What is a BIA and how does it work?

A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a geographical area that is established through municipal By-law and is governed under The Municipal Act of Ontario. With support from the municipality, a BIA coordinates the organization, physical improvement and economic development of the business area. BIAs are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, composed of businesses, property owners, persons voted in by rate-paying members and at least one member of municipal Council. The Board is elected every four years in conjunction with Municipal elections. The Board represents the BIA membership and advocates on their behalf. The BIA holds an Annual General Meeting, at which point annual budgets are approved by the membership and other items of interest are presented.

The UpTown Waterloo BIA, formed in 1972, is a committee of City of Waterloo Council and the boundary is delineated by the City of Waterloo. We are an independent non-profit organization, financed by a levy on each property owner in the UpTown Waterloo BIA boundary. Further, although we work independently from the Corporation of the City of Waterloo, the BIA has a very close relationship with the City and we partner on many projects.

The UpTown Waterloo BIA staff consists of an Executive Director, who reports to the Board of Directors; an Executive Administrative Assistant; Marketing and Communications Liaison; and from 2016 to 2018, a full-time contract Public Relations Liaison (specific to Region and City construction projects in the BIA), all reporting to the Executive Director.

 

What We Do For Members

The prime mandate of the UpTown Waterloo Business Improvement Area (BIA) is to promote and beautify the core area of Waterloo. For more information about how this mandate is put into action by our committees, visit the Board & Committees page.

Here are some examples of the other things the BIA does for its members:

  • Leads promotional and marketing initiatives to encourage visitors to the core, to stimulate economic growth and contribute to a vibrant and healthy community (read more about Marketing on the Board & Committees page)
  • Coordinates and completes beautification projects to contribute to a well-maintained and physically attractive area (read more about Beautification on the Board & Committees page)
  • Provides an open forum for concerns and issues facing the membership, which we do our absolute best to address efficiently and effectively
  • Acts as a conduit for communication with the Municipality regarding parking, urban design, City policies, construction, economic development, and other municipally-governed areas of concern
  • Host a variety of special events and festivals to bring guests into UpTown Waterloo and encourage exploring businesses while visiting
  • Provides subsidized advertising rates with local media for UpTown Waterloo businesses

Are You a Member?

Members of a BIA consist of persons who are assessed, on the last returned assessment roll, with respect to rateable property in the area that is in a prescribed business property class and tenants of each property. If you’re unsure if your business is within the BIA boundary, refer to the BIA Boundary Map.

Strategic Plan

To learn more about the BIA’s mandate, mission and direction, view the 2012-2017 UpTown Waterloo BIA Strategic Plan.

Message from Mayor Dave Jaworsky

On behalf of the City of Waterloo, I would like to invite you to explore all of the exciting amenities UpTown Waterloo has to offer.

There is so much to see and do here in the heart of Waterloo. Take some time to  shop at the unique selection of boutiques, unwind at one of the luxurious spas, visit the Clay and Glass Gallery and Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, dine at one of our many fine restaurants, and play outdoors in picturesque Waterloo Park.

There is something for everyone and fun for the entire family.  I hope you enjoy visiting our vibrant UpTown community!

Mayor Dave Jaworsky
City of Waterloo