BIA banners festoon strip

The strip is sure looking lovely these days.

Hope you like the banners – your property taxes are paying for them. They’re just the first salvo in an expensive marketing campaign cooked up by the Bells Corners Business Improvement Area to transform our community into a place to drive to.

We can look forward to radio ads, more photo ops for the councillor, a spiffy candy cane festival, maybe sponsored by Tim Hortons, General Dynamics and Ikea, the renaming of the strip after a famous politician, a new skateboard park and more cleaning up of eyesores and irritants like Al’s SteakHouse, the Lynwood Village Community Association and outdoor rinks.

Who will pay for this massive marketing campaign to brand Bells Corners as a place to drive to and consume?

In addition to access to taxpayer funds through the councillor and City bureaucrats, the BIA also collects the Chiarelli tax, an annual levy on every business owner and commercial landlord in Bells Corners. I’m guessing they’ve got at least a couple of hundred thousand to spend, although salaries will eat up most of it (the executive director’s salary is probably close to six figures and he also employs an assistant).

The new executive director is Alex Lewis, the ideas guy who was hired by Chiarelli, the backroom boys at the BIA and the City. So far he’s come up with the banners, which feature the official Bells Corners logo (a bridge and a tunnel) and the official Bells Corners slogan (“All roads lead to Bells Corners!”).

Here’s Lewis at a media event, along with a City bureaucrat and BIA bigwigs. Rumour has it that RC was ticked off that the photographer, reporter Jennifer McIntosh, only got half of his face in the photo op. Guess she won’t be moving to a more lucrative job in Chiarelli’s office any time soon!

This photo is no longer available – Metroland Media threatened me with legal action if I didn’t remove it.

His predecessor as BIA figurehead was Mike Patton, the notorious Conservative backroom politician who used to be Rick Chiarelli’s office boy before he went on to work for Larry O’Brien and Stephen Harper. Patton quit after only a few weeks on the job.

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10 Responses to BIA banners festoon strip

  1. dfg says:

    Hi Ottawaowl,

    Does the community association for bells corners have a web site? A google search didn’t find any.

  2. ottawaowl says:

    Hi dfg,

    There are THREE community associations in Bells Corners (four if you count Harry Splatt’s Arbeatha abomination).

    Lynwood Village (Bells Corners) Community Association

    Westcliffe Estates Community Association

    Bellwood Community Homeowners Association Inc.

  3. margaret says:

    About the BIA logo on the banners – as someone with a graphic design background I know how important images are.

    My first thought was – a BLUE ELEPHANT!?!

    I had no idea what it was all about but this blue elephant was welcoming me to Bells Corners

    Even after learning what it is supposed to represent – it is still a blue elephant and that’s all I can see.

    A bridge and a road that goes nowhere.

    – Ha! Ha! It is pretty obscure, even when you know what it is.

    I don’t like the message “The BIA welcomes you.”

    Every other banner I’ve seen promotes the community, not the BIA itself.

    So it should be “Bells Corners welcomes you.”

  4. TonyL says:

    Alex Lewis responded to my email a few weeks ago, here it is. It echoes Margaret’s sentiments:

    Good Afternoon Tony,

    Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. As you are obviously aware, the logo is a bridge. Through community consultation and consultation with several business owners in the BIA catchment area, as well as the BIA Board of Management (made up of eight local business or property owners) we felt the logo is reflective of the three structures which are to become our community gateways, hopefully in the near future. Those involved in the process felt that the banners are in fact the best way to pictorially represent these future changes. We at the Bells Corners BIA are committed to ensuring that the residential community as well as business community remain “in the loop” with changes that are being made to the area.

    I am sorry that you feel that Bells Corners is On a bridge to nowhere, however it is obviously not in the best interest of the residential or business community to allow this happen. The Bells Corners BIA assists local business people, community organizations and property owners to join together and organize, finance and carry out improvements to the business area.

    It is regrettable that you feel the logo is unsatisfactory, and I would encourage vocal members of the community such as yourself to volunteer your time to become a part of one of our wide range of projects. Please see my contact information below should you have any questions as to how to get involved. (spelling and grammar errors corrected.- ed.)

    – Typical RC smoke-and-mirrors bs- Alex learned the trade at the feet of the master when he was on the councillor’s $240,000 annual payroll.

    “The BIA assists…community organizations,” Lewis writes. That’s rich! RC shut down the Lynwood Village Community Association with the help his $278,000-a-year City bureaucrat (Dan Chenier).

  5. Stephanie says:

    There are new “spring/summer” ones out now. Any idea how much they cost to replace the blue ones? Are they going to reuse the blue ones eventually? How many other banners are we going to see? One for every season?

    – Alex, Rick, Jim, Nancy, JP, Rusty, Harry and Stephen all read this blog- would one of you gentlemen care to answer Stephanie’s questions? Or is it secret information?

  6. TonyL says:

    FYI, I noticed that Thursday’s extreme wind damaged at least 7 banners that were detached or torn from the bottom support – the wind had the banners completely horizontal!

    – What do expect from dollar store-style banners which have been roundly booed. Whose decision was it to buy these banners and how much do they cost?

    And wouldn’t it make sense to put up banners promoting Bells Corners and NOT the BIA?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dear Alex Lewis,

    I saw you just now on the news. Because of your silly name-change, local business owners in Bells Corners are faced with exorbitant expenses and extra taxes, and all you can say is “it will be a good opportunity for business owners to re-brand.”

    The most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!

    Why change the name at all? Because of this pointless folly, local business owners will have to fork out a bundle? Complete nonsense and totally unacceptable.

    The City, I hope, is discussing waiving the cost of conversion for businesses and individuals? If not, business owners will stand up to the City – enough is enough!

    People know Bells Corners – it does not need a name change or rebranding.

    – Alex Lewis (the former mall cop, Local Heroes beer-slinger and Rick Chiarelli office boy, no relation to Jerry or Darth) is a regular reader of this blog, so I’m sure he’ll pass on your comments to the ward boss (which is redundant, as the councillor checks this blog every morning while eating his Shreddies.)

    • Don Robertson says:

      “it will be a good opportunity for business owners to re-brand.”

      “Re-branding” with the same name; the man is a genius. Bells Corners is in excellent hands, we can all rest easy.

      – I can’t wait to see what the next wacky idea will be!

  8. TonyL says:

    I watched it also, Bells Corners is being rebranded alright – I guess 25+ negative news articles will do that to a area.

    Thanks a bunch, Alex Lewis, Jim Sourges, and of course Tricky Ricky!

    Hopefully after tomorrow I can finally ride my bike down the strip without getting lost!

    – Whatever happens tomorrow won’t change one irrefutable Natural Law – Rick is toast!

  9. TonyL says:

    “Whatever happens tomorrow won’t change one irrefutable Natural Law – Rick is toast!”

    I think he got stuck in the toaster, he’s still smoking, and he’s set off the smoke alarm.
    Hope the EMS doesn’t get lost on their way to bail Ricky out.

    – I agree Rick’s blunder has pretty much ended his political career. Maybe he could get elected as dogcatcher in some backwater Louisiana bayou, but in Ottawa his pseudo-Nepean brand is not even penny stock.

    But watch out – Ricky’s a wily fox with friends in high places. Gaddafi’s still hanging in and Rick is just as obstinate.
    separated at birth?

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