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Jun 27, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

Queensway BIA looks likely after 30 years

Councillor Peter Milczyn looking forward to Toronto City Council voting on bylaw

Etobicoke Guardian
By

After 30 years in the making, it looks like a Queensway BIA will take flight.

Results are not yet official, but area Councillor Peter Milczyn reported Thursday, it looks good.

"Based on the work we did canvassing and talking to individual business and property owners, I'm confident there is overwhelming support to create a BIA this time. A very high percentage responded - well over 50 per cent," Milczyn said.

The deadline for the 220 Queensway property owners to submit their BIA ballots to the city was last Friday.

Toronto City Council will vote on a Queensway BIA implementation bylaw on July 11.

The BIA steering committee, Milczyn and his staff went door-to-door in the past week to collect the ballots.

Milczyn dedicated a staffer to door-knock among property and business owners to discuss a BIA in winter 2011.

A series of open houses followed, then a steering committee formed.

It's Milczyn's third attempt in nine years to sell businesses along one of Etobicoke's busiest retail strips on the benefits of forming a Business Improvement Area.

Attempts to form a BIA along The Queensway date back to the 1980s.

So what's different this time?

Visible growth and development on The Queensway, coupled with a strong, enthusiastic BIA steering committee, Milczyn said.

"People can see there is real change coming on The Queensway with all the development happening, and there's a new generation of business people. They're the ones, more recent investors on The Queensway, who went there because they see the potential," the Etobicoke-Lakeshore councillor said.

One condo is under construction, with two others soon to follow. New restaurants and retail stores have opened.

Queensway business and property owners Rachael Kelebay and Michael Borromeo are co-chairs of the Queensway BIA steering committee.

"When we canvassed, we found people are so excited about it. They asked, 'when will it be confirmed? When can it start?' I think we'll be able to put together a strong group, a strong board of directors. There is huge momentum," Kelebay said.

Kelebay sits on the Bloor West Village BIA and operates businesses there.

Recently, her family invested in the Queensway neighbourhood, purchased properties and opened a Max's Market.

"The area is on the up," said Kelebay, an architect by profession.

"It's situated on an (highway) artery. I believe the area will really explode and become a much more important urban area where King Street will eventually expand out to The Queensway."

Borromeo's parents have owned a property and business on The Queensway since the 1960s.

He and his wife now own and operate Metropolitan Kitchen and Bath on The Queensway.

"It's really great. We're very excited," Borromeo said of the prospect of starting a Queensway BIA.

"We're super proud to be able to pull this off at a time when there is all this activity and development on The Queensway. We're totally thrilled."

A Queensway BIA could get a huge kick-off with a Queensway Festival this September.

expansion

A BIA could also soon expand.

Earlier this year, a decision was made to contain the vote to Queensway property owners on a two-kilometre stretch between Kipling Avenue and Royal York Road.

But interest in a BIA exists beyond those boundaries, Milczyn said. If all goes well, a Queensway BIA board could vote this fall to expand its boundaries.

"By next spring, we might see The Queensway BIA that has been 30 years in the making growing even bigger," Milczyn said.

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