Plans in process for downtown

Plans are moving ahead to create a Terrace Downtown Improvement area.

Plans are moving ahead to create a Terrace Downtown Improvement area.

City council went through the first, second, and third reading of a proposed bylaw May 24 that would form an improvement area in the downtown core.

Under this bylaw, businesses in the specified downtown area pay a levy and the money goes towards revitalizing the area.

Sidewalkers owner Lori Merrill is a member of the committee that has been working on creating the downtown improvement area (DIA) these past few years, and said the initial money will be used for priorities the community identified in a questionnaire.

From the community feedback, beautification of the downtown core was one of the priorities.

“The really other important piece we want to do, that will tie the shopowners together, is cooperative marketing,” Merrill said, explaining that a modern urban shopping guide will help put Terrace on the map as a shopping destination. It’s working with the Terrace Economic Development Authority and Kermode Tourism on a ‘shop local’ campaign.

The third initiative the group is focusing on is creating and enhancing a festival environment in the downtown core.

“Those were the focuses that were identified by the community and the committee that has been working together for over the years,” Merrill said.

She also pointed out that the idea of the improvement area is in line with the city’s official community plan.

The DIA committee has said that the estimated levy for property owners probably wouldn’t be more than $100 a year per $100,000 of assessed property, but there are no concrete numbers until the vote is cast.

“It’s a little bit of money, but hopefully when it’s all put together we can make it work for the downtown,” Merrill said.

There’s now a 30-day petition process, and every affected property owner has an opportunity to vote for or against the initiative. Council will have the final say if the bylaw is approved by 50 per cent of the property owners with a total of 50 per cent of assessed value.

“I hope that the downtown community embraces it and we can move forward,” Merrill said.