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Great start for the BIA

Is it just me or did Bayview look a lot better this holiday season?

The strip at Christmas this year seemed more alive than in years past; a lot of the praise goes to the Bayview Leaside BIA whose rookie efforts have been nothing short of terrific.

Christmas carolers, beautiful festive planters lining both sides of Bayview, free hot chocolate and valet parking were just some of the little touches that put shoppers in a good mood while visiting their favourite retailers in December. While it’s too early to know whether these extras made a difference where it counts – at the cash register – if sales on the street aren’t better than last year’s numbers it won’t be from a lack of trying.

“The BIA is finally in business, and the LPOA was very glad to contribute funds from our SmartCentre North settlement to help make it a reality,” Carol Burtin Fripp, co-president of the Leaside Property Owners’ Association, commented on the BIA’s early success in an email to me prior to Christmas. “It’s nice to see the improvements they’ve made, and we wish them well.”

For those who aren’t aware the LPOA contributed $25,000 to the BIA, one of the many reasons I argued for its creation in 2014. It looks like money was well spent.

Sure there are still plenty of empty stores but Rome wasn’t built in a day. The board, in conjunction with their administrator, Cecilia Pye, have a plan that extends into 2016 and beyond that will continue to revive and rejuvenate Bayview by attracting more customers, especially those not accustomed to shopping on the street.

It is Leasiders and those in Davisville Village that sustain Bayview and it is those from farther afield that will help it thrive and grow.

To all those directly involved in the Bayview Leaside BIA including retailers and property owners, I would like to personally congratulate you on a very strong start; something that wouldn’t have been possible without first voting for its creation in late 2014.

Let’s all toast the Bayview Leaside BIA. You made the holidays a little nicer    and I think a little busier; and here’s to an even better 2016.