To BIA, or not to BIA? Good Question!

Just what is a BIA, anyway?  How are Business Improvement Areas created, why do they exist, and how do they work?

On this walk, tour leader Dennis Van Staalduinen will take you through some of the fascinating aspects of BIAs, their remarkable powers and structure, and some of the ways they help to create, animate, and enhance Ottawa's urban public spaces. You'll learn about: 

  • Origins, history, and nature of the BIA model
  • Voluntary taxation and other remarkable hidden powers of a BIA
  • The story of how one BIA, Wellington West, came to be
  • The tensions involved in balancing commercial, social, and "gentrification" pressures
  • 'Beautification':  an ugly word for making stuff pretty 
  • Events and promotion:  how BIAs try to help local businesses  
  • Advocacy, or how BIAs get active (without getting political) 
  • Public spaces:  projects and opportunities in Wellington West
Dennis 1Dennis 2

Photo:  The Cube Gallery on Wellington West.  Not visible from this angle, the Wellington West BIA is upstairs and in the back.  

Meet on the north-east corner of Island Park & Wellington St West.  We will walk the entire length of the Wellington St West commercial "Main Street" corridor from the western boundary of the Wellington West Business Improvement Area to the place where Somerset West meets Wellington West.   

The walk will be following city sidewalks for the entire distance, so the walk is technically accessible.  But note, this is a Saturday afternoon in a popular urban area, so we may need to re-route a bit if the group numbers are very high.

About the walk leader

Ottawa history buff, urban space uber-geek, performer, and irrepressible Jane's Walk leader, Dennis has seen Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) from both sides. Between 2005 to 2008, he was part of the team that promoted and organized a Business Improvement Area to cover the "traditional Main Street" districts in Hintonburg and Wellington Village. His name is on Bylaw 2008-40 that formally created the Wellington West BIA in 2008. Now, ten years later, he has come full circle as the newest Executive Director of that same BIA.


Dennis Van Staalduinen

Date:Sat May 5, 2018
Time:1:00 PM
Duration: 2 hours
Language: English
Start:Wellington St West & .............................Island Park
End:Wellington St. West & .............................Somerset
Area:Wellington West/Hintonburg
Distance:2.0 kms

The walk will follow city sidewalks. 

Galerie Cube Gallery
Volunteer to Marshal This Walk