Council approves new initiatives for commercial districts

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 – for immediate release

Council approves new initiatives for commercial districts

Town to work with Downtown, Kerr and Bronte BIAs to improve economic conditions

At the July 21, 2014 meeting, Council approved a number of new initiatives to be introduced into the Downtown, Kerr Village and Bronte Village Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) that will help address parking concerns and boost the vitality of these important commercial districts.

“We’re introducing immediate and long-term initiatives aimed at maximizing the number of residents, visitors, and shoppers who frequent these great areas in Oakville,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “As a Council we’re always looking at ways to enhance the economic vitality, accessibility and appeal of our downtown, Kerr and Bronte districts.”

Council approved six immediate actions to be implemented.

For all three BIAs —

  1. Reduced fees for a patio pilot program allowing tables and chairs on the boulevards
  2. Reduced fees for an outdoor display pilot program where merchants can bring their merchandise onto the boulevard
  3. Creating an ambassador program to help answer questions, provide information and conduct short surveys of shoppers/visitors
  4. Introducing bike parking corrals at selected parking spaces as a pilot program for two years starting January 1, 2015

For the Downtown and Kerr Village BIAs —

  1. Parking signage improvements to increase visitor awareness of the parking options available to them
  2. Parking changes introducing selected short-stay (20 minute) parking spaces; re-establishing parking lines in parking spots in downtown and implementing the commercial parking study recommendations which include:
  3. increasing the two hour on-street parking duration to three hours in downtown, and increasing the associated hourly rate to $2 per hour
  4. replacing the current pay display machines in the municipal lots with new units that will accept credit card payment
  5. introducing “pay by license plate” technology at the municipal lots this autumn, and along on-street parking spaces in the spring 2015

In addition, five revitalization initiatives were also approved:

  1. Developing a retail strategy for the downtown and Kerr Village BIAs similar to the strategy that was developed for the Bronte BIA
  2. Evaluating the type of Community Improvement Program for all three BIAs based on the conclusions of the retail strategy
  3. Reviewing communication and coordination between the town and the three BIAs
  4. Assessing the feasibility of constructing a second parking garage in downtown Oakville for Council’s consideration in early 2015
  5. Selecting a preferred option for the reconstruction and streetscape improvements for Lakeshore Road East for Council’s consideration in early 2015

“We’ll continue to work with the BIA executives and members as well as the community to make the shopping and visitor experience to Oakville the best it can be,” said Jane Clohecy, commissioner of Community Development for the town.

Funding for the ambassador program ($15,000) and various Kerr Village initiatives ($30,000) will be funded from the 2014 operation budget, while the parking garage feasibility study ($100,000) will be funded from the current parking reserve fund from the town’s capital budget. The Downtown Retail Strategy funding ($40,000) is included in the current Downtown Plan/Cultural Hub Study capital project.

Council also directed staff to report back on the appropriate patio fees for 2015-2016.

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Council approves new initiatives for commercial districts