ByWard Market area could get new leadership and a new tax

ByWard Market area could get new leadership and a new tax
ByWard Market area could get new leadership and a new tax

اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الجمعة 26 مايو 2023 09:53 مساءً

A report from city staff suggests creating a new corporation to manage Ottawa's ByWard Market. (Joseph Tunney/CBC - image credit)

A report from city staff suggests creating a new corporation to manage Ottawa's ByWard Market. (Joseph Tunney/CBC - image credit)

Joseph Tunney/CBC

Joseph Tunney/CBC

The creation of an entity to manage Ottawa's ByWard Market and a possible area-specific tax are part of the latest strategy to revitalize one of the city's foremost tourist attractions, according to a city presentation leaked to Radio-Canada.

The City of Ottawa's planning, real estate and economic development department has come up with several recommendations they will present to the finance committee on June 6.

Those include dissolving the ByWard Market BIA and the existing arm's-length municipal corporation overseeing the area, Ottawa Markets, in favour of creating a new municipal corporation called the ByWard Market District Authority (BMDA).

The recommendations would require approval from committee members, then from city council at a later meeting.

Ottawa Markets took over the management of the ByWard and Parkdale markets in 2018. The corporation focused primarily on the promotion of local produce, goods and services that "meet the needs of local and city-wide residents and tourists alike," according to its website.

However, the latest recommendations from city staff would see the corporation's board members resign and a whole new governance structure approved under the leadership of three new board members.

Jacques Corriveau/CBC

Jacques Corriveau/CBC

Many of the details of the agreement between the BDMA and the city are still to be worked out by department general manager Don Herweyer, but the presentation said staff envision the new authority to be "the custodian of the vision, economic prosperity, and vibrancy" of the market.

Its mandate would include maintaining the area, "enhancing the resident and visitor experience," and supporting property and business interests in the ByWard and Parkdale markets.

Staff suggest the corporation be in place by the end of 2023 and receive $200,000 to cover transition costs.

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"It's a great decision," said Marc Chénier, the general director of a business and French advocacy group in the National Capital Region.

"[It's] what's necessary to be able to centralize the decision-making process."

Special levy for ByWard area

The exploration of a "special area levy" is one of the more notable recommendations in the report, meant to help fund the new governance structure.

The city has applied a special tax for property owners in specific parts of the city before.

Homeowners in Kanata North have voted in the past to pay extra on their property bills for treatments that reduce the mosquito population, while others have paid for local facilities such as the Jim Tubman Chevrolet Rink in Elmvale Acres.

The cost for property taxpayers and businesses isn't known yet. Still, the idea has vendor Jonathan McAdam worrying about less revenue. Vendor Darwin Radke said he realizes taxes are part of running a business.

Francis Ferland/CBC

Francis Ferland/CBC

Then there's the long-discussed reconfiguration of the historical market district.

City council approved a new $129 million plan in 2021 that would revitalize areas such as William Street and the ByWard Market Square, create a plaza on York Street and redevelop the city parking garage at 70 Clarence St.

Staff's update next month is also expected to touch on those projects.

A one-time $100,000 payment of capital funding would also go to enhancing the Parkdale Market in celebration of its 100th anniversary next year, according to the presentation.

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