Commercial Street and other areas of Nanaimo’s downtown are now part of a new business improvement area following a petition-against process this spring. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: BIA process wasn’t fair to small business

Mom-and-pop shops will be challenged to pay the levy during hard times, says letter writer

To the editor,

Re: City creates downtown business improvement area, April 28.

It was not voting in favour of a new business improvement area, it was voting against it. And I read close to a whopping 25 per cent of downtown commercial property owners managed to take time out of their already struggling days and return a ballot saying they they did not want it – nor the extra tax they will now be charged.

It is no surprise the reverse billing-type vote was chosen to create the BIA, as that’s what proponents and city hall wanted – an easy green light. The petition-against vote as it’s called never fails, as I’ve learned. Even though close to a quarter of the property owners said no, it then comes into play they only represent about 10 per cent of the area’s assessed value. What does it mean? The big corporate property owners rule the roost but won’t have to pay their fair share of the tax levy. They proportionately pay a smaller cost and simply pass the bill onto their tenants.

So it’s the mom-and-pop stores who have to scour every nook and cranny just to pay the base rate in these trying times, and like the other times little was accomplished downtown. This has all been a sickening, dastardly and very conniving way to ram through yet another tax and stiff the already hard-hit little guy.

Sue Marsden, Nanaimo

READ ALSO: Nanaimo Chamber working to create new downtown business association

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