A strong business community helps keep White Rock thriving! The city is surrounded by Surrey, just 48km/30mi south of Vancouver, and only a two-hour drive north of Seattle, making it an attractive tourist destination. Our goal is to not only keep visitors returning to White Rock, but to also to provide quality services and products so that residents choose to shop, eat and play in White Rock as well.
What does the BIA do?
Promoting the diverse components that make up the city is the challenge that the White Rock BIA has before it. The BIA has a two-fold mandate.
To promote the area as a business and shopping district that is a destination.
To oversee the improvement, beautification and maintenance of municipally owned land, buildings and structures in the area beyond that provided by the municipality generally.
In carrying out these responsibilities, BIAs involves itself in numerous activities to make the area more appealing, which often include:
Streetscape Improvement and Other Amenities
The White Rock BIA helps businesses in all sections of the city - Uptown, Five Corners, East Beach, and West Beach.
What Is The Purpose Of A BIA
The goal of the BIA is to make the business and shopping district appealing to local residents as well as visitors so that more dollars spent on goods and services stay in White Rock — rather than being spent in nearby Surrey or Vancouver. When revitalized shopping areas attract local and tourist dollars, all businesses and residents in the area benefit from the cleaner, safer and more congenial atmosphere.
Revitalization and maintenance benefits professional service firms, whose clientele can enjoy the local atmosphere as part of their trip to the doctor, dentist, lawyer, or accountant. The same is true for entertainment and dining establishments which benefit from the increase in local traffic and the improved atmosphere that results from the presence of a BIA.
A BIA does more than encourage beautification and promotion. In some cases, leaders of the BIA (the Board of Management) become a line of communication between the community and the local municipal or City Council. The BIA forum can be used as a vehicle for conveying community concerns to Council and for prompting Council to pursue policies and activities that will promote and strengthen the community and its unique identity.
The group also fosters a network of relationships and partnerships among local community groups (schools, churches, citizen’s groups etc.) and institutions (Chamber of Commerce, committees of council etc.) that makes everyone aware of the importance of working for the shared goals of presenting the city in the best light.
Who Benefits From Having A BIA?
In promoting local business, everyone benefits as the White Rock BIA continues its work.
Business operators, including professional, dining, entertainment, finance, or retail, may benefit from the improved local atmosphere and ambiance that a successful BIA helps to create. If each business builds upon the activities of the BIA and ensures that each customer receives best value in an efficient and courteous manner, they will share in the growth and stability spurred by the BIA.
Property owners benefit as BIA-initiated improvements and activities often lead to an increase in property values. Improvements help to create and sustain a more vibrant and viable economic environment within the local area and encourage all property owners to improve their property. In addition, it can spur an increased demand for retail and office space, which cuts down on empty storefronts.
Non-retailers also benefit, as BIA improvements and activities help to create a more vibrant local community and a more prosperous local economic environment that attracts more visitors and retains more local customers for all types of services and a more inviting atmosphere that clients and customers will enjoy visiting.
Supporting Progress Through Business Assessments
A BIA is a secure source of funding as it mandated by law. Since 2005, when White Rock approved the BIA, the municipality collects money as a special levy on all industrial and commercial properties (class 5 and 6) in the area. Funds are then transferred to the BIA organization to carry out its work.
The BIA provides for a special charge to be levied on each commercial and/or industrial property within the designated area. There are several ways your Council can assess property and designate the contribution, but the most commonly used methods are assessment (mil rate percentage) or frontage (fixed sum per linear front footage).
For example, under the assessment method, each property owner’s share of the annual BIA budget is proportionate to his or her property’s share of the total taxable commercial value of all the properties within the BIA’s boundaries, landlords pass all or part of this cost to their business tenant(s) pursuant to lease agreements.
Having a BIA has been so helpful to White Rock that the city granted the organization a five year renewal in 2011 after a one year mandate.