Business Improvement Area

What is a Business Improvement Area?

A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a mechanism provided for in the Community Charter and is intended as a way for businesses within a defined area to use the property taxation authority of the municipality to raise funds that are directed to the society and used for a range of described purposes. These purposes are intended for the general betterment of businesses in the BIA, e.g. area branding; marketing; promotional events; and advocacy on behalf of the business community. There are currently over 70 BIAs in the Province of BC.

A BIA is established by municipal bylaw and is primarily funded through a special tax levy on all commercial Class 6 properties (Business Other classification under the BC Assessment Act) within the defined boundaries of the BIA. This is a self-funding model, in that 100% of the levy collected by the local government is granted to the BIA to fund its programs.

What is the Downtown Duncan Business Improvement Area Society?

The downtown Duncan Business Improvement area is managed by a non-profit society of business property owners, the Downtown Duncan Business Improvement Area Society (DDBIA), which establishes its priorities, programs, and budgets. The first two BIAs – called “Core Area” and “Fringe Area” – were established in 1998, and most recently Council adopted BIA Bylaw No. 3230, 2022 to renew and expand the BIA for five years from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2027. The DDBIA manages the BIA, with the goal to improve and promote the downtown Duncan area by working together with its members and committees (events, marketing, and downtown development) to develop programs and projects which will increase the vibrancy and sense of community in downtown Duncan. To  find out more about the DDBIA, visit The renewed and expanded BIA area are the commercial properties that are within the areas indicated on the map below:

What is a BIA Levy?

The BIA levy is calculated based on each owner’s share of the total assessed value of properties in the area. The amount for each owner varies because of the difference in assessed values. Over the next five years, it is possible that each property’s share of the DDBIA budget may change. Each property’s share is reapportioned annually according to the assessed value determined by the BC Assessment Authority.

Every five years the DDBIA determines the amount of money required to operate over the next five years. The levies collected each year in accordance with the bylaw are:

Fees Collected
Year 1 – 2023 $267,750
Year 2 – 2024 $281,940
Year 3 – 2025 $296,882
Year 4 – 2026 $312,616
Year 5 – 2027 $329,184

This amount is then divided by the total assessed value of all Class 6 taxable properties (residential properties are excluded) in the area to determine the Area Levy Rate. Once the Area Levy Rate for each area has been calculated, the collected Annual Levy Payable from each individual property is determined based on that property’s assessed value.

What is the City’s Role?

Before establishing the BIA, the City carried out a petition process to solicit support and/or objection to the proposed bylaw. This process communicated directly with area property owners through direct mail and community advertising seek to inform them of the details of the BIA proposal and provide an opportunity for them to express their position. In order for a local area service petition to be certified as sufficient and valid using the Council Initiative-Subject to Petition Against approach, a minimum of 50% of the parcel owners representing a minimum of 50% of the assessed value of land and improvements in the defined area must register their opposition within the 30 day notice period. Every five years this process is repeated if the DDBIA requests a renewal.

The most recent petition process took place from October 28, 2022- November 28, 2022. The number of petitions against the renewal received by the City was substantially less than 50% of parcel owners representing 50% of the assessed value of the land for both areas; therefore, City Council proceeded with adopting BIA Bylaw No. 3230, 2022 to enable the City to collect the approved amount of funding through the annual property tax process. The City collects the BIA levy as part of annual property taxes, then forwards the money to the DDBIA to administer.