Nipawin council revamping business improvement district

By Clark Stork
February 14, 2018 - 12:00pm

The town of Nipawin’s council is resurrecting the business improvement district (BID).

In December, the sitting board of the BID all resigned from their positions putting the organization’s future up in the air.

The main reason for the board turning over the BID to the town was due to funding concerns. The BID committee requested $117,000 for the 2018 fiscal year, but council budgeted $50,000 for the group. The decision came after council supplied the BID committee with $400,000 in funding over the past five years. 

Chief administrative officer Barry Elliott said the money was used for general operating costs and grants through the Main Street Saskatchewan program. Elliott said council was satisfied with the BID’s progress but felt more could have been accomplished.

“I believe they were generally happy but having said that I think council recognized the BID needed to be more independent and they weren’t comfortable with continuing to support it to the extent they did,” Elliott said.

After a BID meeting in Nipawin on Dec. 13, chair Tom Weegar issued a letter to the town about the lower budget and said the board “can’t operate with that amount of money.”

At town council’s meeting Monday, members agreed to introduce a bylaw reinstating the BID. The organization will now solely focus on the downtown core rather than town wide. The town’s goal for the organization is to enhance beautification efforts, support community events, and business retention. Elliott said most BID’s across the province operate with a focus on a community’s core.

“There are many business people downtown that take great pride in their buildings and their area and they do good things to keep it current and make the downtown appealing. This is an effort from the town’s perspective to assist in that,” he said.

Businesses along First Ave. W. from Nipawin Rd. E. to Eighth St. W. are included in the Nipawin Downtown Business Improvement District. Businesses located along a stretch of Centre St. from Railway Ave. W. to Third Ave. W. are also included. Elliott said the previous board succeeded in several areas including the development of the town square and the Main Street Saskatchewan program. He said the focus will now change to keeping the community core viable. 

“We’re developing a vision of downtown and working on different projects to enhance the interest from the public and our guests coming to the core and utilizing our businesses,” Elliott said.

A levy will charged to businesses falling under the BID. The bylaw doesn’t state the cost as details are still being finalized. The town is now seeking interested board members to make up the executive.

The previous board was also undertaking a community heritage assessment with a consultant. That work is still ongoing.

 

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On Twitter: @ClarkStork

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