File photo: Wayne Moore - Castanet
File photo: Wayne Moore - Castanet

South Pandosy BIA put on hold

by - Story: 53331

Kelowna City Council has put the idea of a Business Improvement Area in South Pandosy on hold for a year.

Council declined giving fourth reading after learning nearly half of area landowners petitioned the city against the BIA.

In a reverse petition process similar to the Alternative Approval Process, about 42% of landowners representing about 49% of the areas assessed land value petitioned against the BIA.

The threshold was 50% for both.

"I'm kind of disappointed this has not received more support and is kind of teetering on the edge," says Councillor Robert Hobson, who chaired the South Pandosy Revitalization Committee.

He says it's not really a victory at all when half the owners with half the property value are fighting you.

"I think it is better to take time to have more dialogue and get a better understanding. Maybe the program needs to be re-shaped a little bit or maybe there needs to be more dialogue so people better understand the program."

Hobson says there is no question BIA's do generate significant resources for each of the other areas of the city.

"The city budget has certainly moved in the direction of providing services for downtown and Rutland, based on the expressed desires of the business improvement associations to improve amenities."

While staff would not reveal all of the properties which came down against the BIA, it was disclosed that Mission Park Shopping Centre, which accounts for 23% of the assessed land value in the district, was one of those not in favour.

As for the rest of South Pandosy, acting City Clerk Karen Needham says the negative petitions were spread around the area.

While council was unanimous that BIA advocates should be given more time to get other property owners on side, they were also upset with the process.

"I don't like that it had to go through this process. I think it's negative to start with so if we do it again I think it should be done the right way," says Councillor Andre Blanleil.

The right way in council's view is for the merchants to petition those businesses in support of the BIA as opposed to the negative petition.

"I was disappointed to see this get barely, barely, barely a pass and the part that concerns me as well is this is a negative petition," says Councillor Luke Stack.

"It would be a little different if the question had been asked 'are you in support of this going ahead? I we had over 50% I think I would look at it differently because I would know that at least 50% are supportive."

Advocates of the BIA have until January of 2011 to come back before council to apply for funding for next year.

While putting the issue on hold, council did agree to provide $5,000 in start-up funds, similar to what was provided to both the downtown and Rutland Associations.

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