The Malton Business Improvement Association became a long-awaited reality Wednesday when a by-law was passed at City Council making it official.
“We’re just thrilled,” Ward 5 Councillor Bonnie Crombie told YourMississaugaBiz.com. “It was something I really wanted to achieve and I really saw that it would make a big difference in the community.”
The new BIA will start collecting funds, which are calculated based on a business’s tax assessment, from member businesses early next year.
Crombie said the goal is to collect enough money for a budget of $50,000 for the next two to three years to purchase banner and signage for the area.
The councillor said that only three of the 450 businesses in the area objected to the BIA. “I guess it’s a cost concern,” Crombie said, “But I explained that the budget was very modest and the BIA is very sensitive to the financial situation in Malton.”
The neighbourhood of Malton is characaterized by many low income and single-parent families. According to a 2008 report by the Social Planning Council of Peel, only 35 per cent of Malton residents had completed post-secondary education and the average family income was $65,507.
Planning and meetings for the BIA started in February, with a steering committee created in June.
Crombie, who promised the BIA as part of her campaign during the Ward 5 by-election, said she didn’t know this would be the first new BIA in Mississauga in more than 20 years. “I realized there was a need,” she said.
Following the approval, the councillor hopes to make the area more of a destination and better define the old historic town of Malton. “Just put it back on the map as a place to locate their businesses and come shop,” Crombie said. “It just needed a bit of beautification.”
The councillor said the current availability of land and office space is a challenge. Crombie said there is manufacturing space, but adapting it for other use is an issue. Zoning is also a concern due to proximity of Pearson Airport’s flight path.
But Crombie says she doesn’t think noise from planes are a deterrent, citing the success of Ward 3 and her experience growing up in Etobicoke. “It was pretty common to hear the planes go overhead,” she said. “We’d pause our conversation and then pick it up right afterward.”
“You just adjust to it,” she said with a big laugh.
Crombie has a vision of Malton becoming like Streetsville, Port Credit or Clarkson. “I just want really want to make it special, to put it back on the map and just make it a place that people want to stop and linger,” she said. “Maybe go to a restaurant.”