Join us for an evening of engaging community dialogue to help us reshape the Strathcona business community brand.
Monday November 4th, 2019
5:00pm – 8:30pm
at The Pace, 520 Alexander Street
Do you believe Strathcona is a truly unique place? The SBIA is turning to the community to help them define, preserve and amplify that uniqueness.
This event is an exciting opportunity for you to provide your honest feedback and perspectives on how we move forward with the Strathcona business community brand.
Doors will open at 5pm and a light dinner will be provided.
We have partnered with Stormy Lake Consulting to lead us through the evening. You’ll be working in small groups and discussing provocative questions that explore the Strathcona brand from many angles.
This event is open to all SBIA members, organization partners, community members and interested members from the general public. Your participation is valued.
Learn more about the event and register in advance at the event page.Read More
Strathcona BIA Special Report
August 13 2019, xwməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) unceded territories/Vancouver, BC — When it comes to Oppenheimer Park and the recent surge in camping activity, a majority of businesses in the neighbourhood agree that the park should be allowed to be a park once again. A new survey by the Strathcona Business Improvement Association found that 83% of business respondents operating in and around Oppenheimer Park agree efforts should be made to return the park to its original purpose as a green and social space. 83% of business respondents agreed efforts should be made to return the park to its original purpose The survey comes roughly a year after campers occupied the park. Today it’s estimated that there are close to 130 campers living in Oppenheimer. The Strathcona BIA serves over 850 business members in Vancouver’s Eastside community, including many directly surrounding the park. It was time to hear from them directly on how park activity has impacted their ability to participate in the community and the local economy.
Survey Themes and Business Impacts
Strathcona BIA members surveyed revealed responses from the role park space plays in the community to what the city could do to address and support campers living in the park. According to Strathcona BIA Executive Director, Theo Lamb, the results were mixed with a few specific themes and messages emerging. One thing that is clear is that businesses in and around Oppenheimer Park feel strongly that action needs to occur.
What that action looks like and how to arrive at it varied from respondent to respondent. In the survey, 88% of all respondents agreed that the Strathcona BIA has a role to play in advocacy regarding park activity.
Most concerning were reports directly from the businesses who cited loss of customers, an inability to retain staff due to feelings around lack of safety and, in one case, the closure of a business’s community serving retail location. One business in the immediate vicinity noted “the number of violent incidents has spiked in the time since it has become a tent city” and that “the number of times we have had to call 911 has risen beyond a point of reasonable expectation.” Themes of empathy and care for the campers emerged with several respondents recognizing the challenging task ahead of housing folks facing multiple barriers. One business responded that “we can’t just kick those campers out, they need somewhere to go” and another noting “I have empathy for the campers/homeless people in the park.” Several respondents indicated a preference to work to find appropriate housing alternatives first. Not surprising is the call for more support from the city in the form of:
- clean water
- more access to social services
- additional garbage bins
More bathroom access would go a long way to provide basic, humane services for campers, and in helping businesses in the area who are often left with clean up and sanitation issues in the front streets and back alleys. We only recently were able to arrange city lane flushing down the alleyways in and around Oppenheimer Park, but it’s not enough. Campers and community members need access to washrooms that stretch from day into night. While the SBIA did ask businesses if they supported a city-sanctioned tent city, an idea raised in the media recently, only 17% of business respondents reported being open to the concept. Of those respondents, several people indicated emergency housing should be dispersed throughout the City, while others felt it shouldn’t be in a city park at all. 17% of businesses open to the concept of a city-sanctioned tent city As the City of Vancouver considers its next steps, Lamb says the Strathcona BIA will continue to do its part through micro-cleaning services and the Strathcona BIA Community Safety Patrol team that responds to business member calls.
Micro-cleaners from Strathcona-based Mission Possible, a social enterprise that employs individuals who face barriers to traditional employment, spend up to 16 hours each week cleaning the area. On average, Mission Possible picks up 7.7 needles per hour and fills 12 large garbage bags of debris in and around the park each week over two 8 hour shifts. Over the last seven months (January to July 2019), the Strathcona BIA safety team has reported that 42 percent of their time has been spent in the DEOD (Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District) in and around Oppenheimer Park. That is 2.63 times more than any other sub-district the Strathcona BIA monitors and almost a quarter increase from the year before.
Lamb reflects that the Strathcona BIA intends to watch closely how the city proceeds with addressing park activity and, in the meantime, will continue to respond to the more immediate safety and sanitation needs of businesses working to keep open doors and open minds to issues that, ultimately, are the responsibility of an entire city.
Results from the survey represent Strathcona Business Improvement Association members surveyed online July 31st, 2019 through to August 8th, 2019. 59 unique members responded. Respondents were invited to answer 3 questions that included the opportunity to provide an open-ended response of which 45 respondents completed. The Strathcona BIA respects the privacy of its over 850 business members and hence quotations, while pulled directly from the survey, remain anonymous. Members in good standing with the Strathcona BIA are businesses and community-serving organizations within the SBIA catchment with valid business licenses.
About the Strathcona BIA
The Strathcona Business Improvement Association (SBIA) operates on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. It extends from Clark Drive in the east, Gore Avenue in the west, Venables Street in the south and Railway Street in the north. The SBIA employs staff and is governed by an elected Board of Directors made up of business members from across the community. Our vision is for Strathcona members to thrive in a mixed-use, inclusive, resilient and prosperous local economy. Our mission is to promote a strong local economy through advocacy, cultivating relationships, supporting business participation in the community, delivering innovative programs and fostering community leaders.
For More Information/Media Contact:
Theo Lamb, Executive Director, Strathcona BIA
T: 778-773-3811Read More
The Strathcona BIA Annual General Meeting takes place on Thursday, September 26th, 2019 at The Settlement Building.
Call for Nominations
The Strathcona BIA Board of Directors actively works to build a thriving, mixed-use and resilient local economy here in Strathcona. This year the board will take on the first year of a five year renewed strategic plan which we will share at our upcoming AGM. Do you want to be a part of the community-building and place-branding done on behalf of businesses across Strathcona?
We want to hear from you.
We are seeking business leaders with particular experience and skills in governance, HR and advocacy to join our board of directors.
Submit an Expression of Interest
Please reach out to the SBIA at email@example.com with your expression of interest to serve on the SBIA board no later than September 1, 2019.
The SBIA Board is currently made up of 9 directors, 7 of which are mid-way through their term and 2 of which are up for re-election. The membership can elect up to 12 directors for those who qualify and meet the needs and expectations of the role and responsibilities. Board Members can be property owners, business tenants or an authorized representative of an SBIA member property. Property owners must make up the majority of the SBIA Board. All candidates are required to meet with a member of the Executive Committee and the SBIA Executive director as well as complete a nomination package to be eligible for election.
This year the AGM takes place on Thursday, Sept. 26th, 2019 at the Settlement Building. We look forward to seeing our members there!Read More
In early 2019, the Strathcona Business Improvement Association Board turned their attention to renewing the SBIA Strategic Plan.
With the help of Lucent Quay Consulting, the SBIA engaged members through a survey and 1-to-1 interviews in February 2019 to help guide the development of new strategic goals. The purpose of the consultation was to receive feedback from SBIA members on past SBIA performance and gain insight into members priorities. The member feedback received was presented to the SBIA Board ahead of their two-day strategic planning workshop. The survey and interview results provided valuable insights to help inform our next five-year strategic plan (2019 2024) including potential new and ongoing initiatives.
What we did
An initial email was sent to members in February 2019, notifying them of the Strategic Plan review, consultation timeline and link to the online 12-question survey. The survey was open for a week with a reminder to members sent part-way through.
The SBIA also identified a cross-section of members from varying sectors and geographical areas of the SBIA to be contacted for 1-to-1 interviews.
38 SBIA members completed the online survey and six 1-to-1 interviews were conducted.
What we asked
The survey was comprised of four sections:
- SBIA Performance Provided an opportunity for feedback on overall satisfaction with the SBIA over the past year.
- SBIA Member Priorities Asked respondents about the SBIA members priorities and goals for the remaining of the Strategic Plan.
- Challenges and Strengths Asked respondents about the strengths and challenges facing the SBIA.
- About Your Business Asked respondents about their business.
Highlights of Results
84% of respondents are satisfied with the SBIA overall
Areas where respondents are extremely satisfied (rank 8-10) with the SBIA’s effectiveness are:
- Enhancing community safety through dialogue, partnerships, and collaboration
- Establishing priorities and budgets that reflect the SBIA mission
- Developing innovative programs that support and celebrate sustainability amongst members and the community
The greatest challenges identified by SBIA members are:
- Branding of the SBIA & Community
- Taxation and high cost of doing business
- Gentrification and new development
- Parking/Transit Infrastructure
Respondents felt some of the greatest opportunities for the SBIA are:
- Retaining its culture and arts environment
- Abundance of industrial land compared to the rest of Vancouver
- Unique development zoning to attract new businesses
- Marketing the unique businesses that call Strathcona home
Respondents identified key priorities for the future as:
- Advocacy with VPD and City of Vancouver initiatives
- Safety and Security enhancements
- Commercial taxation advocacy
Here are those key priorities that members identified broken down into numbers. Top ratings went to working with VPD and the City, street cleaning and sanitation, and the mobile patrol safety team. Graffiti removal and commercial taxation advocacy also rounded out the activities that more than 75% of members indicated are important, as illustrated in the table below.
Question #4: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not at all important and 10 being extremely important, in terms of new or ongoing activities of the SBIA, how important do you think the following activities are to the overall success of the SBIA? For each element, please select the number that best describes your opinion.
An additional takeaway from the in-person interviews was that the SBIA could enhance success with a stronger commitment to member engagement, by creating a greater awareness of initiatives, by clearly defining metrics for success and by providing regular progress reports.
Respondents included a mix of long-tenure and newer businesses in Strathcona and a mix of sizes ranging from 1-3 employees to 50 or more.
Most respondents were operating businesses, whether through lease or as an owner/operator within the BIA.
Respondents represented a range of sectors with a number of them belonging to the manufacturing, printing and publishing, and service sectors.
What we did next
Informed by the results of the consultation, the SBIA Board of Directors and Staff took part in a two-day strategic planning session facilitated by Lucent Quay Consulting. Over these energized two days, some new strategic goals began to emerge. These were further refined by the Executive Committee, and staff went to work on developing a strategic framework for these new goals. The Board passed the new strategic plan in May 2019.
Staff are in the early stages of developing work plans to support the new Strategic Plan and look forward to officially launching the plan and framework to members at the Annual General Meeting. This year the AGM takes place on Thursday, Sept. 26th, 2019 at the Settlement Building. We look forward to seeing our members there!Read More
The Strathcona BIA noted a dramatic increase in 2019 property values. The SBIA Board of Directors took action to support our members in the face of rising commercial property tax with a SBIA-wide review and appeal approach. Every member of the SBIA benefited from a commercial tax agent�s opinion on their 2019 commercial property assessment. Those properties recommended for appeal were filed collectively by the SBIA. All members were notified in print or by e-mail with next steps and options depending on the results of their appeal recommendation.
34% of all properties in the Strathcona BIA area were recommended for appeal.
Properties Reviewed: 402
Recommended for Appeal: 137
Not Recommended for Appeal: 265
The key factors that supported grounds for an appeal included:
Assessed value is higher than market value
Market sales are analyzed by BC Assessment to determine market value of properties. Due to differences between properties, some are over assessed based on the sales.
55% of recommended properties
Errors in income approach
An appeal may be warranted based on the income approach if the rents or leasable area applied by BC assessment is not reflective of market for the property type.
36% of recommended properties
Physical characteristics misrepresented
An appeal may be warranted if the assessor has misrepresented the size of the building on a property or the lot size itself.
0.7% of recommended properties
The taxpayer has the right to be assessed at the “lesser of” market value or comparable assessments.
9% of recommended properties
Classification determines which tax rate applies to your property. If you feel your property has been misclassified this would warrant an appeal.
insufficient information at time of investigation.
Approximately 14% of members recommended for appeal opted to work with our agent to pursue action. Others decided to represent themselves or work with other commercial tax agents. Some property owners withdrew appeals or took no action, resulting in expired appeals.
BC Property Assessment Appeal Process Timeline
We’ve created an appeal process timeline to help you plan for next year.� For detailed information on the BC assessment appeal process visit:
www.bcassessment.ca�(1st level of appeal)
www.assessmentappeal.bc.ca�(2nd level of appeal)
Get in touch with your appeal story.
The SBIA is collecting the neighbourhood wide results for a full report back to the membership in the Fall.
If you would like to share your appeal process story and results with us, please reach out below.
Call Us: (604) 258-2727
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgRead More
On April 29th, 2019 Vancouver City Council voted in favour of a 2% tax shift from commercial property tax to residential over the next three years. The tax roll will shift one per cent in 2019 and 0.5 per cent in both 2020 and 2021. Businesses that own or are a tenant in an average commercial property can expect savings of $508 in 2019. Currently, businesses shoulder 42% of the property tax burden while consuming only 23% of City services.
As part of our ongoing commercial tax advocacy in service to our members, SBIA Executive Director Theo Lamb, along with several other BIA leaders, spoke to Council in person and ultimately made the winning case that led to a majority Vancouver City Councillor vote in favour of this tax shift.
Vancouver has not seen a tax shift since 2012. We see this as a positive first step in addressing the unfair tax burden shouldered by the business community of Vancouver. There are many issues and drivers that contribute to high property taxes, and we look forward to working with stakeholders and the City to advocate for continued solutions and policies that provide relief to our commercial property owners and tenant businesses and organizations.Read More
There are many small steps one can take to offer support to those experiencing homelessness in our community. The City of Vancouver has developed a resource page with information on actions you can take in different circumstances. It is always important to check in with the person you are concerned about in a safe and compassionate manner to see if they want help, and from there you can use the resources below to assist.
To learn more about sanitation-related services offered by the City of Vancouver and the Strathcona BIA check out this blog post.Read More
On November 11th, 2018, Strathcona lost one of its strongest and most passionate advocates, Wayne Nelsen. Wayne was a founding member of the Strathcona BIA, and served as a dedicated director from day one. After 20 years of service to our board, his impact and legacy is still felt everyday, from the daily operations of our safety team to our strategy and advocacy work on behalf of the community at large. He ensured the principle of safety was embedded in everything we do.
You wont find a greater champion for Strathcona and its businesses reflects Sam Hamilton, SBIA member services. He always ensured the member needs were put first, ahead of all other considerations.
Wayne led by example as the owner and operator of the Patricia Hotel and the Hastings Mill Brewing Company, one of Vancouvers oldest city brewers. During his decades as a business leader in Strathcona, he watched the community shift and change many times over. His long view of a changing neighbourhood and deep appreciation for small business added up to a vision for Strathcona, one in which all businesses, residents and community members thrive together.
Wayne was a giant of Strathcona, and he expected nothing but the best from and for the community, remembers Emma Carscadden, SBIA board president. I will miss most his steadfast determination to get visible, tangible results for Strathcona.
Wayne Kent Nelsen. Business Leader. Advocate. Husband. Father. Friend. A man of and for the people. You are missed.
Visit here to read Waynes Obituary in the Province and Vancouver Sun. Wayne is predeceased by his son-in-law David and survived by his wife Janet, his children Daryl (Katie) and Lindsay and his grandchildren Allie (Nelsen) and Kennedy (Thomas).
The SBIA staff and board are considering how to memorialize Wayne and honour his legacy in public and purposeful ways. We are open to your thoughtful suggestions. Please feel free to reach out to us with your ideas.Read More
Your Need to Know Resources in 2019
Help keep Strathcona beautiful by taking advantage of the resources offered by the Strathcona BIA and City of Vancouver.
VanConnect: Report public property graffiti, debris, and maintenance issues by downloading the VanConnect app at: vancouver.ca/vanconnect
Needle Pick Up: Handled through the Portland Hotel Society 604-657-6561 or the SBIA’s safety team 604-789-4143
Street Cleaning: Weekday litter, debris and needle removal provided by Coast Mental Health, United We Can, and Mission Possible Maintenance. To report litter and debris call the SBIA office 604-258-2727
Private Property Debris Pick-up: To schedule removal of larger debris on private property fill out this form: bit.ly/2KRNDBE
Graffiti Removal: For free graffiti removal on private property or to report graffiti call: 1-877-684-4747 or e-mail email@example.com
Recycle In Strathcona: Community recycling program for one-off and ongoing collection service. Call Recycling Alternative 604-874-7283 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How you can help:
Report debris, garbage and graffiti right away to deter future incidents
Educate staff on available sanitation resources
Secure dumpsters and bins
Promote proper recycling and food waste disposal practices
Encourage neighbours and fellow members to take advantage of SBIA resources
Contact the SBIA when you notice changes in typical activity
Take steps to deter future activity at your business