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An Inside Look at the Controversial Mount Pleasant BIA Expansion

Welcome to the Track & Food podcast. Host Jamie Mah is a writer, bartender and sommelier in beautiful Vancouver, BC. Join him as he takes a deep dive into everything food and culture happening in the city and around the globe.

Back in the fall, I received some good intel, via text, about a peculiar issue brewing up along Main Street, regarding the Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Association (BIA). The problem was a proposed expansion of where the BIA lines fell, with the Main and 19-29th Street areas considered a new addition. The text suggested a lot of pushback from business owners in this proposed expansion area who did not want a BIA.

Fast forward to moments after recording my last episode when guest, Shira Blustein (owner of The Acorn and The Arbor), pulled me aside to let me know that the BIA story was still on the table, and that a vote with the Mount Pleasant board members to decide the fate of the expansion would be happening on February 27th. If I wanted to cover this story, now was the time.

Vancouver has 22 Business Improvement Associations – nonprofits funded by their jurisdiction through tax dollars collected by the City. Their roles within their respective communities vary, with some being more prominent than others (for example, Gastown has a potent BIA). The Mount Pleasant BIA expansion is unique, as most business owners in this area are small operators with prolonged exposure to the area.

In this episode, we hear from Mount Pleasant BIA Executive Director, Neil Wyles, on why he’s pushed so hard for this expansion and what that process has entailed so far, as well as from those in opposition, including business owners Erin Boniferro (Collage Collage), Kildare Curtis (Eugene Choo), and the aforementioned Blustein. A small, dynamic interview with David Duprey – board member of the Mount Pleasant BIA and owner of The Narrow Group (Uncle Abe’s, The Narrow, Slim’s BBQ, Key Party) – has also been added.

There is 1 comment

  1. Jamie,

    Thanks for this. It was very illuminating. I look forward to having conversations with not only your guests, but any business owner that has something to discuss. I can appreciate their concerns about what BIA might do for them, and the neighbourhood…it is not a one size fits all program, and always depends very much on the needs, whether immediate, or long term of the area. Having owned businesses in two different BIAs, I can also appreciate that some BIAs are more active / proactive than others. Once the dust settle on this, I look forward to working with and for all of the businesses in this area to help deliver the one thing that everyone said…more business / more feet on the street. And we will do this in concert with what the businesses want and say that they need. While no BIA, or any other entity will wave a magic wand and dramatically increase traffic in one fell swoop, it is the small, steady incremental changes over time that always do the trick, highlighting the area, and things available in that area, bringing increased attention and prosperity to the area

    Warmest regards,

    Neil Wyles
    Mount Pleasant BIA

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