Supporting Business Revitalization Zones (BRZs)
Business Revitalization Zones (BRZs) are an important aspect of our city’s cultural and social landscape, while also contributing approximately $59 million in annual business taxes. They play an important role in attracting new businesses to the city, improving the quality of life for existing business owners, shaping a business-friendly environment and creating vibrant districts that demonstrate Calgary’s unique and dynamic culture. BRZs spend nearly $2 million a year on promotions, events and street improvements and have contributed over $14 million to streetscape improvements since 1986.
There are currently ten BRZs in Calgary, which make up some of the most popular areas in Calgary to shop, dine, work and play. These include: Calgary Downtown Association, Fourth Street, Inglewood, International Avenue, Kensington, Marda Loop, Uptown 17th, Victoria Park, Bowness and Montgomery.
The BRZ is a concept which is close to my heart. During a previous career in retail, I was the Founding Chair of Calgary’s first BRZ, Uptown 17th. It has been wonderful to watch this area, and now nine others, develop into the iconic public spaces that they are today. I believe there are opportunities in Ward 6 to establish BRZs and look forward to working with business owners and communities to identify areas with that potential.
Given the value that BRZs add to our city, both economically and socially, it is important that we foster the creation of new BRZs, but also support the growth and success of existing ones. This is why I, with Alderman Mar, introduced a Notice of Motion in August 2012 directing Administration to provide an overview of the current state of municipal support for BRZ development in Calgary, research municipal best practices and recommend options to better support existing BRZs, encourage innovation and foster the creation of new BRZs. The Standing Policy Committee (SPC) on Community and Protective Services will consider Administration’s recommendations on June 5.
In their review, Administration found that one common element of successful BRZ models includes the establishment of a municipally run, central BRZ office to work with businesses and communities in stimulating growth. Therefore, they are recommending the establishment of an Office of BRZs that would address current community service gaps and identify social and economic partnership opportunities that will encourage a longer-term, community-centric approach to BRZ and community development as a whole.
I look forward to working with City Administration, communities and businesses in implementing a new BRZ model and developing more of these important public spaces.
Back to May 2013 report
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.