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.
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.
If you have ideas on future uses of the former Oak Bay Lodge, the Capital Regional Health District wants to hear from you. The CRHD, a corporation of the Capital Regional District, has set up a website to engage with the community about the redevelopment of the lodge property. The senior care facility closed last summer, after moving all tenants to The Summit on Hillside Avenue.
“Working with the community to reimagine the future use of the property is a high priority project for the region,” said CRHD Board Chair Denise Blackwell.
For details on upcoming virtual open houses, as well as a feedback form and discussion guide, go to crd.bc.ca.
The City of Victoria has reached out for public input on its 2021 Draft Budget. Municipalities in BC typically begin their budget process early in the new year by compiling a wishlist that is then whittled down during deliberations. Victoria says it wants to keep any tax increase down to 1% plus inflation by focusing on essential services. To have your say on what Victoria is proposing, go to engage.victoria.ca to fill out a survey and get details on a Jan. 19 town hall.
With property assessments increasing across the board in the region, municipalities will need to adjust rates to cover their costs without increasing taxes for all property owners. The District of Saanich's website, which includes the graphic above, has good information on the financial planning process. The provincial government requires all BC municipalities to adopt their financial plans by March 31, and their annual tax rate bylaws by May 15 each year.
The Chamber will continue to advocate for fair rules to ensure municipalities don't burden businesses by raising commercial property taxes. As Chamber members, Victoria, Saanich, Langford, Colwood, Esquimalt and View Royal have shown leadership by ensuring fair financial plans. If you have questions or comments about the budget process in any of these municipalites, contact The Chamber at email@example.com and we will be happy to advocate on your behalf.
Can a gondola help make it easier to move commuters between the West Shore and downtown Victoria? It's not so far fetched.
Embracing opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be a major theme in 2021. The Chamber has long been an advocate for innovations led by business as the most realistic approach to mitigating climate change.
Colwood Mayor Rob Martin has a vision to turn 10-acres of city-owned land into a park-and-ride featuring a gondola to move people from a site behind the new Royal BC Museum archive building to a proposed ferry terminal at Royal Bay. The idea is to reduce space needed along the waterfront for a commuter ferry, which already has the blessing of BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins.
The Chamber supports the idea of reducing vehicle traffic between downtown and the West Shore, and we would like to see the province fund a study to determine the feasibility of Martin's plan.
The new year brings new assessments for property owners in BC. The real estate sector in Greater Victoria was a bright spot in 2020 and it's not surprising that assessments are up across the region.
A total of 8,947 properties sold last year, up 17.1% from 2019. The increased demand and limited inventory has raised house prices about 5 to 10% in the region.
In response, the province has raised the threshold for eligibility for the Home Owner Grant to $1.625 million. The province has also taken on administration of the grant, which was formerly done by municipalities.
To listen to Chamber CEO Bruce Williams discuss the state of real estate in Greater Victoria, check out our Chamber Chat with the Victoria Real Estate Board.
Canada's Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly said BC could have its own agency to help businesses bounce forward after COVID-19.
“We need to be much more focused on British Columbians’ realities and needs, and the pandemic has exacerbated this reality,” Joly said in a report by Postmedia this week. "When you look at other regions of the country, there is a very strong presence of the federal government. But that’s not necessarily the case as much in British Columbia.”
The Western Economic Diversification Agency currently serves BC as well as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Joly was a guest speaker last Friday at the South Island Prosperity Partnership's Rising Economy Week.
Joly, pictured above, spoke to Chamber members last year as part of our Business Leader Series of luncheons.
Meet the candidates: Chamber hosts discussion on priority issues for business in Victoria
The Chamber hosted a virtual Candidate Discussion today ahead of the City of Victoria's by-election on Dec. 12.
The panel featured five candidates selected for their experience and approach to business issues facing the city. We also think voters should be aware of which candidates are running as independents, and who is running on behalf of a slate. The five who took part in the discussion:
You can watch the video at victoriachamber.ca/vicbyelection. On the same page you can find the Questions and Answers open to all 11 candidates on the ballot.
For more information on when and where to vote, including for those who own property in the city but reside outside it, go to victoria.ca.