Council supports new BIA
Kristen Holliday - May 21, 2024 - Biz Releases

Wheels are in motion at the City of Kamloops to formally establish a new East Kamloops Business Improvement Area.

Representatives from the new East Kamloops Business Improvement Area Association attended last week’s council meeting to provide an update on the group’s formation and to ask the city to begin the necessary processes to establish the BIA.

EKBIA lead Randy Ruygrok told council the BIA wants to try to become a common voice for businesses in the growing neighbourhoods of Valleyview and Dallas.

“We have some transportation issues. We have all the systemic issues everybody else does. We are a very diverse community,” Ruygrok said.

He noted the business corridor spans service and commercial properties that are busy 24 hours per day to more industrial space that runs during traditional business hours.

“With the BIA, we would like to make it more of a community,” he said.

Ruygrok said the area is also rapidly growing, with the Orchards Walk development and the proposed Pineview golf course development ahead. He noted a need for more bicycle lanes and transportation routes, and issues with the Trans-Canada Highway.

Ruygrok said he partnered with Lynn Vicars to start the drive behind the fledgling BIA, canvassing community members, knocking on doors and sending out mailers. After receiving positive results, they have established a board, completed registration for the society and put together a preliminary budget.

Financial lead Jason O’Driscoll said this process has been ongoing for about a year and a half, with help from the existing BIAs, including the NSBIA executive director Jeremy Heighton, who was in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Lots of business owners were feeling a little bit lost, I think, and not knowing how to connect with the services that we need for multiple issues that are coming up as we grow, as things transition out down that corridor from a development perspective,” O’Driscoll said.

He said the BIA wants to “hit the ground running” with an executive director and a marketing position. He noted budget allocations have been made for customer care and patrol and clean team work, which was identified as priorities from members in the area.

City councillors applauded the EKBIA members for their work.

Coun. Mike O’Reilly wished the group “the best of luck,” noting he held one concern: that East Kamloops is very linear, not as dense as the North Shore or downtown Kamloops, which could bring some challenges.

“To me, truly the success of the East Kamloops BIA will be built amongst the board, the board of directors and having proper governance in place,” O’Reilly said.

“Hopefully you’re able to lean on your counterparts, being Jeremy (Heighton, NSBIA) and Howie (Reimer) from the downtown BIA. Obviously they’ve been successful.”

Council voted unanimously to have city staff start the statutory process for establishing the BIA.

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