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Guelph Mercury-Tribune Article " Downtown Guelph Business Association looks to grow for the first time in 45 years"

Date Posted: Thursday, June 22, 2017

Downtown Guelph Business Association looks to grow for the first time in 45 years

Border expansion would be the first since group's creation in 1972

NEWS Jun 16, 2017 by Graeme McNaughton   Guelph Mercury


dgba growth

For the first time since it was created in 1972, the Downtown Guelph Business Association has put forward a proposal to expand its borders. - Lori Christmas/Guelph Tribune

For the first time in more than 40 years, the Downtown Guelph Business Association (DGBA) is looking to expand its borders.

According to a proposal that will be before city councillors at the next meeting of city council on June 26, the DGBA is looking to grow for the first time since it was created in 1972, with the proposed borders better reflecting the downtown of 2017.

“For 45 years, our definition of downtown Guelph has been the same, but everybody else’s definition of downtown Guelph has expanded,” says Marty Williams, the executive director of the DGBA.

“What we’re trying to do is eventually get to the same borders as what the city considers to be downtown Guelph and the urban growth centre … so that we can represent the entire area and not have things happen that would directly impact without thinking about it holistically.”

Another reason to expand, Williams says, is to get those businesses that otherwise wouldn’t have qualified for the DGBA when it was first created.

“I can only imagine the area was defined as it was is because they were looking at where the retail and restaurants, where the most commercial and office concentrations were,” he says, adding some buildings originally labelled as industrial would not have qualified at the time, but have since changed designations.

“Places that used to be factories and arenas and such are now stores and clothing stores and grocery stores and doctors’ and lawyers’ offices, chiropractor offices, and retail establishments. It’s like the commercial zone has grown beyond the boundary we had 45 years ago."

Williams says he and the DGBA have reached out to those businesses that would be affected by the border expansion, and things are looking good.

“People are generally in favour. Many of them had contacted us over the years wanting to be a part of our programs, wanted to be on our listings, [and] have that kind of social media presence that we can amplify for them,” he says.

“We had heard from people in the new expansion zone and we’ve met with some. We’ll meet with a lot more and [will be] having lots of open, public conversations.”

Due to regulations under the Municipal Act, should council approve the expansion, notice of the proposed bylaw must be mailed to every taxable property within the business property tax class in the current DGBA and the proposed expansion area.

Within 30 days, those who receive the notice must give a copy to each of the property’s tenants responsible for paying all or part of the property tax, as well as provide the city clerk with list of those tenants.

Tina Agnello, the city’s deputy clerk, says those tenants have 60 days to submit any objections to the proposed expansion. If one-third of the total number of tenants, also making up at least a third of the total property taxes, rejects the proposal, then the proposed expansion cannot be passed.

If the rejections amount to one-third of tenants but not one-third of the property tax paid, then the matter will be back before council for debate.

If there are fewer objections, then the bylaw to extend the boundary will come before council on Oct. 10.

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