Queensway businesses are facing the decision of whether to BIA or not to BIA.
There have been attempts to form a business improvement area for the past 20 years, says Etobicoke-Lakeshore councillor Peter Milczyn.
“You can actually go down to the Queensway and see a few shops having decals in their windows ‘member of The Queensway Businessman’s Association,’” he said referring to a previous informal group. “There were all these attempts over the years to get it off the ground.”
For years, his predecessor, former councillor Blake Kinahan tried, and since 2000 when Milczyn got elected he’s attempted to drum up enough interest.
Now Milczyn wants to see if businesses are keen on the idea of forming a formal business association along all or certain portions of the Queensway.
Milczyn describes three distinct business pockets in his ward along the Queensway: Grand Avenue to Royal York Road with retail and residential; Queensway Park to Islington Avenue with some automotive uses, restaurants and shops; between Islington and Kipling avenues with new condos and a movie complex.
Starting in February for about three months, one of his staff will be canvassing all businesses along The Queensway to discuss the benefits of such a proposal.
“Forming new BIAs is always challenging. I’d say there’s a demographic issue there because you have the older merchants who have been around for a long time that eke out a living,” he said. “They are not keen on a BIA (because of) the fees.”
Plus, some of the restaurant owners who claim to be keen, work evening and lunchtimes and after late nights are loathe to attend a meeting in the morning.
But with a major movie complex on the strip and a concentration of great restaurants, the area can be a draw for an evening out, he said. Plus new development has brought more potential new customers.
With a new Queensway ratepayers association recently formed, it is Milczyn’s hope a business association can follow suit.
If his staff finds enough businesses interested in establishing a BIA, it would then require a poll of all affected business owners. The city would also need to approve any new BIA.
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