Contact the Vancouver Chinatown BIA Society about any questions you may have about Chinatown. We are here to serve the business community and help visitors navigate the numerous attractions and feats they can see.
In the 1990s, the Chinatown business community, through the Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association, began to search for an effective vehicle to fund and implement projects to revitalize the area. Other areas, such as Gastown and Downtown Vancouver had formed Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) to revitalize, with visible success. With the consent and support of the merchants and the property owners in the area, Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association planned to establish the BIA in the area.
After several attempts in the 1990s, the VCMA succeeded in obtaining the business and property-owner support required to establish a Chinatown BIA. The VCBIA was incorporated in 2000. The BIA in Chinatown is modeled after successful BIAs in other areas in the City of Vancouver and mandated to benefit Chinatown's prosperity. With the focus on improving Chinatown's safety and cleanliness, expanding and strengthening its promotions and events, and working with the media and external partners to improve Chinatown's public realm, public perception and relations.
A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a non-profit association of commercial property owners and business tenants who join together to promote and improve the economic vitality of their business district. The City assists by helping the merchants and landlords to form BIAs. Once a BIA is formed, it is managed by a volunteer board comprised of property owners and tenants. BIA funds are used to hire staff and implement BIA activities. The City has a continuing role assisting with contacts between the BIA and City departments, facilitating the annual funding process, and monitoring BIA budgets. BIAs obtain funding through a special property tax, much like a Local Improvement Levy. Each property owner's share of the annual BIA budget is proportionate to their share of the total taxable value within the BIA boundaries.