Local delegates to attend BIA conference

Tackling topics from smoking bylaws to town beautification, Business Improvement Areas from across Ontario will meet to exchange ideas at an inaugural conference this Sunday to Tuesday in Hamilton.
“We have assembled an excellent series of panel presentations that will be of interest to all BIAs, local economic development officers, and municipal politicians,” said Larry Syrovy, who sits on both the local and provincial BIA boards.
He’ll be attending the conference, entitled “Downtowns: Alive and Well in the Heart of Your Community,” along with fellow BIA members Janis Lesko and Joan Struch.
“BIAs form the commercial heart of our communities and play a large role in keeping our streets safe, clean, and beautiful,” he added.
“This conference will inform BIA representatives about what their colleagues are doing in other communities, and have them learn from their experiences.
“This education will benefit downtowns throughout the province.”
Syrovy noted while some presentations, like graffiti eradication and closed-circuit cameras monitoring streets, are geared towards larger communities larger, others—like urban to rural tourism, retail strategies, and beautification—will be useful to the local BIA.
“We’ll also talk about proposed bylaws regarding the smoking ban. There’s a speaker from Waterloo, which has had a no smoking bylaw for two years, who will talk about it,” said Syrovy.
“It should be very interesting.”
Other presentations will address such provincial initiatives and issues like “Smart Growth” and the Municipal Act.
“And Alex Ling will be there. He’s the guru of the BIA,” noted Syrovy, referring to the man who founded the BIA in the province 33 years ago.
The Ontario BIA, a non-profit association of 110 BIAs from all parts of the province, also will be electing its first board of directors and endorsing a series of founding documents during the conference.
While the OBIAA was formed about a year ago, it hasn’t had a formal election, Syrovy noted.