Business Façade Improvement Program 2020

Business Façade Improvement Program 2020


Thank you to all applicants.
Intake for the 2020 Business Facade Improvement Program is now closed.

All applicants will be contacted after review.

If approved, BFIP businesses are required to complete façade improvement by December 31, 2020.



Façade programs are popular in part because they provide immediate and substantial impact that is visible to the public. As effective as these programs are, the field is littered with façade programs that are poorly designed and therefore underused. The literature suggests that effective façade improvement programs include some or all of the following characteristics:
  • A formal purpose statement is needed.
  • A well defined target area is required.
  • Be sure you are providing at least a 50 - 75% match - thehigher match is necessary in districts where businessowners are struggling and may lack the capitalnecessary to meet their match requirements.
  • Because most public programs are set up as reimbursements - it can sometimes be difficult to getfacade money out the door. Property owners simply donot have the capital necessary to front the entire cost ofthe renovation and then wait to be reimbursed after thefact. In cases like this, patient capital is critical. A bridgeloan or revolving loan program can help to address thelack of capital for property owners unable to frontrenovation costs. Non-profit lenders and communitydevelopment intermediaries might be good partners inexploring these kinds of loan products.
  • If there are significant reporting requirements thatcannot be simplified, the match has to be significantenough to make the application and paperwork worthit. Otherwise, most business owners won‘t want to dealwith the hassle. The amount considered significant willdiffer by community, but the literature suggests anythingfrom $25 – 50k is generally sufficient. And the smaller theindividual grant, the easier they should be to use (read:minimal paperwork!)
  • If there are vague or no design guidelines, the programshould include pro-bono or low-bono design services.When improvements go unsupervised or lack some sortof quality review, it can be difficult to determine whenand where façade improvement dollars were used,rendering the overall impact on the shopping districtnegligible.
  • If funding is limited, consider micro-loan programs forsignage only. For $2,500 - $5,000, you can fundattractive signs that make a significant difference to theoverall look and feel of the district.
  • Project Review Committees are sometimes ablended team made up of local government, aninstitution such as a college and a non profit communityor economic development organization.
  • Eligibility criteria, terms for participation, along with the application and selection process need to be clear.



  • The objective of this program is to make significant improvements to the appearance of our community streetscape, even if it is just one building at a time.
  • The Façade Improvement Area compliments the City of Port Alberni’s Commercial Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaws areas.
  • A higher financial match will be provided to the businesses within the Façade Improvement Area fronting the main travel corridors of Upper 3rd Ave., Lower Argyle St. and Lower Johnston.
  • Community Futures Alberni Clayoquot has established a Façade Loan Program to support businesses making improvements through the Façade Improvement Program.
  • We have adopted a very simple process. Many communities in British Columbia have successfully processed applications with comprehensive yet simple procedures. We will not reinvent the process but rather copy a process used elsewhere and further simplify the process where possible.
  • Business facades and design services are provided by an accredited architectural firm.
  • 2020 funding will be utilized to maximize the visualFaçade Improvement Program ROI. Applicants lookingfor support towards relatively small improvements may beconsidered closer to the end of the term if fundingremains.
  • The financial partners in the Façade Improvement Program, will have representatives from the City of Port Alberni along with Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot as the committee.
  • This is demonstrated through the application which follows.



The physical environment in which we live and work has a great effect on us. A community that is more appealing to the eye gives its citizens a greater sense of place and welcomes visitors, and for a city’s commercial areas, one of the strongest determinants of the character and quality is its building frontages.
The City of Port Alberni in partnership with Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot are pleased to provide this program to give monetary assistance and design services as an incentive to building/business owners, toimprove the character and physical appearance of their buildings. The program guidelines are intended to set a quality standard for the types of improvements, and act as a guide for application review by the Project Review Committee (PRC).

The PRC consists of 3 to 5 representatives from the City of Port Alberni and Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot.
The objective of this program is to make significant improvements to the appearance of our streetscapes, even if it is just one building at a time. Should the PRC deem that the proposed project does not have apositive impact on the streetscape the application may be denied.

Each retail and commercial building within the City of Port Alberni is eligible to apply for the one time grant and each project must have a minimum total renovation cost of $5,000 in order to apply.
The Business Façade Improvement Program (BFIP) will provide grant funding and design services to BFIPapproved applicants.
Grant Funding will provide 50% reimbursement grant up to a maximum of:
$5,000 per building / project for single face improvement
$7,500 per building / project - corner lot, two face improvement
Additional $1,000 to buildings facing upper 3rd Ave., lower Argyle St. and lower Johnston Rd. (still within 50%maximum)
Approved BFIP businesses are required to complete façade improvement by December 31, 2020.
BFIP Design Services will provide an architect to create a design in consideration of the applicant’s budget. This service is provided at no charge to the applicant and is a requirement of the BFIP.
A BFIP Loan Program with competitive terms will be made available though Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot for approved proponents requiring a loan to participate. Some conditions may apply.

The BFIP is primarily focused on the physical appearance of the buildings and their relationship to the street. Facades and storefronts of retail and commercial buildings are to be considered.
As limited funds are available, projects will be considered on anticipated results to the Program andcommunity.
Buildings that have previously received the façade improvement grant shall not be eligible to receive asubsequent BFIP grant. This is a one-time grant only.


For full information on the Business Façade Improvement Program click HERE to see the Applicant Information and Application