Big plan for one of Mississauga’s oldest neighbourhoods moves forward

 

The Cooksville neighbourhood in Mississauga has no shortage of businesses—in fact, it's something of a food mecca in the city—but it has always lacked an organization that can formally advocate for local business owners.

Until now. 

At a recent general committee meeting, Mississauga city council endorsed the creation of a bylaw to establish a Cooksville Business Improvement Area (BIA) in Ward 7. 

This will be formally voted on by Council on Nov. 20.

"BIAs are important to the fabric of a community as they perform various duties including advocacy, beautification, revitalization and maintenance, along with business recruitment activities to promote tourism and economic development," said Ward 7 Councillor, Dipika Damerla, in a statement. 

Right to Left: Councillor Dipika Damerla with Steven Smith, Chair, Cooksville BIA Steering Committee

"Establishing a BIA in Cooksville will create a hub where business and community can grow prosperously together to benefit all who live, work and visit the area. I would like to thank members of the Cooksville Steering Committee, city staff and residents for their efforts in working to make this a reality for thousands of businesses in the area."

The move to formally establish a BIA couldn't come at a better time, as the neighbourhood is slated to undergo significant change when the LRT breaks ground and attracts more investment to the area.

The area also needs an advocate, as it's dealt with its fair share of hardship. Once a neighbourhood that had its own fire hall, town hall and vibrancy, Cooksville has fallen on hard times even though it continues to be a major transit hub for Mississauga with an increasing population. Over the past few years, it’s been mostly a place that people pass through on their way to Port Credit.

This past spring, a town hall was held by Damerla to begin the process of starting a Cooksville BIA. During the town hall, a steering committee was formed to formalize the Cooksville BIA’s boundaries.

Now, the city says the proposed catchment area is the intersection of Hurontario and Dundas Streets. It will extend along Hurontario Street from Floradale Drive in the south to the train line and lands around the Cooksville Go Station in the north; and along Dundas Street from Confederation Parkway in the west, to Cawthra Road in the east.

You can see the boundaries below: 

The purpose of a Business Improvement Area (BIA) is to oversee the beautification and maintenance of municipally-owned land, buildings and structures in the area beyond that provided by the municipality. A BIA consists of property owners and tenants within a defined geographic boundary and paid for through a self-funded levy.

A BIA comes into existence when the municipality (in the case the City of Mississauga) enacts a bylaw and creates an organization that's managed by a volunteer board. BIAs currently exist in  Clarkson, Port Credit, Malton and Streetsville. 

The process for creating a BIA and establishing its board of management is outlined in the Municipal Act, 2001.

The city estimates that the BIA's budget will sit at $350,000 for the first year.

If the proposal moves ahead, city staff will draft a bylaw for council's approval in early 2020. If passed, Cooksville will be the city's fifth BIA.

"We are pleased to take part in this process and assist all parties in reaching their goals. Our focus is to continue to shape and build neighbourhoods that are inclusive and vibrant," said Andrew Whittemore, Commissioner of Planning and Building. 

"During this process, city staff helped the Steering Committee establish its boundaries, develop a preliminary budget and work through the legislative process."

Council has directed staff to draft the Cooksville BIA b-law and provide technical support to the BIA steering committee during the early stages of its formation.

With files from Alan Kan

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