At long last, Leslieville can flaunt its funky personality to the rest of the city as local businesses have voted to form a BIA along Queen Street E. between Empire and Vancouver avenues.
Edward Jones partner Andrew Sherbin says after failed tries in the past, they succeeded this time by focusing on educating business owners about the benefits of a BIA including marketing the area, holding events and the ability to access city funds for streetscape improvements.
“We overcame the initial scepticism … and convinced members it was the best way to go,” Sherbin says.
While 77 percent of the area’s businesses voted for the BIA, those who were opposed to the idea worried about the cost of membership (BIAs are funded through a special levy on businesses in the area collected by the city) said Realosophy Realty partner Urmi Desai, before businesses were polled.
“People are concerned about costs and they want to be satisfied that the benefits outweigh any risks,” she said.
Sherbin says business owners needn’t worry.
“With the budget that we’re proposing, the cost isn’t as high as they’d think,” he says.
The local vote still must be ratified at a city council meeting in late February, but the initiative is expected to pass easily which would allow the organizing committee to hold a general meeting to elect a board and approve a budget.
Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon says she’s pleased with the results of the vote and adds that it’s great news for Leslieville.
“They’re a great, energetic group,” she says. “I’m happy to support them.”
[align=right]— With files from Omar Mosleh
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