Business Improvement Areas

What is a Business Improvement Area?

A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is an association of businesses and commercial property owners within a specified commercial area who join together to promote the economic development of the district through various marketing, beautification, safety and advocacy initiatives. 

The Community Charter provides the authority for a municipality to create a business improvement area by bylaw, and establishes the rules for the establishment and operation of such an area.

BIAs are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, comprised of area business tenants and commercial property owners, and are funded mostly through a member-based property tax levy. The levy is collected from Business (Class 6) and Light Industry (Class 5) properties within the area. 

For property owners and businesses, a business improvement area is a way to improve business success by organizing and financing support programs not otherwise available. These programs and services include:

  1. Marketing
  2. Promotional Events
  3.  Revitalization
  4. Advocacy on behalf of the business community

More information regarding the establishment of a Business Improvement Area can be found on the Province's website.



For over 20 years the Old City Quarter BIA (OCQA) has supported businesses and property owners by providing organized events, marketing, and advocacy on common issues to their members. 

Past services and program include:

  1. Community Connect: to provide security and resources to businesses
  2. Improved signage
  3. Events: Easter, Sounds of Summer, Halloween and Christmas

OCQA Boundary


Old City Quarter Business Improvement Area Bylaw 2022, No. 7339

More Information


P: (250) 754-8787         E:



The Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Area (DNBA) was re-established in 2021 by a joint process between the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, downtown merchants and City Council.

The DNBA supports its members through programs and projects in the areas of advocacy, public safety, beautification, marketing and events. 

DNBA Boundary


Downtown Nanaimo Business Association Business Improvement Area Bylaw 2021, No. 7317

More Information


    Last updated: August 16, 2023

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