The Victoria Police Department is warning businesses about a disturbing spike in property crimes to start the new year. A little more than half-way through January, there have already been more break-and-enters reported (28) than in all of December (26). Three-quarters of the crimes have been in downtown Victoria and the Burnside Gorge neighbourhood.
The break-ins are predominately taking place at unoccupied businesses, police say. Some of the crimes involve the removal of glass panes using specialized tools.
VicPD urges businesses to take precautions and asks anyone with information about the crimes to call 1-800-222-8477.
The Chamber advocates for safe communities as a fundamental requirement for people to be successful at work and in life. In 2020, this advocacy priority became more urgent due to increases in crime and the number of people experiencing homelessness. We will continue to call for adequate resources for police, and will keep an eye on municipal budget deliberations currently underway.
There's still time to tap into a provincial grant program that has been underutilized by BC businesses. The office of Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Murray Rankin has sent out a reminder to local businesses that they can access the program until funds are fully allocated, or March 31 — whichever comes first
Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available, while an additional $5,000 to $15,000 grant is available to eligible tourism businesses.
The province lowered barriers to the program on Dec. 18, but it still has had less uptake than expected. Businesses that sent in applications before the change will be reevaluated under the new criteria.
If you haven't applied, find out if you're eligible and submit an application here.
The City of Langford has agreed to rename Westhills Stadium in a deal that creates new revenue for major tenant Pacific FC. Under the largest sponsorship deal in Langford's history, Toronto developers Starlight Investments will reportedly pay more than $500,000 over five years. The stadium will be known as Starlight Stadium.
“This is a big deal, for Langford and for Pacific FC,” Langford Mayor Stew Young told the Times Colonist.
The border with the US will open sooner under a Joe Biden presidency than if Donald Trump had stayed in power, says Perrin Beatty, CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
With a more focused, hands-on approach to controlling COVID, Biden stands a better chance of putting the pandemic behind us than did the chaotic approach of the last administration.
Beatty was the guest of The Chamber, earlier today, for our latest Business Restart Series video. The conversation focused on Canada-US relations, which Beatty compared to resembling the "mating dance of the stickleback" under Trump.
However, Canadians shouldn't get too comfortable after today's inauguration. The Democrats have historically been more protectionist than Republicans, and relations will be more complicated than "Trump/bad, Biden/good."
Closer to home, Beatty says our immediate focus needs to be on controlling the pandemic in Canada. We've had a "crazy quilt of approaches" to stopping the spread of the virus, Beatty says. A national approach is needed rather than regional restrictions. The biggest risk to business is the yo-yo effect of opening and closing, which disrupts operations and makes planning impossible.
"What worries me when I look at it today, the Team Canada approach (we had in the spring of 2020) is fraying. People are feeling victimized and powerless," Beatty said, saying it's within each of us to use the tools and knowledge we have to stop the spread. "We're not powerless."
Missed the live event? Register online to access the video recording.
The Songhees Nation has received approval to open two retail cannabis stores in downtown Victoria. The Seed and Stone: Songhees Edition will be located at 901 Gordon St., with another outlet in The Bay Centre. The initiative will generate income for the Songhees but is an economic opportunity in other ways as well.
“Our members also have considerable interest in the jobs and training opportunities that will result from this project,” Songhees Chief Ron Sam said in a statement.
Western Interior Design Group is working on the design and build of the stores.
The City of Victoria approved the stores on Jan. 14, and the approval process has moved to the next step of provincial government review. The aim is to have the locations open by the spring.
There's still time to nominate someone for the BC Reconciliation Award. Nominations close Friday for the honour, which was launched by BC's Lieutenant Governor, the Hon. Janet Austin, in partnership with the BC Achievement Foundation.
"This award celebrates the promise of a shared path to reconciliation through the incredible work of leaders from all over British Columbia, whose commitment to recognizing past injustices and healing those wounds will lead us all to a brighter future."
The nominations process is open to any individuals and organizations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous identity who have shown exemplary dedication to asserting truth and reconciliation initiatives.
Greater Victoria has officially joined a continent-wide initiative to create high-performance buildings that reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The 2030 Districts Network is a non-profit organization working to transform the built environment in cities around the world and promote sustainability.
The Greater Victoria 2030 District consists of 36 buildings and 3.5 million square feet of space, represented by major property managers in the region: Anthem Properties, Colliers International, Cushman & Wakefield, Ivanhoe Cambridge, Jawl Properties, Richmond Property Group, Shape Properties, City of Victoria, District of Saanich and the Province of BC.
As changes to the way we live and work continue to transform our neighbourhoods, the City of Victoria is hoping to hear from businesses to help plan the future of Fernwood, North Park and Hillside-Quadra. City planners see the three urban villages as playing a key role in the decades ahead.
To learn more about how to engage with planning, go to engage.victoria.ca.
Businesses, local governments and non-profits can now access larger rebates through CleanBC's Specialty-Use Vehicle Incentive and Commercial Vehicle Pilot programs.
Vehicles eligible for SUVI rebates include medium- and heavy-duty vehicles such as electric-battery or hydrogen-fueled passenger buses, airport and port service vehicles and heavy-duty transport trucks, as well as smaller specialty-use vehicles such as motorcycles, cargo e-bikes, and low-speed utility trucks. Rebates will now cover 33% of the cost, up to a maximum of $100,000 per vehicle.
Organizations can also access $11 million for piloting unique or large deployments of medium- and heavy-duty or very large electric vehicles, such as domestic air, marine or rail transportation through the CVP program. Eligible applicants can compete to receive up to one-third of total costs in rebates for vehicles and charging or refueling infrastructure.
What does 5G mean for your business? At The Chamber's Public Policy and Advocacy meeting yesterday, TELUS's Vice-president of Business Products and Services, Marshall Berkin, explained how the new technology promises to transform our lives. The expanded capacity of 5G is about more than increased speed, as it will also enhance the reliability of networks and lead to amazing innovations by business. Everything from improving relationships between healthcare providers and patients to creating more engaged communities is already happening. Marshall has agreed to share his presentation here, and more information on 5G from TELUS can be found here.