What We Do
Empowering a thriving Strathcona.
We stand up for our local businesses by making sure they have a voice in a wide range of issues that impact them. We hold institutional partners accountable and support our members in responding to change by providing access to tools and education. We’re consistently working with various parties to move the dial on a wide variety of economic, social, and environmental actions for the benefit of our members. We aim to be an influential and respected voice for a prosperous Strathcona.
Is there a specific issue that you’re having trouble navigating? Reach out to us at any time for advocacy support at 604-258-2727.
Strathcona Tax Empowerment Program
Rising property tax has been one of the greatest challenges facing local businesses and property owners in Strathcona. In 2019 we introduced the Strathcona Tax Empowerment Program (STEP), a program to help members navigate the property assessment appeal process and lighten the tax burden on businesses and commercial properties.
- Need to appeal your property assessment? Use the SBIA Appeal Process Toolkit
- In 2019, members received a commercial tax agent’s opinion on their property assessment. Successful appeals achieved an average assessment reduction of 19% for combined tax savings of $195,000.
- In 2019, advocacy by Vancouver BIAs resulted in a 2% tax shift from commercial property tax to residential over the next three years.
- Join our Property Tax Workshop every January to get a snapshot of assessed value and changes in Strathcona, and to review options for appealing your assessment.
Learn more about our tax advocacy work here:
Transportation and Mobility in our community are important issues for the SBIA. Our mobility advocacy aims to improve employee transportation options, especially walking, cycling, and transit facilities and connections. Our goal is to improve transit facilities and services in Strathcona, while supporting the efficient movement of goods.
- We secured the first no time-limit metered parking in Vancouver, to meet both long-term parking demand for commuters, and short-term parking availability. Learn more.
- In 2018, we engaged members on transportation issues and developed a Mobility Advocacy Plan for the district. Read about it here.
- We are advocating for more bike parking in Strathcona. Need bike parking? Let us know here.
Community Safety & Sanitation
On top of our community safety and sanitation member programs, we’re regularly advocating for additional City resources to address community safety and sanitation concerns. Sometimes these issues are a result of larger systemic challenges facing our district, such as homelessness and the opioid crisis.
- We advocate for more lane flushing in district alleyways
- We advocate for additional street cleaning resources to ensure storefronts and sidewalks are clean and inviting
- We advocate for our park and green spaces so that the community can enjoy them
- We call on support from the City for more access to clean water and public washrooms
- We add our voice to call on all levels of government to prioritize housing for vulnerable community members
Learn more about our community safety and sanitation advocacy work here:
Through the public health crisis, the SBIA has joined efforts with all 22 BIAs across Vancouver to advocate for relief measures to support small businesses impacted in our communities.
- We advocated for an extension on property tax deferrals, and property tax relief measures for small businesses
- We fought for fast-tracking of permits, licensing and tenants improvements, including the Temporary Expedited Patio Permit Program
- Took part in the city-wide #OpenWithCare marketing campaign, to safely welcome customers back to our business districts
Walking through the streets of Strathcona, you can feel the buzz of a community where history, industry, and culture collide. Part of our job is to enhance, activate, and animate the places of Strathcona in ways that help strengthen the connections between people and businesses who share space here. We call this placemaking. We encourage you to come as you are, and you will find a place here, whoever you are.
We’ve recently launched a new placebrand for our commercial district and are bringing it to life in the streets, on this website, and beyond. The brand showcases the diversity of our district, and highlights our opportunity to come together to make Strathcona stronger. It reflects our collective belief that everyone is welcome in Strathcona, especially those who aren’t afraid to go against the norm.
Follow along on our social media channels to see more on how we #DoDifferent in Strathcona.
As part of our work to celebrate the flourishing creative community that Strathcona is, we have a 5-year mural strategy to increase the number of street murals in the district. The SBIA works with Vancouver Mural Festival to bring new murals to the district each year, and encourages our district property owners to explore and embrace opportunities to showcase public art.
If you are interested in a mural on your building, get in touch with the SBIA at 604-258-2727.
Hastings Urban Tree Planters
The Hastings Urban Tree Planters are an urban greening initiative that responds to the lack of trees along some of the streets in Strathcona. The tree planters bring life to our streetscapes by adding pops of life, greenery and colour. The cement planters are painted with murals by local emerging artists and the trees are stewarded by local businesses and Mission Possible Maintenance.
In November 2019, nine leading Railtown restaurants and cafes came together to showcase the heart of a growing culinary scene and to help support a community-serving organization. Participating restaurants offered an exclusive feature dish for the month, with proceeds of the sale of each dish going toward programming at The Powell Street Getaway. We launched Dine Railtown with a one-of-a kind media event that included multi-stop restaurants tours. We earned 36 pieces of media coverage and widespread sharing on social media for the event. We raised almost $3000 for the Powell Street Getaway through this placemaking initiative.
Bizmap is a tool that shares place-based data at the neighbourhood level. Visit Bizmap to find relevant market data for business districts across Vancouver. The data — including demographics, business types, building information, and area activities — gives users highly specific information to help with their decision making, from finding the ideal business location to expanding their customer base, or finding other businesses to collaborate with.
We don’t do our work in a silo. We develop and maintain strong working relationships with other organizations and groups in the community who are doing amazing things. Where values and goals align, working together in partnerships helps us build an inclusive, resilient and prosperous local economy and a community where our business members can thrive.
Strathcona Community Policing Center
The Strathcona Community Policing Centre (SCPC) provides crime prevention and safety programs plus a wide range of services to the residents, businesses, and agencies throughout the Strathcona catchment area.
The SCPC has a strong working relationship with our SBIA Community Safety Program. They help follow up on SBIA member issues and concerns related to crime and safety. They also provide volunteer foot and bike patrols in the business district of Strathcona, and plan and promote several community clean-up days in the district. One of these community clean-up days is in September, and celebrates past SBIA Board member and community advocate Wayne Nelsen.
This project is a collective initiative between the SBIA, Dunefield, and Youth Collaborative for Chinatown, with co-funding provided by the City of Vancouver. Its mission is to partner with Chinese Society Buildings and other non-profits in Strathcona and Chinatown to secure and repurpose commercial space for affordable, culturally significant retail and businesses that support the community.
The project team supports non-profit building owners with their property management challenges, and assists them with finding reliable tenants such as community-serving restaurants, eateries, retail and production businesses. The team can help design building improvements for retail spaces and access matching funds for capital grants.
Crap Trapper Partnership
Up until recently, no service has existed for human and animal waste pick-up and removal. That’s where Mark and Elwood’s new social enterprise The Crap Trapper comes in. They saw a need in the community, and in partnership with the Strathcona BIA, they’ve stepped up to provide this valuable bio-waste pick-up service. We’re proud to partner with social enterprises that provide impactful and inclusive job opportunities for local community members.
Several days a week, The Crap Trapper team members, Mark and Elwood, will be biking and scootering around the community, inspecting the hardest hit alleys and streets in the district. They’ll be picking up human and animal waste, sanitizing and deodorizing affected areas, and tracking all of the data. They’ll also make sure all waste materials are properly disposed of.
SBIA members can now request one-off pick-ups and clean-ups of human and animal waste, seven days a week, 8am-4pm. To request a pick-up, call the SBIA patrol team at 604-789-4143. The Crap Trapper team will provide the pick-up service within 48 hours.
Powell St. Getaway Activation
The space in front of the Powell Street Getaway at 528 Powell St. is a valuable neighbourhood placemaking and partnership opportunity. The vision is that through a community-led process, in partnership with The Powell Street Getaway and the City of Vancouver, we can help create a welcoming outdoor space with seating, greenery, and art that provides a dignified and relaxing place where clients of the Powell St. Getaway and other members of the community can spend time and engage meaningfully with one another. This activation will add beauty and greenery to our neighbourhood streetscape. Due to COVID-19 the project has been postponed to Spring 2021.
Fostering a sustainable and flourishing cultural community is important to us. Through our sponsorships, we provide funding to support events that encourage and facilitate entertainment, environmental, and cultural activities within the Strathcona neighbourhood and that help strengthen our business district.
Applications are accepted year-round on a first come, first serve basis and correspond with the SBIA fiscal year from April 1 – March 31.
Apply For A Sponsorship
To apply for a sponsorship, fill out our sponsorship request form here:
We are long-time sponsors of the Powell Street Festival and the Eastside Culture Crawl. In the past we’ve also sponsored the Strathcona Street Party by Vancouver Mural Festival, MonsterCat Compound by MonsterCat in Railtown, and nəćamat Urban Indigenous Women’s Village of Wellness, a community wellness event for Indigenous women in Strathcona.
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