What do you know about the West End BIZ?
Personally I didn’t know much, so I thought other people might not either. I began to investigate and found out from its website at westendbiz.ca that…
"The West End Business Improvement Zone is a non-profit organization committed to building a stronger West End community by supporting the businesses and organizations within the confines of our geographic boundaries. There are currently more than 1,000 businesses located within the 200 city blocks that comprise the BIZ area."
It is run by a board of management that includes 12 members from local businesses and the city councillor for the area. Except for the councillor, the board members are elected for two-year terms at an annual general meeting each January. They are voluntary positions.
Business owners can become members. However, if they do, there is a zone levy that each business (excluding non-profit) is required to pay and the average rate is $225 per year. The funds generated are used to run the organization. Members can also apply for various grants that are available to them.
The BIZ offers a variety of programs such as BIZ patrol, graffiti removal, street beautification and maintenance.
Murals have been created on various buildings in the West End. Mural tours are offered for a small fee five days a week, Monday to Friday.
The BIZ patrol acts as additional "eyes and ears" for the police. They check on the area for safety and remove posters and litter. They can be reached at 204-295-7850 for assistance. The patrols do get paid and people can apply for positions on the website.
A restaurant guide can be found on the website as well as a newsletter that is published a couple of times a year. There’s also a safety guide that offers information on fraud, theft, robbery and BIZ safety initiatives to help businesses minimize crime.
The boundaries for the BIZ are from Strathcona Street to Notre Dame Avenue at Hargrave Street to Ellice Avenue to Portage Avenue at Spence Street. (There’s a boundary map on their website.)
The West End BIZ office is located at 581 Portage Ave. If you’re interested in becoming a member or want to find out more, phone 204-954-7900 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Arny Hjaltadottir is a community correspondent for the West End.