Windsor city council is moving forward with a retail development corporation.
It voted unanimously in favour of proceeding with a business case study.
Mayor Eddie Francis said a retail development corporation can do things business improvement associations are not allowed to do. He said the corporation will serve the city's entire business community.
"A single retail development corporation extends retail business services beyond what BIAs can do, extends it city wide, even in areas where there may not be a co-ordinated effort such as a BIA," Francis said.
University of Windsor political science professor Cheryl Collier said the new retail development corporation could help better organize all the city's BIAs.
She also said Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation is more regional and more focused on commercial business and manufacturing. The new entity will focus more on retail.
Bridget Scheuerman is co-chair of the Windsor BIA advisory committee and said the business improvement associations support the proposal, but want to be consulted throughout the process.
"We were not given any consultation with regard to this report prior to it becoming public and we had asked on a couple of occasions to have input," she said. "We had asked about the retail development corporation and did not receive any feedback."
Part of the motion passed by council includes consulting with any interested groups
Francis says the consultation starts now:
"The consultation process is going to be an extensive process. So to all the stakeholders, BIAs and non-BIAs, chambers and non-chambers, businesses and non-businesses, there's a lengthy process involved with consultation and this is a opportunity to provide input," he said..
Coun. Jo-Anne Gignac said it's a move in the right direction.
Coun. Alan Halberstadt agrees. He said all possibilities have to be explored to strengthen retail and commercial development in the city.
"We've got a long way to go. This is a big mouthful to swallow it all at once, and I think it's going to take a long time to flush this out but we have to start someplace," he said.