In October of 2016 the board of directors met in a strategic planning workshop for our Business Improvement Area (BIA).
Three key objectives were:
- Build consensus around a vision of “success” and a plan for action to focus business association activities
- Engage in robust and meaningful discussion
- Support an increased sense of team.
In addition, in depth conversations were held with the need to define the direction that the Alberta Avenue Business association is headed over the next three years, as well as asking choices around goals, desired outcomes, strategies and tactics.
A more defined action plan will be discussed by the new board of directors in the new year.
Alberta Avenue Hospitality Businesses Promotion
For Business Owners operating "Food & Drink" Establishments
Alberta Avenue (From NAIT to Northlands along 118th Ave)
As we all know, Alberta is currently going through some challenging economic times and hopefully we’ll see a tangible turnaround by year end. In the current economic climate many Albertans are finding themselves with less disposable income, resulting in them having to cut back on certain purchases including shopping at stores and dining out.
Our Board members realize this as well, as they too are operating businesses on Alberta Avenue. At the January board meeting it was decided to come up with a promotional event in support of our restaurants, bakeries, small eateries and pubs on Alberta Avenue.
Ultimately, for this to be successful, we are in need of ideas. Further in this regard, a letter was sent out to all ‘hospitality’ business owners on Alberta Avenue asking them to share one or two ideas with us that they feel would make this planned promotion successful and hopefully beneficial to their business in the end.
In addition a special ’Focus Group’ will be formed to come up with an action plan.
The intent is to have this promotion initiated in the Spring/Summer of this year.
Alberta Avenue District Council
Our business association hold a key stakeholder position on this council. This new council replaces the former Avenue Initiative Steering Committee.
Purpose of the Council
- An opportunity for area leadership to share, collaborate and support one another
- Work together on local issues and problems
- a united voice to all levels of government
- Community Safety
- Community and economic vibrancy
- Alberta Avenue Business Association
- Alberta Avenue Community League
- Arts On the Avenue
- Delton Community League
- Eastwood Community League
- Parkdale Cromdale Community League
- Rat Creek Press
- Spruce Avenue Community League
- 9 Meetings per year
- 4th Monday of the month January - June (no meeting in Dec).
Our business association hold a position on this committee which meets monthly. Key avenue stakeholders discuss pending or approved development permits (Residential and Commercial) in progress @ the time.
If an application appears on the list that the committee feels would result in an untoward impact on the avenue and community, it is discussed at length and occasionally challenged.
BUSINESS IN SUPPORTING COMMUNITY PROGRAM
For the 5th year in the row, in 2017 we will be participating again in this program through Capital City Clean Up with 2 teams over a 16 week period picking up litter on Alberta Avenue. We will also be encouraging all f our businesses to keep the sidewalks in front of their businesses.
Safety and Security
During 2017 our business association will continue its very good working relationship with the members of EPS on Alberta Avenue. Over the last 8 years key stakeholders on Alberta Ave in concert with various authorities, have made great strides forward in areas of safety and security.
This was also strongly re-enforced at the Boards October 2016 Strategic Planning session.
Joachim Holtz, our Executive Director will continue to represent our business association at various committee meetings throughout 2017 including all relevant meetings requested by the City of Edmonton’s Sustainable and Economic Development Department and regular meetings of the Edmonton BIA Council, representing 13 business improvement areas in the City.
Alberta Ave Hospitality Businesses Promo
As we all know, Alberta is currently going through some tough economic times and hopefully we’ll see some tangible improvements in the new year. In the current economic climate many Albertans are struggling with less disposable income themselves resulting in them having to cut back on certain purchases including shopping at stores and eating out.
Restaurants are usually the first to feel the effect on their bottom line.
Eats on 118 a ‘sweet and savory’ success on Edmonton's Alberta Avenue
This past September the Alberta Avenue Business Association, in partnership with the City of Edmonton successfully launched their first food focused campaign for the hospitality businesses on 118th Avenue. There was an overwhelming response from the community with four sold out tours. 14 local businesses participated in the guided food tours with 34 patrons per tour and135 tickets sold.
Attendees of the tours were pleasantly surprised with the high value in the tours with an affordable ticket cost and the unique opportunity to explore and celebrate many different cultures in one evening.
There was an overwhelming amount of positive media surrounding the first Eats on 118 tours. Local media personalities like Lorraine Mansbridge, Liane Faulder, Graham Hicks and bloggers were hosted in the kitchens of talented restaurateurs for a first-hand look at the life and culinary delights of 118th.
Eats on 118 was successful in telling the story of the business owner on the Avenue and allowing attendees to tour and taste the many diverse flavors of Alberta Avenue. Stay tuned for more Eats on 118 initiatives Spring 2017!
City of Edmonton Store Front Façade Improvement Program
Grant Matching Program
Throughout the year, we will continue to actively promote this great matching grant program to all commercial property owners on Alberta Avenue to bring out fresh new store front facades. Covers up to 50% of renovation costs to a maximum of $30,000 per building. Corner buildings are eligible for up to $60,000
Since the program started in 2005, our business association has completed close to thirty projects to date with several more to get started in 2017. Over 1 million dollars in reimbursements have been paid out so far to participating property owners.
City of Edmonton Development Incentive Program
The idea for this type of fund was initially seeded by our business association in our annual report to Council Executive Committee in 2008. This program has been very successful.
Provides matching grants to property owners and developers to support developing, redeveloping, and converting property in business.
Vacant, Derelict and Unsightly Properties (VDU’s)
The issue of this topic has been dealt with in one way or another by numerous stakeholders over several years, including the City, the province, our business association, the community leagues, Arts on the Ave and Alberta avenue residents.
We have already met with the new person at the City in charge of ‘Vacant and Derelict’ buildings compliance, and a commercial realtor that we have called on numerous times when it comes to commercial real estate matters on the Avenue.
In our opinion the matter of VDU properties on Alberta Avenue has reached a point where much more serious action needs to be considered against the owners of these properties, many which have sat empty for several years. Our BIA is taking a leading, proactive approach to this problem in concert with other key stakeholders on the Ave.
In addition, the bad optics of these type of properties are also adversely affecting good going concern businesses next door to these properties.
A recommendation has already gone forward to our board for Alberta Avenue Business association to establish a board of Directors sub-committee that will meet to discuss the issue of these VDU properties and come up with an action plan.
Beautification & Cleanliness
Although our BIA will again place flower planters along Alberta avenue in 2017, ad be involved with the City’s 16 week community litter program via capital City Clean Up, our business owners need to take more responsibility for keeping things clean in front of and in the back of their business establishments. Although we have made some headway in talking to businesses on this, much more needs to be done.
The mural projects that the Arts on the Ave and Jonathan at Qi Creative are working on are an excellent beginning towards increasing the beatification of Alberta avenue.
We will meet with Capital City Clean soon to see if there is a way we can partner up with them in 2017 to establish a larger “stand alone cleanliness” project for our BIA and to ascertain what resources would be available to us from them.