Old East Village Business Improvement AreaAs a local board of the municipality, the traditional mandate of the Old East Village Business Improvement Area(BIA) is to beautify, improve, and promote the Old East Village shopping district situated in London Ontario. Common to many Canadian urban core neighbourhoods, the Old East Village’s commercial corridor of Dundas Street began to decline in the early eighties. During the eighties and nineties the BIA and the City collaborated on a number of initiatives in order to address the impacts of declining populations and the growth of suburban malls on the commercial district. The initiatives had minimal impact on deteriorating property values, and vacancy rates.
In 2001, the BIA initiated a partnership with the Ontario Professional Planner’s Institute to create the revitalization plan, Re-establishing Value; A Plan for the Old East Village.In 2005, the plan became a Community Improvement Plan for the Old East Village commercial corridor from Dundas and Adelaide to Dundas and Charlotte Streets. In partnership with the City of London and the Old East Village Community Association, the BIA is the lead agency for a broad based, community driven revitalization initiative that has resulted in significant reinvestment in the Old East Village commercial corridor. Similar reinvestment in the residential district is occurring under the stewardship of the Old East Village Community Association.
With a representative on the BIA Board of Directors, the Western Fair District has been a partner in the revitalization initiative since its inception. As a participant in the Queen’s Park Redevelopment Committee, the Western Fair District collaborates with the City of London, the Old East Village Community Association and BIA to implement the Queen’s Park Redevelopment Plan. The goal of this plan is to contribute to the revitalization of the area by restoring the park to function as a year round community park that will accommodate community events including the Western Fair District annual fair.
In the current phase of the revitalization initiative the BIA has strengthened its partnership with the Western Fair District to create a local economic development plan for the Old East Village. In this research phase the BIA the Western Fair District and a range of local partners will explore opportunities to develop educational and awareness opportunities around food production and consumption, technological exchange and learning opportunities between farmers and the community, and closer interaction between Agri-food producers and users to foster innovation and business expansion activities in the Old East Village.