by Deron Johnston
The Board of Management of the Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area (BIA) is thrilled to announce that Mayor Nancy Peckford and North Grenville Council have declared December 13 to 19 to be “Old Town Kemptville BIA Week” in honour of the 50th anniversary of BIAs.
On September 16, 1970, Bloor West Village BIA in Toronto became the first BIA in the world, when the Municipal Act was amended to add Sections 204-217. Fast forward to 2020, and there are now more than 300 BIAs in Ontario, and growing. Across Canada, there are 500 BIAs (or their equivalent), and the idea has also spread worldwide, with BIAs (or their equivalents) in more than 10 countries around the world, such as US, UK, Scotland, Germany, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, China, and India.
“BIAs are integral to advancing distinct, livable, vibrant and resilient business communities in Ontario and beyond, and arguably Ontario’s (Toronto’s) greatest export,” says Kay Matthews, Executive Director of OBIAA. “We’re excited to see the idea spread and OBIAA strives to be pivotal in building capacity of our BIAs by providing a platform for sharing their wonderful ideas and best practices amongst our BIAs.”
Debbie Wilson, Board Chair of Old Town Kemptville BIA Board of Management, welcomed the recognition. “Old Town Kemptville BIA Week is all about recognizing the long-term efforts of our many partners, volunteers and members that we’ve been blessed with over the years. Downtown revitalization is an ongoing process that takes patience, vision and perseverance. We are now seeing the fruit from the labours that have taken place over the past six plus years“.
In announcing the declaration, Mayor Nancy Peckford noted: “I and my Council colleagues really appreciate the work that has been done by the volunteers and entrepreneurs of the BIA, especially during this year, to create the conditions for the small businesses in their area to be successful. That’s one of the reasons why we enthusiastically support this motion to declare December 13 to 19 as “Old Town Kemptville BIA Week“.