A program to get more people out of their cars and onto e-bikes is proving popular for the District of Saanich.
The Community E-bike Incentive Pilot Program launched Oct. 12. It's aim is to provide 300 people with between $1,600 and $350 toward the purchase of an e-bike. As expected, the $200,000 allocated for the program is being claimed quickly. After the funds run out, the municipality will review the program to see how it fits with future climate programs.
Don't forget to pack your reusable bags when going shopping in the District of Saanich. The municipality's bylaw regulating single-use plastic bags came into effect Aug. 20. Saanich has created posters, till toppers and other printable resources for businesses to help with the transition.
The Chamber continues to work with Greater Victoria municipalities to ensure checkout bag bylaws align and support initiatives implemented by retailers in response to public demand.
An 115,000 square-foot Amazon distribution centre will be built on Victoria Airport Authority lands.
Construction on the centre will begin in September and is expected to be completed by fall of next year, according to a news release issued this morning. Amazon will use the facility as a "last mile" station to speed up delivery to customers.
The Chamber is part of a national network helping businesses build a more sustainable future. The Net-Zero Strategy includes innovations in supply chains and renewable energy as well as other actions.
"To ensure Canada’s pathway to net-zero is competitive, enhances investment, creates jobs for Canadians and promotes innovation, how we get there matters," states the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. "Investments that support business-led transitions, offset market development, and a predictable business environment are crucial to meeting these goals. Canada’s business community is eager to collaborate with government to develop the framework to enable the greatest economic opportunity for the next generation."
The Canadian Chamber is also playing a key role in advocating for a National Climate Adaption Strategy to protect people from increasing episodes of heat, wildfire and flooding.
Work done by The Chamber along with Greater Victoria municipalities helped pave the way for a change to provincial rules around banning single-use plastics and plastic bags. On Tuesday, the province announced it was amending BC's Community Charter to allow local governments to ban plastics without first getting approval from BC's Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
The City of Victoria has been at the forefront of the move to ban single-use plastics, and worked closely with The Chamber to ensure its regulation aligned with ongoing business practices. Consumers have asked for alternatives to plastics for years, and it was vital that regulations match the innovations businesses already had in place.
The Chamber also worked with the District of Saanich, the Township of Esquimalt, and the City of Colwood to ensure regulations are the same for businesses and consumers throughout Greater Victoria.
The future of transportation will include a blend of public and private options, with more convenient transit and car-sharing playing roles. A recently formed citizens' group, Better Mobility Saanich, has reached out to the District of Saanich to encourage adoption of services such as Evo, which currently has a fleet available in the City of Victoria. With Evo, members are able find cars parked within a "home zone" and pay a small fee that lets you drive as needed. When you're done, you park the car back in the home zone.
Financial support is available for First Nations and Indigenous entrepreneurs looking to produce or process food, or other associated activities. The BC Indigenous Agriculture Development Program provides up to $8,000 for specialized planning and coaching services to help develop food and agricultural businesses.
Food security is a priority for our region, and tapping into Indigenous knowledge about sustainable production on their traditional territories can only help as we continue to face challenges due to climate events.
The program is first-come first-serve and will be available until all of the ascribed funding is allocated.
A ferry between the City of Colwood and downtown Victoria continues to break waves. The Capital Regional District's Transportation Committee looked at the concept last week and decided the idea is worth a feasibility study. The CRD's board will now vote on May 12 to decide whether to work with the province and other partners to pursue the study.
"In a region surrounded by water, it would be irresponsible not to fully explore the feasibility of marine travel as one approach to addressing traffic congestion and achieving our active transportation and clean energy goals," Colwood mayor Rob Martin said in a news release.
Last year, BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins told a Chamber Business Restart Series that a ferry from Royal Bay to Victoria could make a profit. The route would connect to Ship Point and, potentially, Esquimalt and service commuters working downtown or at the naval base.
The City of Victoria is in the process of bringing back a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. The revised bylaw goes to final reading on April 15.
The bylaw has been approved by the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. The District of Saanich will vote on June 15 to restrict plastic bags in that municipality.
“The Chamber worked closely with the City to ensure the bylaw reflected the work already being done by businesses to reduce waste and look after customer requests,” Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Williams says. “The public asked for this change and businesses responded. Victoria is to be commended for shaping the bylaw to ensure adoption by businesses, and for using a model that allows for seamless adoption of these regulations across our region.”
Improved infrastructure and more environmentally sustainable buses are being welcomed by the University of Victoria. On Tuesday, the federal and provincial governments announced funding to provide BC Transit with six natural-gas buses that will replace diesel buses currently in the system. As well, UVic is getting an enhanced transit exchange on campus that includes better paths and bike storage to encourage students to cycle to school.
“This project will help us reach our goal of having 70% of all trips to and from campus facilitated by public transit or active transportation," UVic's president and vice-chancellor Kevin Hall says. "These transit improvements complement our Campus Cycling Plan and give our campus community and neighbours greener and healthier commuting choices from their doorstep to school, work and play.”
The new buses will be fueled by compressed or renewable natural gas, and replace buses at the end of their service life.
The federal contribution will be $4.9 million while the province will provide $4.5 million. The Victoria Regional Transit Commission and UVic will chip in $1.9 million.