Alacrity Canada has been chosen to assist businesses in western Canada increase their international sales and investment in clean technologies. The federal government announced last week that Alacrity will get $1.3 million to create 100 jobs in clean tech that will help the country recover from the pandemic-caused recession.
“Canadian researchers and entrepreneurs are addressing the world’s most significant environmental problems with innovative solutions. They are on a quest to help this planet survive for many generations to come," Alacrity Canada's managing director Richard Egli said in a news release. "This new funding will give Alacrity an excellent opportunity to connect Canadian innovation with significant challenges waiting to be solved."
A total of $2.3 million is going to BC's clean tech sector, including $100,000 to the South Island Prosperity Partnership.
Alacrity Canada: Member since 2019
South Island Prosperity Partnership: Member since 2017
The Chamber continues to advocate for safe communities by calling for proven solutions that address the root causes of homelessness.
On Monday, the federal government announced $1 billion for cities to spend over the fall and winter on housing for vulnerable people. The Rapid Housing Initiative will be used to build modular homes, buy land or purchase existing accommodation, such as motels and hotels.
On Sunday, the provincial government announced that it was adding a new Assertive Community Treatment team in Greater Victoria, along with five others across BC.
Teams provide support to individuals, helping adults with "serious, complex and often persistent mental health challenges that make it difficult to manage day-to-day activities."
The teams can also help people with substance abuse issues that bring them into conflict with the law by diverting them to treatment aimed at recovery.
The results of a long-awaited inventory of licensed child care spaces in Saanich will be revealed next Monday.
The District of Saanich partnered with Central Saanich, Highlands, North Saanich, Oak Bay and Sidney to be part of a Union of BC Municipalities initiative aimed at improving child care delivery in BC.
Better access to quality child care — an ongoing Chamber advocacy priority — is needed to ensure families with young children can fully participate in the workforce.
Saanich is asking anyone who has input to provide on the issue to register before Monday, by emailing email@example.com or calling 250-475-5501.
Carriage homes will increase housing in Saanich
A decision by Saanich council last week could see hundreds of affordable homes built in the municipality without the direct involvement of government. The District of Saanich will now allow for carriage homes on properties that meet the necessary requirements.
“It took years for us to get here,” Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes told CHEK news.
“Imagine there’s 30,000 single-family homes ... If just 1,000 properties (build a carriage home), we’ve added 1,000 rental homes without government involvement.”
Saanich seeks input on e-mobility strategy
The District of Saanich is looking for input on its draft e-mobility strategy. You can complete the survey here or email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. The survey is open until Sept. 27.
Saanich has also created an info sheet about e-bikes to encourage more residents to adopt this climate-friendly mode of transportation. Check it out here.
To learn more about e-bikes firsthand, check out these Chamber-approved retailers!
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
The provincial government finally released the long-awaited South Island Transportation Strategy last week. The report pays lip service to a number of issues that matter to the region, but offers few details about how Greater Victoria can achieve those outcomes. It's notable that the document originally referred to as a "plan" has become a "strategy."
“There’s some indication about what they intend to do but they don’t say how and when they intend to do it,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams told the Times Colonist.
The study made mention of improved transit service to First Nations, and about the need for better transportation options serving the West Shore. Chamber chair John Wilson also noted that there was no mention of improving transportation governance in Greater Victoria. The Chamber has long advocated that this is needed to ensure decisions are based on what's best for the region rather than individual municipalities.
With a provincial election now underway, we're still waiting for real solutions to transportation issues on the South Island. We don't need to study what's already been studied. We need decisions that actually benefit people on their everyday commute.
The strategy also offered little insight into the future of rail on Vancouver Island. Plenty of money has been spent on studies and assessments, but we still don't know what will become of this transportation option. To better understand how Islanders feel about rail, the Island Corridor Foundation has released a survey aimed at anyone interested in transportation on the Island.
Take the Survey
Island Corridor Foundation: Member since 2020
The Chamber is setting up Election Panels to help our members get information on candidates running in Greater Victoria for the provincial election on Oct. 24.
We'll be collaborating with community chambers so make sure to save the following dates and plan to watch via Facebook Live!
Candidates have until 1 pm on Oct. 2 to register, so keep reading BizNews for the latest on when the Election Panels will be held, and who is running in your riding.
Buildings across the region were bathed in red light last night for Light Up Live, a movement supporting Canada's live events industry.
Restrictions on the number of people who can gather in one place have eliminated concerts, galas and ceremonies and other in-person events as we've known them. Many organizations, including The Chamber, have shifted to virtual events but the business model is much different than the one that supported a $100 billion industry before the pandemic.
B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan, announced last Thursday, offered little hope to the thousands of businesses and workers that earn a living from live events.
Greater Victoria's geographic advantages would seem to make our region a natural home for the proposed Ocean Futures Innovation Hub.
Last Friday, the federal government announced it was kicking in $100,000 to help complete a feasibility study for marine businesses in our region. The case for the hub will be crafted by the City of Victoria, the South Island Prosperity Partnership and the Association of BC Marine Industries.
Marine-focused businesses in Greater Victoria came together last year to call for a hub that could share resources, incubate innovation and increase the profile of the region as an international leader in ocean-based technology.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
South Island Prosperity Partnership: Member since 2017
The Royal BC Museum will soon have a major presence on the West Shore, after an announcement that a 14,000 square-metre facility is planned for Royal Bay in Colwood.
“Colwood is extremely proud to welcome RBCM’s collections and research building to our community, along with hundreds of jobs and significant construction investment," Colwood mayor Rob Martin said of the new archives that will complement the main museum in Victoria.
Building construction is expected to begin in 2021 and finish in 2024. The project will generate more than 950 direct and indirect jobs. The finished facility will improve research activities and open access to many of the seven million objects in the museum's collections.
That will help with the ongoing reconciliation process, Songhees First Nation chief Ron Sam said in the news release.
“Our Nation is looking forward to participating in the modernization of the Royal BC Museum. This project is an opportunity to tell the stories of our people, our history and our culture in the provincial museum in our territory."
Royal BC Museum: member since 1994
City of Colwood: Member since 2020
Songhees Nation: Member since 2017
As we continue to learn how to live with COVID-19, we need to support successful adaptations such as expanded service areas for restaurants and pubs. The summer experiment with sidewalk patios and outdoor seating has, by most accounts, been a success.
The Chamber applauds the provincial government by formally extending measures to allow expanded services areas for another year.
In May, BC's Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch began permitting food-primary, liquor-primary and manufacturer licensees, such as wineries, breweries and distilleries, to apply for a Temporary Expanded Service Area. These were originally set to expire at the end of October but the initiative will now run until October 2021.
As of Sept. 11, 1,073 permits were approved in BC after businesses received the green light from their local municipality.
The minority federal government has promised to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until next summer, and create one million jobs while continuing the fight against the pandemic, climate change and social inequality.
"Businesses need certainty that they will be supported as we all adjust to new ways of doing things or are able to return to currently restricted activities," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. "Today's Speech from the Throne says a lot of the right things but until we learn more details it's too soon to be anything but cautiously optimistic."
The speech included proposals to reform employment insurance and measures to retrain workers who were displaced by the pandemic. There was also a promise for federal funding for child care aimed at helping more women participate in the workforce. However, we share concerns about a lack of attention to economic fundamentals or rising debt levels. If the vote on the Throne Speech gets the required support from other parties to pass, we'll want more details about plans to help the tourism and hospitality sectors.