BC Assessment has released its latest property assessments based on what it deemed to be the market value as of July 1, 2021. The demand for Vancouver Island real estate has resulted in significant increases across all property types. The total assessment for the Island is $343 billion, up from $269 billion the year before.
The increased assessment doesn't necessarily affect your property tax bill. But, on that note, The Chamber will continue to work with municipalities on behalf of businesses to ensure a fair tax burden. In 2021, Greater Victoria municipalities charged businesses a tax mulitple between 2.02 and 13.27 times what they charged residential properties. It's something we'll keep an eye on as municipalities begin their budget processes.
Businesses in BC are facing a new challenge as Omicron spreads rapidly through our communities, including workplaces. The province has re-introduced temporary restrictions and health authorities are continuing to assess the full impact of the new COVID-19 variant.
On Jan. 7, the province also ordered all businesses to reactivate their COVID-19 safety plans.
Employers are advised to expect a significant number of staff will be unable to work because of illness. As of Jan. 1, BC requires employers to provide five days of paid sick leave. The province has also stepped up its campaign for providing booster doses to everyone over the age of 18.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is calling on everyone to protect each other by doing the things we did earlier in the pandemic that helped reduce transmission. For example, businesses can encourage all employees to be fully vaccinated.
"This is not where any of us want to be, but we are also not where we were at the beginning of the pandemic," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. "We have the experience and tools to get through this wave, and we can make sure businesses are ready to return to regular operations as soon as possible."
The provincial government recently announced new financial relief for businesses forced to close due to the new restrictions.
The Chamber is currently reaching out to members to better understand what they need during this time. We encourage any member who needs help to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we head into the heart of the holiday season, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has put together a wish list for a few of the things we want in 2022:
"Good business builds great community, and we look forward to helping our members connect and grow in 2022," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. "We'll continue working on our advocacy efforts to ensure business can get the investments they need to continue leading the way on sustainability, inclusion and resilience."
Let us know what your wish is for the business community in 2022, and how we can help you achieve success in the year ahead.
A major project that promises to boost Greater Victoria's tech sector and bring hundreds of good jobs to the region is going to public hearing this Thursday.
TELUS Ocean, a 12-storey office tower with a striking design, is planned for what's known as the Apex site across from the Victoria Conference Centre in the City of Victoria. TELUS Business plans to use the office as its regional headquarters and an innovation hub showcasing advanced communications and information technology.
The project is being led by Aryze Developments, who have crafted a proposal that promises to add new, vibrant public spaces to the area along with the world-class iconic architecture.
Supporting your neighbours starts with thinking locally.
“In an effort to help people choose to shop at Greater Victoria retailers this holiday season, The Chamber is putting our money where our mouth is and paying the cost of shipping,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. “We all benefit from a strong regional economy and it’s up to each of us to do our part to help with the ongoing recovery.”
Effective immediately, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce is encouraging holiday shoppers to choose local. The Chamber will cover the cost of shipping for items purchased from Chamber businesses and delivered by proud Chamber Courier partners.
The last two years have been challenging for retailers, but the forecast is for Canadians to spend more this holiday season. The Retail Council of Canada recently released a survey that shows people are feeling more confident with their finances this year.
Buying online from local retailers is also a good way to support our economic recovery and conserve a little gas by letting someone else do the delivery.
For more information on The Chamber’s Shop #ChamberLocalVicBC campaign, visit our website at victoriachamber.ca and make sure to follow us on social media.
If your business is interested in taking part in this initiative, please email email@example.com right away.
Media Coverage: Shop #ChamberLocalVicBC
A plan to remake Mayfair Shopping Centre as a mixed-use destination will be based on feedback from the community. The owners of the mall have hired Ascend Planning to do public engagement for the project. A plan will be submitted next spring, after a series of open houses this fall.
The long-term vision calls for commercial, residential and semi-public areas.
The deadline for registering with the BC government's Land Owner Transparency Registry has been extended to Nov. 30, 2022. The database was created to fight money laundering and will create a record of "beneficial owners" of property in BC.
According to the province, beneficial owners include:
The extension was granted to help ensure more property owners are able to comply with the regulation.
The Chamber is lending our voice to a coalition working to protect the future of the cruise industry. The coalition, spearheaded by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, is calling on the federal government to immediately engage with the United States to ensure cruise ships continue to stop in Canadian ports such as Victoria.
The urgent effort is needed after the US Congress passed a temporary exemption to the US Passenger Vessel Services Act. The exemption was a response to Canada closing its ports in May 2021, and effectively allowed cruise ships to bypass Canada.
Until that exemption was signed into law, the PVSA had required foreign-flagged ships sailing from US ports to stop at an international port. The law has helped grow the Canadian cruise ship industry as BC ports have become a popular stop for ships on the way to Alaska.
However, there are new threats to permanently end the requirement for ships to stop in Canada on the way to Alaska. This could be devastating for places such as Greater Victoria, which has many businesses that cater to the cruise ship season.
A new report reveals that 43% of office space being built outside the region's core is already pre-leased. One of the examples cited is Plexxis Software, which is constructing a six-storey concrete and glass headquarters in the City of Langford. The 60,000-square-foot office next to Langford Lake is expected to be finished by 2023.
A return of office workers from their home offices is also expected to reduce vacancy rates in downtown Victoria.
One of the innovations that helped business weather the uncertain days of the pandemic was the expansion of outdoor service areas. The ability to enjoy a beverage or bite to eat outside was so well-received, the District of Saanich is extending the initiative until June 2022. Businesses are able to add patio service in their parking lots, allowing them to increase customer capacity and meet public demand.
“This patio (rule change) came out and it was a godsend, and it has since turned out to be a remarkable success story,” Victoria Caledonian Distillery and Twa Dogs Brewery owner Graeme Macaloney told the Saanich News.
In the same article, Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said the rules have helped business hang on to valuable members of their team. To hear more from Mayor Haynes, including his announcement that he is seeking re-election in 2022, make sure to check out his recent Chamber Chat with Chamber CEO Bruce Williams.
Click here for a list of Chamber members who offered patio service during the pandemic.