Chamber staff took part in the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting this week, helping adopt a number of policy resolutions that address important issues for our members.
"By joining with our Chamber network, we can amplify our calls for government to better serve Canadians by focusing on helping the business community," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. "Greater Victoria shares many of the concerns of other regions in Canada, such as ensuring indigenous communities are included in conversations about local economies and advocating for investment in marine industries in Canada."
The Chamber also heard from a panel of experts on what to expect after next Tuesday's elections in the US.
“I just hope that everybody doesn’t retreat into their corner of the sandbox and play by themselves because this will cause both health risks and economic collapse,” said panelist David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2016 to 2019.
The Capital Regional District has launched a new program to help businesses in the region check the efficiency of faucets used for hand-washing. If the faucet isn't operating at maximum efficiency, the CRD will replace the faucet's aerator for free.
The new aerators use less than two litres of water per minute, compared to as much as 11 litres per minute in older faucets. The update can save businesses money and waste less water. The regional district estimates that 25% of all water in Greater Victoria is used for commercial and industrial purposes. That adds up to 10 billion litres per year.
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The Chamber strongly supports Greater Victoria mayors who are calling on the new provincial government to do better to improve regional transportation on southern Vancouver Island. Specifically, we have been calling for a regional approach to how transportation is governed. We need to think broadly to address transportation issues and take advantage of opportunities to create 21st century solutions.
The mayors of Saanich, Victoria, Colwood and View Royal were among the group that co-authored a letter to the province.
The Chamber supports efforts to protect the environment from harmful single-use plastics, and we call on governments to work with businesses to support innovations that address these concerns.
Today's announcement from federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to eliminate waste plastic by 2030 is welcome news. The plan is to target single-use plastics, specifically plastic checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and hard-to-recycle food containers.
Having a national strategy will help ensure the rules are standardized so that businesses understand their requirements. The public has, for many years, supported businesses that provided alternatives to plastic waste. Going forward, governments need to ensure they are following the lead of the public and businesses in order to get the best response to this new initiative.
We are starting to get some perspective on the pandemic and what we've been through and where we're going. However, back in the spring, the world was a much more uncertain place and BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins says he's proud of how his team rose to the challenge.
Collins, who was the guest of The Chamber's Business Restart Series yesterday, says his team at BC Ferries stepped into the unknown in order to meet its mandate and keep alive vital supply chains and transportation services to remote BC communities.
Collins also offered hope to commuters enticed by the idea of a ferry between Colwood and Victoria.
"We really think there's a business case here," Collins says, detailing the cost and timelines that show the service is viable.
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One of our region's most famous landmarks is taking the winter off to freshen up and modernize its heating system. The storied 112-year-old Fairmont Empress Hotel announced this week that it will be closed from January to April. The $3 million upgrade will make the building more energy efficient — always worth the effort. The work is timed for what is traditionally the slowest season for tourism in the region.
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
A major new development in the City of Colwood will broaden the municipal tax base, create jobs on the West Shore and potentially ease transportation issues in Greater Victoria.
“One of our solutions to (traffic congestion) is that we need to begin to create more jobs here in the West Shore,” Colwood Mayor Rob Martin told the Times Colonist.
The proposed Allandale District — being developed by Omicron Canada with a Vancouver partner — is going through the approval process with Colwood council.
The development would cover 20 acres on four parcels, including a former gravel pit and rock bluffs along Allandale Road and on both sides of Veteran Memorial Parkway.
The District of Saanich is continuing to explore a longstanding plan to create a municipal hub along the Uptown Douglas corridor.
On Monday night, Saanich council asked staff to clarify a few items before sending the proposal to public hearing. The plan looks at the potential use of a 155-hectare area for the next several decades. The goal is to make the gateway to Greater Victoria's core a catalyst for housing, transportation and economic development. Saanich Mayor said he expects staff to report back with their findings next month.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has submitted its ideas to the federal government for driving the economy forward as the country emerges from COVID-19 restrictions.
In a pre-Budget submission, the Canadian Chamber has listed recommendations that reduce regulatory burden, rethink taxes, encourage innovation and get Canadians back to work.
A total of 33 recommendations aimed at promoting private-sector growth and competitiveness are being presented to the federal government to consider ahead of its critical 2021 Budget.