Thank you to all speakers and delegates for an exceptional 2017 conference.
2017 Best In The West Award Winners
At the 2017 Conference in Nanaimo the following Best In The West Awards were distributed. Where entries exceeded the criteria and shone as examples of strategic excellence in their respective categories, Awards of Excellence were presented, Where entries met the criteria, Awards of Merit were given. The work plans for each winner is available as a resource for all members. Start planning for your entry for the 2018 Best In The West Awards!
Mount Pleasant BIA – Community Art Plan
The Mount Pleasant BIA recognizes the inherent value public art and cultural programming can bring to their local economy and understands that the future success of the neighbourhood will come, in part, as a direct result of investment in these areas. Their ability to sustain and grow small businesses in Vancouver will come when the BIA has engaged neighbours that know the history of their home and see themselves connected to its future success. The Mount Pleasant Community Art Plan has been developed as a starting point for a blueprint that will assist local organizations and individuals to share their ideas, express their creativity, and get involvement in building community that meets the needs of all its residents.
Judges Notes: Significant community consultation and engagement process and aligning community partners and Mount Pleasant BIA's assets towards the desired outcomes.
West Broadway BIA – Stars on Broadway Longtime Merchants Campaign
It began with an idea to celebrate longtime merchants as the "Stars on Broadway". Together with local artists, the BIA was able to bring the idea to life! Photos of longtime merchants were used to create over 70 caricature illustrations. The merchant banners and vibrant BIA brand colours animate the street, creating an outdoor gallery of merchant history on West Broadway.
Judges Notes: Great engagement process with longtime members and very interactive. Everyone will want to be a "Star on Broadway".
Downtown Leadership and Management
Downtown Maple Ridge BIA – One Stop Shop for Business Licenses and Permits
In response to needs identified by the buiness community, DMRBIA advocated with the City of Maple Rdige to create a "One-Stop-Shop" for Business Licensing and Permits. A "Customer Service Coordinator, Licenses and Permits" position was created. The Coordinator's role is to liaise between businesses and an assortment of city departments to make the permit and license process clear and simple for entrepreneurs.
Judges Notes: The entry highlights the power of a BIA to advocate on behalf of members, provide value for small business and work in partnership with civic organizations for the greater good. With their initiative to create a one stop shop at City Hall to streamline licensing and permitting, the Downtown Maple Ridge BIA truly lives up to their slogan - "Open for Business".
Economic and Business Development
International Avenue BRZ – The Heart of the New East
The International Avenue BRZ undertook an ambitious project that sought to develop a "made-in-East-Calgary-approach" to community economic development. The project had two parts. Phase one explored and researched the market around International Avenue, which is 17th Avenue SE from 26 to 61 Streets within the communities of Greater Forest Lawn. Part two involved a pop-up retail shipping container concept and a semi-monthly weekend market to incubate entrepreneurs, artists and craftspeople. The project provided significant and powerful information, which has already informed decision-making within the BRZ. Many new entrepreneurs tested the waters with some launching businesses within the area. The project has just recently received word of successful funding to continue the economic development project for many years to come. Over three months nine new businesses have opened within the BRZ.
Judges Notes: Good retail needs assessment. Using rotating pop-up shops to sustain interest and expose a wider range of retail options to audience. Great concept with losts of opportunity for growth and change. Even with barriers along the way, secured funding to carry on. Took what some people would consider barriers and showed that opportunities are available when people cooperate!
Yaletown BIA – Bring Back the Bricks
Bring Back the Bricks is an example of seemingly singular improvements coming together to create a positive sense of place and to celebrate a neighbourhood's cultural significance in the long term. The collaboration between Yaletown BIA, City of Vancouver, Canadian Pacific Railway, the community of businesses, residents, artists and Heritage Society brought expertise, energy and expansion to the project, which is especially important to districts with limited resources. The marketing brand reflects the public realm and vice versa.
Judges Notes: The entry exhibits the valuable collaboration between the BIA and other groups (including civic groups, members, residents and artists) to develop initiatives that are both historical and timely.
Downtown Langley BA – Think you know Langley?
Using a mix of video, social media, web, contests and email communication, the Downtown Langley Business Association encouraged visitors to take a second look at what they thought they know about Downtown Langley. Results were web and video traffic in the millions of views (and STILL counting), incredible online engagement, dozens of prize winners, and a significant increase in foot traffic during the 2016 spring and summer months.
Judges Notes: Well planned and executed marketing initiative with well identified measurables.
Programming and Partnerships
Downtown Vancouver BIA – More Awesome Now, Laneway Project
DVBIA's 2015 Re-imagine Downtown Vancouver visioning report emphasized greater use of public spaces - specifically laneways. As a laneway transformation had never been attempted in Vancouver, the DVBIA needed to partner with many stakeholders to sell the concept, pioneer a new process, and fund and pilot the project. The transformed laneway has become an interactive space.
Judges Notes: In addition to implementing an innovative program that provides opportunities to public space and connections, the Downtown Vancouver BIA helped to develop a more streamlined process for public art projects.
Downtown New Westminster BIA
The Lila Summer Series, presented by Lulu Lemon and Downtown New West BIA, produced free yoga classes on the waterfront throughout July and August 2016. More than 1,000 people participated in the series. Nine member businesses were given free space to promote themselves and engage participants face to face. The overall exposure, both in attendance and online, contributed to increasing the profile and brand of Downtown New West, as well as to increasing business to its members.
Judges Notes: Great initiative to bring a summer activation and positive awareness to New Westminster on an extremely limited budget through harnessing community partnerships and the reach of social media.
Kamloops Central BIA – Festival of Experiences
The Festival of Experiences is all about public space programming and citizen engagement. Downtown Kamloops BIA is a big supporter of organic ownership of public space. The goal is to capitalize on Downtown Kamloops' assets, creativity and potential in order to create and utilize spaces to promote health and well-being in the community, ensure people enjoy a good experience Downtown and build loyalty for the neighbourhood. The BIA doesn't just tell people how great Downtown Kamloops in - they show them. They encourage people to make Downtown their own: Explore - Experience - Enjoy!
Judges Notes: Love the fact that you took an overall look at what you were doing and how you could change things around and have a great impact all year round. The community partnerships you have demonstrated are fantastic. Excellent analysis and understanding of the audience. Great to see the programming leveraged through businesses contributing to the active public space. Good tracking of results.
Hastings Crossing BIA – Experience Hastings Crossing
Experience Hastings Crossing was an inaugural, proof-of-concept event that aimed to establish new partnerships between local businesses and Downtown Eastside (DTES) social enterprises and non-profits, and celebrate existing partnerships. The event took place from February 10 - 19, 2017, and sought to raise funds for these partner DTES organizations while raising the awareness and profile of these unique partnerships. Partnerships during the event were varied and reflected both the diversity of our businesses and the innovative work being done by the non-profit organizations in our area. They included selling social enterprise honey and candels in a doughnut shop and sharing how the honey is used as an ingredient in the doughnuts, donating a portion of the sale of every burger sold at a local pub to a social enterprise, matching gift card purchases at an art supply store with a donation to a local arts program working with at-risk women, and many others!
Judges Notes: Creativity and strategic thoughtfulness in designing a special event which reflects the character of the commercial district.