Business Improvement District programmes enable businesses within a defined area to work with their local community board, the Council and other key organisations to improve the local business environment.

Christchurch City Council Business Improvement District Policy 2016 [PDF, 300 KB]


1. Background and context

1.1 Purpose of the Christchurch City Council Business Improvement District programme

Business Improvement District (BID) programmes enable businesses within a defined geographic area to work with their local community board, the Council and other key stakeholder organisations to improve the local business environment. 

Working together can create stronger town centres and business districts that are better positioned to take advantage of economic opportunities and are resilient to economic shocks. 

Town centres are about people and people's needs, they are places with a history and a community story. They provide convenience, choice, value, comfort, leisure, entertainment and a sense of place. Centres are about place-making, and place-making is about communities having ownership, a sense of belonging and pride. 

This policy provides direction on how to establish a BID programme and the Council's expectations of how a BID programme should function.

The Council can assist with the establishment of a BID programme and support the implementation of the programme to leverage the contribution local communities make to the economic wellbeing of the district as a whole. 

The BID programme also provides a mechanism to advocate to the Council for appropriate infrastructure, facilities and services to support business activity and to have a business perspective inform Council policies and initiatives.

1.2 The Business Improvement District programme - a collaborative approach

A BID programme is a public/private partnership. It can develop projects that attract assistance and may be in partnership with Central Government and/or the Christchurch City Council or other agencies and organisations. 

A key feature of the BID programme is the ability to secure sustainable funding through non-residential properties within a defined BID programme area paying a targeted rate. The rate is collected by the Council, and passed on to the organisation running the BID programme to fund its work programme.

A BID programme should, however, be more than a purely financial relationship between the parties – it should provide opportunities to develop collaborative approaches to achieve development goals.

Establishing a BID programme takes time (often a one to two year period) and requires considerable effort and resources. A successful BID programme is characterised by the willingness of members to get involved in the development of their area. They will have a thorough understanding of their local business area and believe in the philosophy of self-help. 

While it is expected a BID programme will be operated by a business association the Council will consider alternative organisations to be the BID programme operator. An example is where a new entity may be established with representatives from the business association and other local key business interests. 

2. Purpose and value of BID programmes 

A BID programme creates a partnership enabling Christchurch City Council, the relevant community board and a BID programme operator to develop, formalise, and enhance relationships between local businesses and the Council.

This relationship is a key element for successful local economic development and enhancing business prosperity. 

The value of a BID programme can accrue to the partners involved in different ways: 

BID operator: 

  • Increases business prosperity for members, through the provision of services, support, advocacy and initiatives that enhance the local business environment.
  • Provides the BID operator with regular and sustainable funding. This enables delivery of initiatives identified in its strategic and business plans and provides value to members over a longer period than is usually possible when operating on a voluntary basis. 
  • Is aimed at growing business returns – leading to increased business turnover, increased profit, increased property values, ability to reinvest to further grow business. 

Community boards: 

  • Community boards and local businesses have a common interest in a particular place and share similar goals. Working collaboratively is likely to promote better local outcomes for businesses and for the local community. 
  • Enables a community board to engage with the local business sector in a coordinated way. It encourages local business investment, promotion and local economic development. 

The Council: 

  • Enables the Council to engage with local business sector in a coordinated way. It encourages business investment, promotion and economic development.
  • The BID programme promotes outcomes the Council is seeking in strategies and plans outlined below.

3. Links with key strategies and plans 

A BID programme is intended to support and be consistent with the aims of the wider framework of Christchurch City Council strategies and plans and with plans prepared by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) and its successors.

The Christchurch District Plan

The Christchurch District Plan details the objectives, policies and rules the Council and the community have agreed should be used to guide spatial planning, land use and growth management and development over the next 30 years and beyond.

It guides our path to becoming a world-class city, where people enjoy a sustainable lifestyle, a healthy environment, a strong economic base and the diverse landscapes of the city and peninsula.

The Christchurch District Plan is currently being developed through a full review of the Banks Peninsula District Plan and the Christchurch City Plan.

The BID programme aligns with the Christchurch District Plan through the aspiration for a quality, compact Christchurch, to create opportunities for employment growth and to support a network of interconnected towns and villages with one world-class city centre.

Suburban Master Plans

The Christchurch District Plan is supported by a suite of suburban master plans prepared for business areas particularly affected by the earthquakes.

Plans have been prepared for: New Brighton, Edgeware Village, Ferry Road, Linwood Village, Lyttelton, Main Road (Sumner to City), Selwyn Street, Sumner Village, and Sydenham.

A key feature of these Plans is the desire to create interesting and successful local commercial hubs.

Christchurch City Council community outcomes

The Council's community outcomes are aspirational statements describing how the Council would like to see Christchurch in the future.

The community outcomes cover the full range of community wellbeing.

The community outcomes likely to be progressed by a BID programme are:

  • The central city is a vibrant and prosperous business centre
  • The central city has a distinctive character and identity
  • The central city is used by a wide range of people and for an increasing range of activities
  • Streetscapes, public open spaces and public buildings enhance the look and function of the city
  • Suburban centres provide the focus for services, employment and social interaction
  • The city’s identity is enhanced by its buildings and public spaces
  • Services are available locally within the urban areas
  • People are actively involved in their communities and local issues
  • Christchurch is recognised as a great place to work, live, visit, invest and do business
  • The council is responsive to the demands of the rebuild
  • There is a critical mass of innovative key business sectors
  • Christchurch has globally competing businesses driving exports and generating wealth

Christchurch Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)

The Christchurch Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) identifies long-term growth goals and priorities to 2031 that will help create a stronger economy and better quality of life.

Development and oversight of implementation is undertaken by the Council's economic development agency - Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC).

The vision for the CEDS is: In 2031 Christchurch is recognised as the best place for business, work, study and living in Australasia.

Economic Recovery Programme for Greater Christchurch (CERA)

The Economic Recovery Programme was prepared by CERA following the earthquakes of 2010/11 in consultation with a range key economic stakeholders in the city.

The programme is a direct response to the economic challenges faced by greater Christchurch following the earthquakes.

The Economic Recovery Programme for Greater Christchurch sets out a strategic work programme of 20 high-priority projects that are the most important for economic recovery.

BIDs could make a significant contribution to these projects and the economic recovery of town suburbs and centres.

Christchurch Central Recovery Plan (CCDU)

The Plan vision is for central Christchurch to be vibrant and well-formed, and to attract people to live, work, play, learn, stay and invest.

It will be safe, accessible to everyone and responsive to future changes.

The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan (Recovery Plan) outlines how the vision can be achieved in three ways:

  • define the form of the central city
  • set out the locations of key anchor projects to encourage investment and growth
  • outline block plans to show what the city could look like in the future

Christchurch Visitor Strategy

The Council is currently working with key stakeholders to prepare a new visitor strategy for Christchurch.

While this will be a high-level document focussed on direction rather than actions, there are opportunities for business associations and other BID operators to work with the Council and other stakeholders to identify opportunities to grow the visitor spend for Christchurch businesses.

4. Definitions 

BID - Business Improvement District. 

BID programme - is a formal and structured agreement between a business association and the Council to provide economic development initiatives within a particular area. 

BID manager - is a person contracted or employed by the business association to manage the BID programme.

BID proponent group - means those persons proposing a BID programme for an area and that work together in the early stages to steer the proposal through to a decision on whether to proceed.

BID operator – means a formally constituted organisation that is operating a BID programme.

Business association – means a formally constituted organisation of business interests within a community. Is likely to be the organisation operating a BID programme.

Council - Christchurch City Council.

Executive committee - means the body elected by the members of the BID operator to govern the operations of the BID programme.

Governing board - has the same definition as executive committee above.

5. Purpose 

This policy provides guidance for prospective and established BID programmes, and explains the requirements and responsibilities of the Christchurch City Council BID programme. 

This policy is "enabling" rather than "requiring". Any initiation of a BID programme will come from a business community rather than the Council. 

This policy is intended to provide clear guidance but also to be flexible enough to enable innovative solutions to local requirements to be explored and implemented.

The policy addresses: 

  • Roles and responsibilities of relevant parties. 
  • Objectives that a BID programme must meet. 
  • Processes required to establish a BID programme.
  • General operation requirements of a BID programme.
  • Monitoring and reporting of performance of a BID programme.

This Policy will be reviewed at least every five years to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the business community and the Council.

6. Roles and responsibilities 

6.1 Christchurch City Council
The Council will: 

  • provide information and advice to a BID proponent group or BID operator as appropriate 
  • decide whether to set a targeted rate to fund a BID programme 
  • if it has agreed to set a targeted rate for a BID programme, set the rate on annual basis providing the BID operator has complied with the terms of this policy, and provide the funding generated to the BID operator
  • ensure monitoring and reporting requirements are complied with by the BID operator 

The Strategy and Transformation group of Christchurch City Council, working with relevant community boards, will lead the provision of advice and support for BID programmes.

6.2 Community Board 

Christchurch City Council community boards are likely to have a close and productive relationship with an organisation operating a BID programme in their area. 

Community boards will: 

  • Provide information and advice to a BID proponent group or operator as appropriate. 
  • Advocate to the Council and CCOs on behalf any BID proponent group or operator in their area, where appropriate. 
  • Provide a link between the Council, a BID proponent group or operator in their area and the local community. 
  • Recommend to the Council that a BID proponent group be supported in progressing to a BID programme if the community board believes this to be appropriate.
  • Recommend to the Council that a new BID programme is established and a targeted rate be introduced following a successful ballot return and the community board being satisfied the BID programme has appropriate support in the community and is considered capable of operating a BID programme successfully.
  • Recommend to the Council whether monitoring and reporting requirements are complied with by the business association or other organisation operating the BID programme.

6.3 BID proponent group or operator

The BID proponent group or operator will: 

  • Be a legally constituted incorporated society that is operating a BID programme.
  • Comply with its constitution and the BID policy. 
  • Comply with all other relevant laws and regulations. 
  • Maintain proper meeting and accounting records demonstrating how the targeted rate and any grant money is used, and make these records available to the Council on request.
  • Implement the agreed programme for its BID area.
  • Provide all required planning and accountability documentation to the Council by the required date, in the required format and to the required standard.

7. BID programme scope 

The BID programme allows for a range of activities to be undertaken with the provisos that: 

  • The activities are relevant and beneficial for BID programme members, and 
  • The activities are not already provided as part of the Council's normal service provision and funded from the general rate. 

BID operators must prepare a Strategic Plan (three to five year) and Annual Business Plan that detail the priorities, work programme and projected budget. A BID operator can choose to focus their initiatives in any direction that best supports the aims and objectives of the BID programme members. 

Activities that a BID programme operator may choose to undertake within their local area could include, but are not limited to: 

  • Advocating to local and central government and agencies. 
  • Promoting their area to prospective new businesses.
  • Collective marketing and promotion.
  • Enhancing the street environment (for example, providing additional cleaning services, beautification projects, promoting safety and security). 
  • Business development, mentoring, networking and training.
  • Sustainability and resilience planning. 
  • Enhancing the urban form (for example, heritage projects or improving the accessibility of businesses).
  • Collective purchasing agreements. 
  • Running or hosting events. 
  • Providing services to members or wider - cutting costs for members and/ or generating revenue. 

The Council will provide details of the capital projects and levels of service it has committed to deliver through its existing work programme and funded from rates. 

There may be opportunities for the business association and the Council to negotiate changes to the existing service delivery approach. This could include:

  • the Council providing a lower level of service with a reduction in rate requirement
  • the Council ceasing to provide a service with a reduction in rate requirement
  • the business association delivering a service instead of the Council with either a reduction in rate requirement or the Council contracting the business association to provide the service.

There may be opportunities for the Council to advise the business association or other organisation of enhancements to planned capital projects or increased levels of service that are prioritised by the community but not budgeted in the Council’s existing work programme that the business association or other organisation may wish to consider as a BID project.

While the Council will always negotiate in good faith, any change to the levels of service or service delivery approach will be at the Council’s discretion as it must always consider the interests of the wider community and maintain its ability to deliver cost-effective services.

7.1 Consultation with affected parties

Where a project proposed by a BID programme operator impacts the public realm, the BID operator will conduct consultation with the affected community on the proposed project. Following consultation, the relevant Community Board will consider whether to approve the proposed project.

8. BID programme success factors 

The Christchurch City Council and its council controlled organisations (CCOs) will help support BID programmes to successfully meet their goals and objectives.

The Council sets the policy framework for the programme but it is the responsibility of the BID operator to ensure their BID programme is a success. 

BID programme success is dependent on three key factors. 

8.1 Effective governance

Providing vision, strategy and decision making is critical and the responsibility of the BID programme executive committee. The committee is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the BID programme, accountability and for ensuring that the management of the BID programme is effective and setting key performance indicators which are realistic and measurable. 

8.2 Good management

This is usually carried out by a BID manager, business management consultancy or other agency. The BID manager is r