Muskoka To-DAILY

Gravenhurst business owners overwhelmingly reject BIA bid to expand borders

GRAVENHURST — A planned expansion by the Gravenhurst Uptown BIA has been overwhelmingly rejected by fellow business owners around the core after a survey.

The poll results have been tallied and as a result town council will not be considering a by-law to expand the existing Business Improvement Area, says a town news release Thursday.

The request for stakeholder consideration concluded June 23.

And there was strong opposition to the proposal, by other business owners who believe the BIA should confine its activities to its existing borders on the main street from the National Bank at the South end to Stedmans and the inside block businesses bounded by John Streetand First Street.

The BIA felt it needed more members to market itself better.

Opponents believed the BIA could best serve itself by working to increase its marketing efforts alone without extending them up to Winewood Avenue, over to Bethune, down to the Howard Johnson and on the west side to Mary Street.

At the councils’ committee of the whole meeting March 18, council directed staff to commence the process of engaging current members as well as the proposed members to determine whether there was an interest from the business community for such an expansion.

“Notice was sent on April 23, 2014 in accordance with the process identified in the Municipal Act,” advised Candace Thwaites, director of legislative services/clerk.

A total of seventy-six (76) ballots were returned, of the one hundred and fifty-one (151) businesses/property owners eligible to submit a ballot, with just over a 50% turnout.

Of the 76 ballots returned, 91% indicated that they did not wish to see the business area expanded. Staff will present a full information report to council on July 17.

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