The University of Victoria broke ground today on 800 new on-campus homes for students. The $232.4 million housing project includes $128 million in provincial funding. The new units are expected to be ready for students in time for fall 2022.
With workforce homes in short supply in our region, the addition of on-campus housing will help free up much-needed rental units in the community.
A new five-storey, wood-frame building on Fifth Street will provide 64 affordable homes In Greater Victoria. The project is being built with up to $17.2 in interim construction financing from BC Housing's HousingHub program. Rent will range from $1,000 per month for a studio to $2,500 for the most expensive three-bedroom option. To qualify, renters must have household incomes between $48,000 and $100,000.
“I’m pleased that this project will provide good, affordable homes for working families that are close to their friends, work, vibrant business districts and community amenities,” Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming said in a news release.
Construction is expected to wrap up by spring. The building will include space for the Vancouver Island School of Art on the ground floor.
If you've been thinking about buying an e-bike for commuting or getting around, the provincial government hopes to make your decision a little easier with an updated rebate program.
"E-bikes are a much cheaper alternative to cars and are a safe way to travel," Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena said today in a news release. "We look forward to seeing more people using e-bikes for getting around.”
People can now trade in an old vehicle and get $1,050 toward the purchase of a new e-bike. The rebates, which have increased by $200 this year, are delivered by the Scrap-It program. As well, a one-year pilot program is offering a $1,700 rebate for business owners who purchase a cargo e-bike.
Check out: Greater Victoria e-bike retailers
Victoria is well positioned to become a centre for ocean innovation. A request for proposals has gone out to study the feasibility of increasing the value of the marine sector to Greater Victoria's economy.
The City of Victoria is working with the South Island Prosperity Partnership and the marine sector to explore the idea of an Ocean Futures Innovation Hub. It would be located in Victoria and foster an environment of entrepreneurship building off our region's existing marine industries and our location on the Pacific. Being home to Ocean Networks Canada, which yesterday announced a $29 million investment from the federal government, is a boon.
The Chamber supports innovation led by business. We look forward to helping build an Ocean Futures Innovation Hub in Victoria.
Farm sales reached record levels in 2019, and the provincial government says the growing sector could point the way to economic recovery.
BC reported $3.9 billion in farm cash receipts last year, with areas of growth including cannabis, dairy, beef and field vegetables.
“COVID-19 has opened our eyes to the importance of our province’s self-sufficiency," said Saanich South MLA and Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham. "I urge everyone to continue to show their appreciation for our farmers and support our local food system by making a special effort to Buy BC.”
The BC Farm, Fish and Food Job Connector was launched in May to help farmers find workers needed for this season's harvest. Last year's record represents on increase of $462 million in revenue from 2018.
To help Island farmers adapt to the changing climate, the provincial and federal governments have identified 11 strategies to increase resilience. With warmer and dryer conditions, new types of insects and more extreme weather events, farmers need to prepare for challenges and opportunities ahead, the report says.
Businesses across Canada are facing a difficult decision as they can’t afford to stay closed but are struggling with reduced revenue that doesn’t cover expenses. The paradox is reflected in the results of a survey released yesterday by Statistics Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
Getting through this difficult phase will be critical for the economy and requires businesses to overcome three key challenges.
To help our members learn more about how they can benefit from the wage subsidy program, as well as its tax implications, Chamber CEO Bruce Williams is hosting Matthew Hohnsbehn, Liaison Officer at the Canada Revenue Agency, and Kris Wirk, Partner, at Dusanj & Wirk Chartered Professional Accountants, on Aug. 11.
The first event in The Chamber's new Business Restart Series was held July 8.
Chamber CEO Bruce Williams moderated a panel of tourism experts: Indu Brar from the Fairmont Empress, Ian Robertson of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Randy Wright from Harbour Air Seaplanes.
The panel spoke candidly about the effect that the pandemic has had on their business, and how they're pivoting to get through the crisis. The Fairmont Empress, for example, has introduced Lunch on the Lawn every Saturday to attract locals. Brar said it is a "time for creativity" and our destination needs to do a little more work to remind British Columbians about our region's incomparable location.
"We live in one of the of the most beautiful places in the world," she said, adding there's no better place for people to find the human connection we're all craving.
The Chamber is working with all levels of government to ensure they continue to invest in the tourism sector to provide the certainty needed to get through until at least next year.
Wish you could have watched it live? Don't worry, click here to sign up and see the event.
A new system launched this week designed to make registering a business more efficient in Western Canada. The federal government — along with governments in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba — implemented the online Multi-jurisdictional Registry Access Service, a hub that allows corporate information sharing between the provinces, making extraprovincial registration faster and easier.
“People using this new service will find it easier to register their business in multiple provinces and efficiently complete necessary paperwork through one central hub,” said Anne Kang, B.C.’s Minister of Citizens’ Services. “This joint effort under the New West Partnership Agreement streamlines trade between our provinces and opens up the possibility of including other provinces and territories in the future.”
Canada Day also marks the official start of the Canada US Mexico Agreement on trilateral trade. The deal has been welcomed for providing long-term stability that will allow businesses to plan for a predictable future. However, there are also questions about the deal in light of the rapid pace of change that has occurred over the last several months.
“With trade between NAFTA members valued at nearly $1.5 trillion in 2018, we can't overstate how vital it is to maintain free and fair trade between our three countries," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 29.
READ MORE: CTV News - What 'new NAFTA' means for Canada
The City of Langford is launching a new campaign to support local businesses.
The municipality created IAmLangford.com to share photos and stories of business people who are finding ways to adapt and carry on during these uncertain times.
Starting this week, Langford Mayor Stew Young or a member of his council will be visiting businesses in the community to commit random acts of kindness. These include picking up the cheque for customers at a restaurant, covering the cost of a haircut or helping out with the bill at a business. The campaign was paid for by donations from the development community.
City of Langford: Member since 2019