Teri James, executive director of the Downtown Langley Business Association. (Langley Advance files)

UPDATED: Langley’s downtown business entity given 10-year extension

Langley City’s businesses can strategize future after new BIA bylaw was approved, president says.

Downtown Langley Business Association will be around for another 11 years, at least.

A recent vote by Langley City council secured not only the existence of the local business improvement area (BIA) until the end of 2029, but also its funding.

As part of a municipal bylaw, and as mandated by the province, all BIAs are required to renew their terms every specified number of years, explained DLBA executive director Teri James.

“This can be different in other municipalities, and the Langley City BIA has a 10-year renewal term in place,” she elaborated, acknowledging its going to a little more costly to be part of the BIA, too.

“The previous 10-year bylaw saw an increase of five-per-cent per year, and this new renewal, commencing Jan. 1, 2020 was approved at an increase of seven-per-cent per year,” she said.

“It is typical for a BIA to be underfunded, and we are so fortunate to have the support of mayor and council – who unanimously approved the bylaw – and the businesses and property owners so that with adequate funding, we are able to keep providing exceptional events and programs that benefit the entire business community and keep people coming to and supporting this very unique business area,” she said.

The DLBA’s main mandate is to bring people to the business community through a variety of methods, including hosting seven community events (such as the McBurney Plaza Summer Series, Arts Alive, and the Fork and Finger food event), hosting social media contests, organizing promotions such as the Win Your Wish List Christmas Contest, and various other ideas – such as the recent Start It Up Langley contest, which will see one lucky entrepreneur win over $130,000 in sponsorships and prizes to help them get their dream business up and running in downtown Langley.

In addition, the BIA has programs such as Get Fresh, which matches dollar-for-dollar for facade improvements such as awnings, exterior painting, windows, doors, and lighting.

There’s also a clean awning program that offers every business in the BIA the opportunity to have their awnings and signage cleaned annually for half price (with the BIA paying the other half).

The downtown dollar initiative is like cash at any of the 85-plus businesses registered in the program with the businesses being reimbursed 100 per cent.

And another large part of the BIA’s mandate is to sit on a variety of community committees in order to stay informed, and to develop community partnerships such as their clean streets program – involving a partnership with Langley Association for Community Living, she said.

Carole Ward is hailing the decade-long extension as a win. She’s the board chair and branch manager of Westminster Savings Credit Union.

“A successful renewal for an additional 10 years means that we can start to strategize for the future,” Ward said.

“Long-term planning is what makes this BIA so successful, and we are very fortunate that our board of directors and staff are visionaries who are dedicated to making this BIA a stand-out in the area and in the province as well.”

Pointing at the success of the Start It Up Langley contest, as an example, James said the success of that could likely see it return again in 2020.

Programs and ideas like that in Langley City that have never been done in any other BIA in the province, James said.

“Essentially if we can dream it, we can do it.”

The DLBA represents more than 600 shops, services, and restaurants in the City core.

“We ensure that the business community we represent has a say at the table when it comes to redevelopment, revitalization, and anything that would impact or be a factor in being able to conduct their day to day business,” James insisted.

The BIA also oversees management of the Discover Langley City tourism entity, which was formed late last yaer – after Langley City pulled out of its involvement with Tourism Langley.

The DLBA was awarded the contract for Langley City’s tourism entity, making it the only BIA in the province to run the community’s Destination Marketing Organization (DMO).

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