KURT LANGMANN PHOTO Aldergrove Business Association president Rob Wilson says plans for a Business Improvement Area here have been put on pause.

Aldergrove ‘Business Improvement Area’ plans put on hold

Strategic Directions for 2018: Aldergrove Business Association update

Plans for the establishment of an Aldergrove Business Improvement Area have been shelved for the time being.

Over the past year and a half, the Aldergrove Business Association’s Board of Directors has worked to explore the possibility of establishing a Business Improvement Area (BIA) in Aldergrove.

A BIA would aim to stimulate business and promote Aldergrove’s commercial retail area through a strategic business plan, with funding collected by the Township of Langley on Class 5 and Class 6 properties within a defined zone along Fraser Highway.

However, ABA president Rob Wilson said this week that, “In late October, the ABA recognized that while we have been encouraged by the conversations that we’ve had – the majority of the business owners we’ve talked to have been very supportive of the idea of establishing a BIA here in Aldergrove – it proved to be very challenging to connect with property owners to make the case for a BIA. Despite our best efforts at trying to make those connections over the last nine months or so, we simply ran out of time to establish a BIA in 2018.”

“We have always had incredible support from member businesses when it comes to sponsorship and in-kind donations for our initiatives, but the ABA’s membership has been flat for several years (currently at about 100), with annual dues of $45 providing a budget of about $4,500 a year. With such a small budget, it’s difficult to provide the kind of real business support that merchants have suggested they want to see in Aldergrove.

“There are also challenges in being an all-volunteer organization; a larger, stable budget under a BIA would allow for the hiring of an individual to coordinate and lead the support, activities and operations that would bring real value to the businesses in our town.

“For the moment, the ABA’s Board has paused its pursuit of a BIA, subject to Board renewal and further input from the business community,” said Wilson.

ALDERGROVE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION 2018 STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS

Given limited financial resources and volunteer hours, the current ABA Board has identified five key operating principles essential for the ABA to continue to operate into 2018:

1. The ABA will refocus its efforts on supporting businesses in the downtown core, defined by Fraser Hwy. (north and south) from Station Rd. to 260th St., 272nd St. (east and west) from 29th Ave. to 32nd Ave., and 264th St. (east and west) from 29th Ave. to 32nd Ave.

2. Each of the Board’s Directors and/or other volunteers will be assigned a ‘ward’ within this defined area, and will work to establish relationships with the businesses in that ward – to encourage non-member businesses to join the ABA, and to encourage current members to volunteer their time, treasure, or talent to ABA initiatives.

3. Membership fees will increase in 2018 from the current $45 per year to $100 per year. This will allow the ABA to continue to cover essentials like Directors’ insurance, office supplies, printing, etc. For the ABA to remain viable, a minimum of 100 businesses’ membership fees must be fully paid by February 28, 2018. Invoices will be sent in late December – please pay your invoice promptly, and encourage any neighbour businesses who are not already members to join the ABA in 2018.

4. The ABA will focus on events and activities that provide direct support to businesses in Aldergrove, and will limit its involvement in ‘community’ events. This will likely mean that some events that the ABA has championed in the past may not continue without other organizations stepping forward to run them.

5. For events and activities that require volunteers or member attendance (e.g. Minglers, Clean-Up Days), a threshold will be set, and the event or activity may not go forward if that threshold is not met.

“The current ABA Board would like to take this opportunity to thank the many businesses that have shared their thoughts and concerns with us over the past year and a half about Aldergrove’s business environment. We remain optimistic that a reinvigorated Board will be able to continue to develop an organization that can provide strong support and leadership to the businesses in our town,” said Wilson.

CALL FOR 2018-2019 ABA BOARD MEMBERS: Help determine the future of support for businesses in Aldergrove

In 2018, several of ABA’s current Board members will be stepping down, and they are looking for four or five new volunteers to take on roles with the ABA and help determine the next phase of the organization – for example, whether or not to continue to push to establish a BIA in our town, or perhaps consider a tiered membership structure where larger businesses contribute more to membership revenue than smaller businesses.

The current Board’s term will end in March 2018, but don’t wait to get involved. To learn more about becoming a Board member, contact: info@aldergroveba.ca.

You may also write to the Aldergrove Business Association, 2941 272nd Street, Aldergrove, B.C. V4W 3R3 Canada

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