

“The commercial areas in east Kamloops have been struggling a little bit with social issues, disruption,” he said.

“And also, I think many of the businesses out there want to make sure that their voice is heard as they pursue community planning and other aspects.”

Heighton said a BIA acts as a representative agency, and tends to have a seat at the table when certain key conversations are taking place.

“As an individual property owner, it’s often more difficult to get your voice heard. But as a cumulative group of commercial property owners, that common voice is really powerful and really positive,” he said.

“It allows us to advocate in a way that an individual couldn’t.”

Vicars said the work still in its early stages. Pamphlets have been sent out to businesses and the steering committee held an information session on May 17 to discuss the initiative.

She said attendees at the meting saw the value in businesses having a collective voice when it comes to dealing with matters that impact the area.

“I talked to everybody that was there — they all are all for it,” she said

Heighton said the plan now is to hold another meeting in mid-June, then reconvene in September to begin work with the city on the matter.

He said the city’s legislative services division needs to get involved, because a bylaw will need to be written in order to empower the BIA to exist.

“The city’s legislative services would send a letter out to all the property owners, and the property owners would have an ability to say yea or nay — we’re in for BIA or not,” Heighton said.

“Assuming that we get a positive vote from the property owners, a BIA can then be incorporated, could theoretically be operating by late next spring or early next summer.”

Residents and business owners interested in learning more about the East Kamloops Business Improvement Association can head to the new BIA’s website.