Members of the Hastings City Business Association are about to vote on whether to transform their association into a Business Improvement District (BID) Photo / File. A_HBT18144705.JPG

Members of the Hastings City Business Association are about to vote on whether to transform their association into a Business Improvement District (BID).

A BID programme is a public-private partnership between the local council and a business association that is committed to developing an improved local business environment.

BIDs have been used internationally to promote local economic development since the first one started in Toronto in 1970.

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There are now an increasing number of the programmes operating in New Zealand, including Auckland, where 48 BIDs represent more than 25,000 businesses. In Wellington five business associations operate under the BID programme.

Hastings' central city area, bordered by Nelson St, St Aubyn, Southampton St and Hastings St has had a business association for 25 years.

Owned and funded by the members with businesses and buildings within that area, it's focused on making Hastings central city a vibrant, characteristic as well as a safe destination to work, shop and visit.

Businesses would benefit from a BID by encouraging local businesses to engage with each other, attract more people to the area, running area and sector based marketing programmes and more.

Chairman of the association Craig Riddiford said they've had a plenty of successes during the past few years, particularly in the retail sphere but would like to expand the venture.

"The Businesses Improvement District model is widely used and proven in our main New Zealand cities and across the world.

"The main benefits are that the BID models sets in place improved and strengthened processes around the association's relationships with and reporting and communications to, stakeholders; principally our members and council."

Riddiford said that a new council policy also needed to be taken into account.

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"That policy is that business associations funded by targeted rates, which is how our association is funded, deliver their programmes using the BID model."

The Hastings City Business Association is a non-profit organisation run by its members who are all business and commercial property owners within the central city.

The vote opens on March 1 and closes on March 21 with all businesses and building owners within the defined area eligible to vote.