In 2009, a group of forward-thinking community members saw a need to rejuvenate and promote the North Road corridor in Burnaby. After applying to the City of Burnaby to have the area designated as a Business Improvement Area, they formed the Burnaby North Road Business Improvement Association (BIA).
"Of the four designated town centres in Burnaby," explains Carolyn Orazietti, current Executive Director of the Burnaby North BIA, "we are the last town centre to be developed. We're part of the Lougheed Town Centre in the northeast quadrant of the city. With the expansion of the Lougheed SkyTrain station just around the corner on Lougheed and the enormous amount of development that's coming to the Lougheed Mall, we're going to see a large influx of people and new businesses to the area."
Carolyn sees the BIA's mandate as working closely with the City of Burnaby and the local RCMP to promote the area and to make sure the area is safe and crime-free for the benefit of both the community and local businesses—and also clean and free of graffiti.
"The City has an anti-graffiti department," Carolyn notes, "and we've been working hard with them to keep North Road graffiti-free. In fact, we developed a program called "Graffiti Busters," where we work with local teenagers to come out and help paint over the graffiti with paint donated by the City."
Rather than unsightly graffiti, the Burnaby North Road BIA has instituted programs to bring in banners and public art.
"That's a benefit to both the community and local businesses," says Carolyn. "All of a sudden you realize that the area, which used to look rundown, is now clean and safe to walk and shop. Something we're looking at for next summer is having student ambassadors on the street to give information and help people find where they're going.”
The City of Burnaby also has big plans for developing the area to include promenades for walking and holding events. The City's "Uncover your Creeks" project promises to dig up some waterways that disappear underground and make them into water features while protecting the natural habitat.
"A little known creek will become more like a canal, a naturally flowing river," says Carolyn. "People will be able to sit beside it and walk along it. All the businesses here are incredibly excited; there'll be fabulous retailers attracted to the area and the boost to the economy will be substantial."
To learn more about local initiatives and the Burnaby North Road BIA, call 604-420-2799, check out their website, send them an email or visit their office at 303-9440 Lougheed Highway, Burnaby. North Road BIA can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.