City of Oshawa taking over program funding of disbanded BIA

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Published September 28, 2021 at 11:36 am

The City of Oshawa is taking over the funding for many of the projects done by the now defunct Downtown Business Improvement Area, despite the objections of one councillor who believes staff and councillors should “sharpen their pencils” to look for cheaper ways to deliver the programs.

Oshawa Council approved $65,000 for holiday greenery and the holiday wreath program for this year, as well as $263,000 in program spending to be included in the 2022 budget, including $40,000 for a new “brand identity” for the downtown.

Brian Nicholson, the Ward 5 Regional Councillor, said it seemed to him the City was “just throwing money” at the programs – each formerly supplied by the BIA, which was disbanded last January after complaints from levy-paying businesses that they weren’t getting good value from the arrangement.

Nicholson recommended sending the programs back to staff and the Finance Committee before approval. “We haven’t even sharpened our pencils yet.”

The motion to approve the funding carried 7-2, with Nicholson and John Gray, his Ward 5 City Councillor colleague, the dissenting votes.

Other programs approved for next year’s budget deliberations include another $65,000 for 2022 wreaths and holiday greenery; $45,500 for the downtown banner replacement program; $20,000 for improvements and activities around convocations for graduating students at Ontario Tech University, Trent University-Durham, and Durham College; $90,000 for the Kars on King auto show and shine; and $3,500 for the Troubadour downtown concert series.

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