Leslieville merchants have voted overwhelmingly in favour of creating a new business improvement area (BIA) in their neighbourhood.
In the works for more than two years, retailers along Queen Street East, from Empire to Vancouver avenues, are now just steps away from officially setting up a self-funded business association of commercial property owners and business tenants.
The new Leslieville BIA will be the city’s 74th such organization.
Andrew Sherbin, a financial advisor with Edward Jones at 1238 Queen St. E., started reaching out and discussing the concept with business owners along the strip about two and a half years ago.
“It’s something the neighbourhood really needed,” Sherbin said of the thriving local business community, which he said would only benefit from additional support for its events and other initiatives.
“I think it’s an ideal time to start this up.”
After months of meetings, area retailers were invited this fall to submit a ballot on whether they wanted a new BIA established in their community. Two thirds of those who voted were in favour of creating a new business association.
The Businesses of Leslieville, a volunteer-run group of about 45 local merchants, is spearheading the plan, which has been discussed on and off in the community for a number of years.
“It’s so exciting. Kudos to all involved,” said Ward 30 Councillor Paula Fletcher, a strong supporter of the new local BIA from the beginning.
“I think everybody’s thrilled we have a new BIA on Queen (Street East). Congratulations to all involved for your hard work.”
The Toronto-Danforth representative also said Toronto’s model of supporting small businesses through the matching of small levies is one that is modeled around the world.
“BIAs are really important to main streets in cities,” she said during a recent interview.
Toronto council is expected to approve the new Leslieville BIA in early 2013.
For details, contact Mike Major of the BIA Office at firstname.lastname@example.org call 416-392-0623 or visit the BIA website at www.toronto.ca/bia/index.htm