Property crime has been one of the most visible signs of disruption caused by the pandemic. In response, the Downtown Victoria Business Association and the City of Victoria are partnering to provide grants to businesses affected by vandalism. The grants are available .
Up to $1,000 is available to eligible businesses located within the city. Affected businesses must be able to show proof — insurance deductible, police file number and repair receipts. For more information, email email@example.com.
Another building has been purchased by BC Housing to provide temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness in Greater Victoria. The province announced yesterday that 70 indoor spaces will be available after renovations to 225 Russell St. in Victoria.
“In order to hit our target of bringing everyone in tents in parks in Victoria inside by the end of April, this building is a necessary part of the plan,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, adding the plan is to renovate the site for use as long-term supportive housing.
Our Place Society will operate the shelter and help residents access support services as needed.
Make sure to register for our Business Restart Series with Shayne Ramsay, CEO BC Housing on May 11. Details below!
The District of Saanich is hoping to lead the way for Greater Victoria municipalities after council voted unanimously to reduce the speed limit on side streets to 30 km/h. Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes has reached out to other municipalities that had agreed to a previous plan to reduce speeds to 40 km/h. The hope is they will agree to a further reduction and can make a joint request to the provincial government. The default speed for streets in BC is currently 50 km/h.
Proponents note multiple benefits of reducing side streets to 30 km/h. Fewer collisions and better experiences for pedestrians and cyclists would immediately improve the many streets in Saanich without sidewalks.
The creation of 227 affordable rental units in downtown Victoria is an investment in our future workforce and our region's economy. On Tuesday, the federal government announced a $100 million loan for the Hudson Place 2 development at 1700 Blanshard St. The project features 245 multi-residential units in total. Most of those ear-marked for affordable housing will be rented at 30% of the local median income for a minimum of 16 years. As well, 49 units will rent for 70% below the median household income.
“People like teachers, nurses, shopkeepers, firefighters, paramedics, construction workers. Those people are finding it harder and harder to afford rent in Canada’s urban centres,” Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, told CHEK News.
As the economy rebounds, one of the biggest challenges facing employers is finding and keeping workers. Our region needs housing that is affordable in order to attract and retain a workforce.
Workers in the hard-hit tourism and hospitality industry are being deployed in mass-vaccination centres. The province announced today that 1,400 people who were laid off because of the pandemic are being re-trained to help clinical staff move people through the vaccination process. Tourism and hospitality workers bring an expertise in providing friendly service quickly in high-volume situations, with many able to offer logistical or language support.
BC plans to provide initial vaccination to everyone eligible in the province by July 1.
Less than a week after the City of Victoria voted to end daytime sheltering in parks by May 1, an announcement today provides more information on longer-term solutions for people experiencing homelessness. BC Housing has purchased properties to build permanent supportive housing in Victoria at:
Also announced today are supportive housing projects in the District of Saanich (2949 Albina St., 52 homes) and Central Saanich (1909 Prosser Rd., 39 homes), which were purchased through a partnership between the federal and provincial governments and the Capital Regional District.
The six projects will add more than 280 supportive housing units to Greater Victoria, which will allow everyone who needs shelter to be able to move indoors.
On Monday, Chamber CEO Bruce Williams was on CFAX urging everyone to stay compassionate in these difficult times. It hasn't been easy but better times are coming and we want to celebrate together when they arrive.
May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light. May good luck pursue you each morning and night.
St. Patrick's Day is usually a time for large gatherings and celebrations regardless of your culture or heritage. But with the end of the pandemic so close, we need to stick together and stay apart a little longer. Still, there are many ways we can celebrate safely. See our story below for great ideas on making the most of today and supporting local businesses. #ChamberLocalVicBC
Also, remember that special Provincial Health Orders are in place tonight restricting the service and sale of alcohol after 8 pm at restaurants, bars and pubs, as well as liquor and grocery stores. Establishments also need to close by 9 pm, unless full meal service is being provided.
WorkSafeBC is planning to have an increased presence at workplaces tonight and throughout spring break. Businesses are required to have updated measures and controls in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The future of housing in the District of Saanich is up for discussion as council is set to receive a report on March 22 with 74 recommendations. Saanich convened a Housing Strategy task force, which met 13 times between September and February.
The report ranks the priority of recommendations in specific areas of focus:
Residents will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the report. The Chamber continues to advocate for housing solutions that make life more affordable for the regional workforce needed for Greater Victoria's economy to thrive.
Renewed calls from the mayors of Victoria and Esquimalt for a regional police department need to be carefully considered in order to meet the best interests of Greater Victoria. The Victoria Police Department needs help. Victoria and Esquimalt account for about one-quarter of the region's total population of 400,000, yet VicPD is tasked with protecting a downtown that serves the entire region.
Before the pandemic, Victoria and Saanich were engaged in a Citizens' Assembly process that will examine the benefits and challenges of merging the two municipalities. One of the outcomes will be a better understanding of how Saanich and Victoria police departments can work together. After all, their role is to improve safety for citizens, many of who have daily lives that cross between municipalities.
Before the pandemic, The Chamber was encouraged that the Citizens' Assembly process, currently on hold until in-person meetings can be done safely, was the best way to move forward on better regional services. The concerns voiced by VicPD show how vital it is for that process to move forward as soon as possible.
An investment in seed production will help increase food security across BC, including on Vancouver Island. The province announced Monday that it is looking into adding infrastructure to increase local production of vegetable, grain and plant seeds.
“All seed producers in our area have been struggling to increase our production in order to keep up with increased demand," Saanich Organics' Theresa Heinekey said in the government's news release.
“Many seed producers are smaller, family-run farms that cannot afford their own seed cleaning and packaging equipment, but, by expanding the role of our food hubs to include those services, we can help solve that problem,” Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Lana Popham said.