Belleville Downtown Improvement Area (BDIA)

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| Published , updated April 17, 2024

Belleville Downtown Improvement Area (BDIA) or Belleville Business Improvement Area (BBIA), operating as “The Downtown District”, is a Business Improvement Area (BIA) – a member-run organization and private-public partnership that represents the 201 active businesses, 176 street level units, 138 occupied and 39 vacant (78% occupancy) in the downtown core. It is led by a board of directors consisting of downtown property owners and business owners.

The BDIA works in partnership with the City to make the City’s historic downtown the location of choice for investment, visitors, residents and shoppers and dining.

It was established in The Corporation of the City of Belleville by By-law Number 9275 on August 21, 1972 and governed by the following, which remain in effect:

  • By-law Number 9290 (dated 25th day of September, 1972)
  • By-Law Number 10182 (dated 24th day of January, 1977)
  • Procedural Bylaw 2007-194

According to their website, they exist to position downtown Belleville as a vibrant community and their vision is for Downtown Belleville to be a thriving centre of the community. They meet the 3rd Tuesday of every month unless otherwise stated and meetings are open to the public.

Location

Programs only offered within the physical boundaries of the BIA (i.e. Flowers, banners, CIP incentives, etc.). See the detailed GIS Map.

StreetDetails
Front St.East & West Sides from Station St. to Dundas St.
Bridge St.Both sides from Front St. to Pinnacle St.
Dundas St.North Side only, from Station St. to Dundas St.
Pinnacle St.West Side only, between Front St. and Pinnacle St
Victoria St.Both sides from Front St. to Pinnacle St.
Campbell St.Both sides from Front St. to Pinnacle St.
MacAnnany St.Both sides from Front St. to Pinnacle St.
Market St.Both sides from Front St. to Pinnacle St.

How is the BBIA funded?

BBIA Tax Levy

Property owners in the BDIA are charged an additional levy on their property tax bill (“Taxation – BBIA” on the Operating Budget) that collectively allows the Board to support beautification, marketing and events in the downtown. The Board of Management of the BDIA implement creates and implements their strategic plan.

The taxes collected are then provided to the BBIA as “Economic Development – BBIA” on the City’s Operating Budget.

These funds pay for:

  • Graffiti removal
  • etc.

2023

2022

2020

Downtown city centre viability supported by PPS, Belleville Official Plan

Provincial Policy Statement values the viability of downtowns and mainstreets

Long-term economic prosperity should be supported by:

d) maintaining and, where possible, enhancing the vitality and viability of downtowns and mainstreets;

Section 1.7.1 d) of the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020

Belleville’s Official Plan

The City Centre is intended to be multi-functional; the business, professional, cultural, entertainment and administrative centre of the City; and the policies of this Plan are intended to attract new investment to the core area to enable it to prosper and grow as the business and administrative centre for the entire region. The City Centre is also targeted as a residential intensification area according to the Special Land
Use Policies of Section 4.6.

Policies for the City Centre are designed to encourage and enhance the downtown core as a major focus of economic activity, create a source of civic identity and pride, and establish the City’s core area as a community landmark. The purpose of the City Centre designation on Schedule ‘B’ is to encourage the development of a variety of compatible land uses in the City’s core creating a compact, clean, secure, attractive, accessible and economically stable area.

Development should increase the diversity and vitality of the downtown and create a lively and vibrant environment that supports a wide variety of living, shopping, leisure, cultural and working activities. Development that takes advantage of the Moira River and Bay of Quinte is strongly encouraged. To ensure that intensification is compatible with existing uses, the development of Intensification Design Guidelines are encouraged.

This would provide developers, city staff and Council with a tool to determine whether new intensification development is compatible with the surrounding area.

The City Centre contains significant cultural heritage resources, that are a major part of the character and quality of the area, and are linked to the economic function. New private and public investment opportunities that protect and enhance these heritage resources are important to the economic success of the City Centre.

Some areas within the City Centre land use designation also fall within Specific Planning Area # 1 – Bayshore Planning Area. Should any of the City Centre Policies conflict with the Bayshore Planning Area policies in Section 4.1, the policies of this Section shall prevail.

Section 3.8 of City of Belleville Official Plan (2021)

Belleville’s Strategic Plan

City Centre Sustainability

City centre sustainability is defined as a strategic theme as we need to improve the image of the City, counter urban decay and create an environment that will stimulate investment, create job opportunities and strengthen the City’s regional role.

Strategic objectives:

  • Encourage the creation of a vibrant downtown, accented with pedestrian-friendly services and unique residential and commercial opportunities
  • Promote the City’s core as a place for government, financial, legal and related services
  • Ensure a strong partnership with the DBIA
  • Ensure the preservation of Heritage
City Centre Sustainability is one of 9 strategic themes in Belleville’s Strategic Plan – 2012-2032

How much has been spent supporting the downtown area?

2022-2023 – $205,175 for Enchanted Holiday Market

Reconnect Ontario 2022-23 grant funding requested for a total project budget of $205,175 (City $100,000 capital – already approved; $50,000 City operating, $55,175 Province).

Non-capital project costs include synthetic ice, Illuminated Playscapes, Entertainment, lighting/sound, advertising and a part time coordinator. Funding provided from the Reconnect Ontario Grant – $55,200, Donations – $39,500, Casino – Economic Development Reserve Fund – $50,000

  • $15,000 contribution by Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board
  • $5,000 from DBIA

The goals of the Enchanted Holiday Market include:

  1. Opportunities to support local entrepreneurs,
  2. Bolster sales and marketing of Belleville businesses in the downtown area,
  3. Drive traffic to the City centre,
  4. Create winter activities for Belleville residents, and
  5. Enhance tourism experiences for visitors to the City of Belleville

2022$621,500 for Downtown Parklets & Street Patios

2017-2022 – $648,786 in Community Improvement Plan (CIP): Façade Improvement program funding

Between 2017 and 2022, the City of Belleville has granted the BDIA $648,786+ for façade improvements through the Façade Improvement program. Prior to 2017, council had approved over $50,000 in façade project grants.

This funding aligns with the City’s strategic theme “City centre revitalization” and its goals to improve the image of the City, counter urban decay, and create an environment that will stimulate investment. Facade Improvement Grant Allocations under the Community Improvement Plan for Belleville’s Downtown stimulate private sector investment in revitalization.

In 2023, Councillor Kathryn Ann Brown, the owner of Kate’s Kitchen Shop downtown stated that as a very active member of the downtown core, deferring $50,000 the Facade funding for one year will only allow time for the contractors that are doing that work to catch up, so they don’t lose taking advantage of the funds. The contractor who does the majority of the work is so busy right that he can’t hire people fast enough for this. Removing the money from the budget in 2023 would not cause undue hardship for the downtown.

2019 – $60,655 Belleville Downtown Commons Feasibility & Economic Impact Study

Belleville Commons is a name proposed for the area surrounding Belleville’s City Hall.

In 2019-2020, RFA Planning Consultant Inc., MDB Insights and PACE Designs performed a study for $60,655.00 as to how the lands surrounding City Hall could be redeveloped to create a vibrant place to live, work, and play and quantify the merits of further investments in the City Centre.

The study will articulate a vision for the Downtown Commons and quantify the merits of further investment on the City’s tax base and economic development, as a stimulus towards further investment in the City Centre as a whole. The City has just completed the third and final phase of the Build Belleville infrastructure reconstruction. The plan for the Downtown Commons will capitalize on the Build Belleville
works, and act as a catalyst for future investment in the City’s Downtown by the private and public sector.

Belleville has wisely invested in the physical revitalization of its downtown; it is an investment where the dividends are not just financial but also provide a sense of well-being and community pride and spirit. When talking with many people during our research, we sense there is a growing groundswell of support for continuing with the Build Belleville Downtown initiatives to include the development of the Commons
area, which is predicted to spur private investment made more confident by the City’s commitment to the City Centre. The plan for the Belleville Commons is part of the bridge-building to a revitalization process to invigorate and sustain, not just the downtown, but the entire City.

Belleville Downtown Commons Feasibility & Economic Impact Study (2019)

The study is listed on the City Projects page, but does not seem to have been implemented.

2018 – $34.56M City Centre Revitalization (downtown revitalization)

Completed in fall 2018, the City built new:

  • Streetlights
  • Water and sewer infrastructure

Municipal Grant programs

Development charge reductions and deferrals

Belleville’s Development Charges Bylaw provides:

  • Waives charges for commercial development within the Belleville Downtown Improvement Area (BDIA)
  • 50% reduction for residential development located within the City’s Central Business District (CBD).
  • Deferrals for developers that belong to the Quinte Home Builders Association. Contact the City at 613-968-6481 for details

2023-24 – $280,000 Welcoming Streets program funding

The Welcoming Streets program assists with bridging the gap between business owners and the vulnerable population:

  • Reducing unnecessary calls to local police department 
  • Enhancing community safety Referrals to local housing and mental health/substance use supports
  • Fostering positive therapeutic relationships by promoting empathy and inclusivity
  • Raising awareness through community education

The Welcoming Streets program is completely funded by the City of Belleville. The BDIA does not contribute any funding to the Welcoming Streets program.

  • BDIA received $140,000 for the Welcoming Streets program in 2023 to pay for 2 full-time staff.
  • BDIA received $140,000 in funding for 2024 to continue the Welcoming Streets Program with the same 2 full-time staff, with a potential for the program to be expanded to an approximate $300,000 budget if alternative funding sources are confirmed.
  • Police Services Board made a grant application to the Office of the Solicitor General for funding to offset these costs.

Timeline

February 9 – Chair of Belleville DBIA worries people might start avoiding downtown

Maury Flunder, the chair of Belleville’s business improvement association, said the growing list of social issues in Belleville’s downtown area is the number one concern according to a recent survey of merchants in the area.

The BIA runs an outreach program called Welcoming Streets aimed at helping Belleville’s vulnerable population access support.

Flunder said despite the efforts of the BIA and the municipality, the crisis is getting worse.

So far, many downtown businesses are doing well, according to Flunder, but he worries people may start avoiding the area.

“The perception from a large part of the community is certainly they don’t want to come down at night, for example, and you know, who wants that?” Flunder said.

February 9 – Downtown Belleville Improvement Area: disheartening to see “negative narratives” about downtown in the media

Questions

  • Revenues to the City vs funding to the area through various programs.

Contact information

Sources

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