Crowds fill Fifth Street in downtown Courtenay as part of the annual Market Day event. Photo by Erin Haluschak

Courtenay Downtown BIA working to keep community safe and vibrant

Submitted by Downtown Courtenay

Downtown Courtenay is well-known for being a vibrant and safe place to eat, shop and do business. And the local business improvement association is working hard with merchants and other community groups to keep it that way.

As part of its on-going mandate to promote the downtown core and boost the local community, the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association (DCBIA) aims to meet the needs of its members and the public by being on the leading edge of change, says its executive director.

“In addition to putting on special events or working with the City to improve infrastructure, we also work with the downtown business owners to make sure their voices are being heard,” says Catherine Thompson of the DCBIA.

As such, the association recently held a survey focused on illegal activity to find out what merchants are experiencing and how they could work together to support both the downtown core and the community as a whole.

“This survey offered members an opportunity to voice any concerns or suggestions and was to be used to guide discussions with the City, RCMP and other community groups to make certain everyone’s needs are being met,” says Thompson. “Whenever we survey our members it’s to both get feedback on a topic and garner insight into member sentiment, which we did.”

Previous DCBIA member surveys have focused on a range of topics including special events and what people love about downtown Courtenay.

“That being said, DCBIA members want to make sure the downtown benefits everyone not just the businesses, which is why we work to support agencies like Dawn-to-Dawn and the Coalition to End Homelessness and their excellent initiatives. In fact, the Coalition and City recently funded a daytime warming centre on 8th Street, which has seen a 50 percent reduction in police calls to the area and has had a very positive impact overall.

“And as other possible proposals come along, such as a pedestrian bridge or public washrooms, we’ll be sure to talk to members and share opinions on those items as well.”

Formed in 1995, and with more than 240 members currently, Thompson says that the DCBIA’s purpose is to provide leadership in the community and ensure the area remains both vibrant and responsive.

“From Market Days and Christmas parades to supporting all members of this area, we’re doing what we can to promote the downtown as the Valley’s artistic, cultural, business and social hub. It’s a place where people want to get together.”

“As any city grows, changes happen. We’re working hard to keep up with those shifts and make improvements for all residents and businesses along the way.”

To find out more about the DCBIA, its members and activities, including its 50th Market Day being held this July, visit

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