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Business Improvement Areas

A Business Improvement Areas (BIA) is a self-help program by which businesses in an area can jointly raise and administer funds to improve and promote their businesses.

BIA roles

  • Enhance the economic development of an area through promotion and marketing.
  • Improve the physical environment of public spaces in commercial areas.
  • Develop, improve and maintain public parking.
  • Work collaboratively with The City in delivery of municipal services in their zones.
  • Advocate for policies and practices that support economic vitality in their zones.

BIA investments

  • Calgary's ten BIA's made an initial streetscape improvement investment through a local improvement bylaw.
  • After the initial capital investment, BIA's invest annually in promotion, special events, street maintenance and improvements.

Economic value

  • More than $14 million in BIA direct contribution to streetscape improvements through local improvement bylaws or direct spending since 1983.
  • Nearly $2 million per year spent by BIA's on promotions, events, and street improvements.
  • BIA's contribute $59 million in annual business taxes.
  • BIA's account for over $661 million in assessed value.
  • 5400 businesses represented.
    • 3400 Downtown and 2000 in the remaining BIAs
  • BIAs represent about 20 per cent of all Calgary businesses.
  • Excluding the downtown, businesses represented in other BIAs are evenly split between professional offices and retailers, restaurants, etc.
  • Downtown has about 70 per cent professional offices and 30 per cent retail businesses

Environmental & social value

  • BIAs play a lead role in area revitalization and work with their communities on public safety and crime prevention efforts.
  • Helped create some of Calgary's best known and most loved neighbourhoods.
  • People living in and visiting Calgary identify with and value these areas as special and unique - each BIA gives Calgary a distinctive, appealing 'character'.
  • BIAs offer an international array of exotic and unusual shops, food stores, restaurants, and coffee shops.
  • BIAs invest in public art and sponsor some of Calgary's most popular events: Sun & Salsa, Lilac Festival, Mosaic Community Cultural Festival, Chalkwalk, Sunfest Mainstreet Festival, and the Santa Claus Parade.
  • BIAs collaborate with The City regarding operational issues in the community (parks, land use, urban design, redevelopment, physical improvements, public safety, maintenance, traffic, parking, etc.).
  • BIAs provide input on policies to support economic health.