A BIA For Ossington?

Ossington might be getting its very own business improvement area (BIA).

According to this article publishes on InsideToronto.com, several business owners and residents have approached ward Councillor Mike Layton and “…expressed an interest in forming a BIA on Ossington Avenue.” Over the summer, Layton had a student on his staff, “…put together a plan that charted out the process and the communications that would go out to the community.” These communications are, explains the article, the first step in the formal setting-up-a-BIA process.

The key part in that process is a vote, which will be extended to all of the businesses in the identified BIA space (right now that sounds like along Ossington, between Queen and Dundas). If the majority votes yes, then local businesses will have a new voice that will promote the area, improve the look of the street and hopefully throw an event or two (a street festival is mentioned in the article and it’s an idea that I fully support).

I’m curious to see how it all plays out. Personally, I think a BIA makes a lot of sense but then I’m not a business owner. While the article’s author did speak to a couple business owners who are in favour of it, she also spoke to two who aren’t so keen about the idea. One is worried about the cost, which makes sense. Pretty much all of the businesses along Ossington are true small, independent shops where every dollar counts. Another person, who owns the tire shop, is worried that events like a street festival would prevent customers from accessing his business. But since that shop is only open to 1 on Saturdays and closed all day Sunday, perhaps the festival could be held at a time that would minimize inconvenience to it?

Of course, figuring out festival timing is just slightly putting the cart before the horse. First, the idea of a BIA needs to be approved by local businesses. According to the article, Layton now has another student who will be spending the next eight months on helping to establish the BIA. So I guess that by next June, we’ll know whether or not Ossington will have a BIA to call its own.

(h/t to the Ossington Community Association for posting the original article)

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