Chemainus BIA gets down to business

The Chemainus Business Improvement Association is getting down to business.We often hear about like-minded individuals banding together for a common interest.When citizens want to address something, they form organizations, athletes have sports teams and businesses have chambers of commerce.It is less often, however, we hear about people from all different levels and interests banding together to help foster a section of the community.The Chemainus Business Improvement Association is such an example.It took proving to North Cowichan council that having a BIA was something wanted by the majority of people in the community.A different mill rate was set up for three distinct areas in Chemainus, downtown being the highest, and taxes are collected through the municipality and the given back to the BIA to promote Chemainus.“Basically it is to put forth business promotion schemes to enhance the business environment,” said Geoff Hincks, Chemainus BIA chair.“We are operating with about a $100,000 budget,” said Hincks.That money goes towards projects such as beautification and marketing Chemainus to the world.The BIA’s 20-year history combined with Chemainus’ natural beauty and assets have really put the town on the map, noted Hincks.“If you spend the money, it works over time.”The BIA has this year stepped up to help promote businesses to help keep people coming through the doors and keeping those doors open.“We said someone has to step forth and address this issue of where we’re going.”Tim O’Rouke, the new events and economic activity and promotion co-ordinator with the BIA, said the group has three main targets for the 2010-2011 years: Economic stimulation activities; beautification; and marketing.“That’s the priority this year,” he said.Some of the activities for the year include: The Vancouver Home Show, taking part in numerous tourism guides, advertising in numerous publications, a new website, four highway signs and a new brochure that is now on the street.O’Rouke will also be gathering information to compile into a booklet for businesses looking at Chemainus.Hincks said if they had a wishlist that could be completed, the waterfront is on the top of that list.“You’re living on an ocean and people can’t understand why we don’t have much in the way of access for the general public.“We think that would be a  key catalyst for driving renewed redevelopment of Chemainus.”Hincks said the BIA realizes the waterfront is a huge project and are focussing on the rest of Chemainus before turning attention there.For more information, please visit www.chemainusbcbia.wordpress.com or www.tourismchemainus.com.