By Richard Bell
On May 2, the Harbour East Marine Drive Community Council is scheduled to vote on moving ahead with a proposal to set up a Porters Lake Business Improvement District (BID).
“We’re very excited about the upcoming vote,” said Rhonda Frank, a local business owner who serves on the steering committee that put the proposal together. “One of the things we’re most interested in to begin with is getting sidewalks and crosswalks along Highway 7 to make things safer.”
HRM allows for the creation of BIDs as a way of allowing the landowners and business operators in a specified area to create a special tax that the members of the BID can then use to fund improvements like sidewalks or street lighting. The boundary lines of the proposed Porters Lake BID are along Highway 7 from Alps Road to the east end of Stella Drive, including all of Stella Drive, and along Porters Lake Station Road to Meadowview Drive.
If the Community Council approves the proposed BID, then HRM will conduct a special election within the proposed boundaries. Every property owner gets one vote, and every business gets one vote, and the proposal must get 50%+1 in order to go into effect.
In this case, the steering committee bringing the proposal has proposed a levy of $0.10 per $100 of assessed property value, with a minimum levy of $300 per year, and a maximum levy of $3,000. There are 14 commercial properties within the boundaries, and roughly 40 businesses.
“I’ve been to talk with almost all of the property owners and businesses,” Frank said, “and there’s wide support for the BID. Council David Hendsbee has been a strong advocate for our proposal all along, and has been to all the meetings we’ve had over the last months. Assuming the Council votes in favour on May 2, we hoping to have the property owners/business owners vote by the end of June.”
Frank said that besides sidewalks and crosswalks, people attending the BID organizing meetings were also interested in investing in beautification, turning lanes, lower speed limits, and litter and garbage disposal. Most BIDs are organized as nonprofit organizations, which can then also seek grant funding for projects. Frank estimated that the proposed levy would bring in about $10,000 per year.
For more information, check out the Porters Lake BID page on Facebook, or contact Rhonda Frank at 902-222-5227 or by email at RhondaFrank@ArtsyFartsy.ca.