Connect with the Greater Victoria business community at the April Business Mixer tomorrow, April 25, from 5-7 pm at Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour. Don't miss out - register today!
Vancouver St. bike lane takes shape
Updated plans for the City of Victoria's bike lanes show how Vancouver Street will be blocked to motor traffic in at least two locations where "street plazas" with trees and seating will be built as part of the city's All Ages and Abilities cycling network. The Vancouver Street plan replaces the previous plan for a bike lane on Cook Street.

"I was not expecting three new public plazas, 50 to 60 new parking spots, five new pedestrian crossings, no net loss of street trees and the addition of street trees," Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps told the Times Colonist. "I think this has come back tremendously. I'm delighted."

The city held an open house yesterday to highlight the changes that have been made based on earlier public feedback. The goal for the plan is to reduce traffic on the street from 5,600 (current volume) to 500 vehicles a day.

Detail of proposed changes to Bay Street.

Chamber News
Business Leaders Luncheons
April Business Mixer
Business Awards
YYJ Eats 2019
Event Photos
Upcoming Chamber Events

Urban Systems to carry out South Island Transportation Plan
Urban Systems has been selected to carry out a study looking into long-term transportation solutions for southern Vancouver Island.
The company won an open-bidding process for the South Island Transportation Plan, announced by the provincial government earlier this year. The plan will look into transit, cycling, pedestrian, ferry, rail and road services, including using the E&N corridor for commuting.
"I know people are frustrated with congestion and we want to find solutions that will get people moving," Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said in a news release. "I'm anticipating that this will lead to a comprehensive regional plan for all types of transportation."
Urban Systems work includes:
  • consolidating and updating previous transportation studies
  • reporting on current conditions
  • updating the 2007 Malahat corridor study
  • and, identifying multi-modal investment opportunities.
Urban Systems: member since 2014
$115 million to expand Highway 14; improve safety on TCH
The commute to Sooke will be a little easier, and safer, after upgrades announced yesterday are completed.
The provincial government is contributing $30 million and the federal government is adding $85 million to cover the cost of infrastructure improvements. The work will widen sections of Highway 14 and Highway 1, add median barriers and build a safer park-and-ride facility along the highway near East Sooke to make commuting by bus more convenient.

It's great to see the provincial and federal governments contributing infrastructure dollars to the region, but isn't it the purpose of the South Island Transportation Plan to ensure money is being spent on the right outcome?
Annual General Meeting & Mayoral Address
Residents of the City of Victoria and District of Saanich gave an enthusiastic yes when asked, "Are you in favour of spending up to $250,000 for establishing a Citizens' Assembly to explore the costs, benefits and disadvantages of the amalgamation between the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria?"

The Chamber is looking forward to a Citizen's Assembly examining the benefits for business resulting from amalgamation.

Hear how Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes plan to encourage this and other historic collaborations between the two municipalities.
Sponsored by:
Tue, May 7 | 11:30 am-1:30 pm 
Hotel Grand Pacific
463 Belleville St

Finding a better way to be influential
Message from Chamber CEO Catherine Holt   
This article originally appeared in the Times Colonist April 21.
What does it mean to be influential? At the Chamber, we recently rewrote our vision statement to set a goal of being "the most diverse and influential business association in the region."
For our board and staff, this means we are actively looking for members who reflect the diversity of our community - big and small businesses, established firms and startups, every industry and any sector. We want to connect with organizations led by people from many cultural backgrounds, any gender and all ages. If we're diverse, we're in a great position to be influential.
However, if you're a newcomer to the community, or your definition of gender is outside the mainstream, or you're seen as "too young" or "too old," you will too often feel the opposite of influence, which is powerlessness. 

Read Catherine's column on a better way to be influential .  

Prosperity index tracks region's economic indicators
The Chamber co-hosted the launch of  the South Island Prosperity Index 2019 last week. The initiative started in 2017 as a way to measure more than 100 indicators demonstrating various facets of our regional economic health.
Not surprisingly, housing affordability is an issue in Greater Victoria as real estate has been increasing in value faster than almost every other Canadian market.
On a positive note, Greater Victoria residents continue to have above average access to healthy opportunities, and have embraced sustainable living practices at higher rates than peer cities.
Read the full report here. See the photos here .
Take The Chamber's Membership Survey!
In just over five minutes, you can share your thoughts on your Chamber membership by taking our Membership Matters Survey.

Your Chamber membership provides you with discounts on our benefit programs, opportunities to connect with our members throughout the region and supports your business through our advocacy efforts. Are you accessing all we have to offer? 

Help us help you! Enter to win round-trip flights to Vancouver for two from Helijet
or two tickets to YYJ Eats by completing the survey.
Trade Accelerator Program

Full bursaries available for a limited time, for qualifying companies.

The federal government announced yesterday, April 23, that it's investing $1.5 million into the Trade Accelerator Program (TAP).  
Participating organizations experienced an average international sales growth of 70% within one year of completing the program. TAP can help penetrate new markets, and grow your workforce to meet increased global demand. Click here to watch a video on how TAP can help your business.

By enrolling in TAP Canada you can:
  • navigate complexities of the global trade ecosystem
  • leverage Canada's deep trade and investment resources
  • access tailored, face-to-face coaching and advice
  • learn about international best practices
This is a four-day course held over a six-week period. Victoria course dates are June 18, June 19, June 26 and July 24. Click here for more details.
Survey feedback will help Victoria with housing strategy
The City of Victoria is conducting an online survey to gather input on how the municipality can improve housing affordability.
Victoria Council has approved a strategic plan to support renters and look into other initiatives aimed at making it easier for citizens to afford housing. The City is in the process of revising the Victoria Housing Strategy. Our region is having ongoing struggles attracting and retaining good workers, and one reason is the lack of affordable housing options. Make sure you contribute to the plan
The Chamber continues to advocate for better solutions, including the need for non-market housing that uncouples our region's international real estate market from housing needed for a local workforce.
Fill out the survey here.
Members Around Town

Pacific FC inaugural homeopener 
Langford-based Canadian Premier League club, Pacific FC's inaugural game is set for April 28 at 4 pm against the HFX Wanderers at the newly expanded Westhills Stadium. After the match, Towers & Trees and Deep Sea Gypsies are leading a post-game concert and an 18-minute firework show will cap off the festivities.
Pacific FC: member since 2019 
Alcohol trial on BC Ferries this summer
According to CBC News, BC Ferries is planning a pilot project to serve alcohol on the Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay route. As part of the pilot, beer and wine will only be sold with the purchase of a meal, with a maximum of two drinks per passenger. Alcohol won't be sold before 11 am, and will only be available inside the Pacific Buffet, on the Coastal Celebration, Spirit of British Columbia and Spirit of Vancouver Island.
BC Ferries: member since 1983  
Concert Properties donates to Camosun 
BC's rugged coast is dotted with communities that are isolated and removed from educational and career opportunities. A recent $250,000 gift from Concert Properties will make it possible for Camosun College to bring a "trades-on-the-go" program and Red Seal trades training to youth in these communities. The program will run for the next three years, introducing more than 275 students to the trades.  
Concert Properties: member since 2012  
Camosun College: member since 1981   
YYJ Eats   
Experience an exciting variety of gourmet food samples, local wine, craft beers and specialty cocktails created and presented by s ome of Victoria's most   popular  restaurants, breweries, wineries, cideries & spirit makers .
Tues, Jun 4 | 5-7 pm
St. Ann's Academy Historical Site
835 Humboldt St.
Sponsored by:  
DFO hosts open house on protecting orcas 
Last night in Langford, the Department of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard hosted the first of three open houses to hear feedback on plans to protect orcas.
The next meeting is tonight in Sooke at the Prestige Oceanfront Resort, 6929 West Coast Rd. The final meeting is tomorrow in Richmond.
DFO is expected to announce new measures to protect southern resident killer whales (SRKWs) before the orcas return to the Salish Sea next month. The known range of SRKWs extends from southeastern Alaska to central California. During the summer months these killer whales concentrate off the southern end of Vancouver Island and northern Washington State, and are frequently sighted in Haro Strait, Georgia Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  
Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, who spoke at The Chamber's Business Leaders Luncheon on March 15, unveiled restrictions on Chinook salmon fishing on April 16 to preserve a major food source for SRKWs.
Last year, the federal government introduced measures such as a voluntary vessel slowdown on Haro Strait to reduce noise as well as doubling the distance that whale watching vessels need to keep from SRKWs.
On the U.S. side of the Salish Sea, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee earned praise last year for announcing a $1 billion plan to help save the orcas. However, the result will be considerably more modest as Washington lawmakers rework funding for the plan. 

Read more:
Insurance Reassurance

As a small business owner, sometimes it feels like you have to do it all. Making sure your business and staff are taken care of is no easy task especially when everyone's health and wellness directly affects the success of your business. On top of this, it can be stressful when unexpected problems come up that require an expert opinion - HR, accounting, legal, etc.

The good news is that The Chamber's Group Insurance plan, administered locally by Jack Insurance and Financial Services, looks after both sides of your business. It goes well beyond just providing you with health and dental coverage plans and includes a free "visit" to Business Assistance Service (BAS).

This confidential service provides access to up to six hours of professional accounting, counseling, legal or human resource advice by experts who understand the difficulties small business owners face. So when you have a challenging situation, you have somewhere to turn for support.

Keep your most important asset, your people, healthy and well taken care of with the Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan - the most popular employee benefits plan in Canada for small business. For more info or to register your business, call 250-383-9866 or email Rob Jack.

Jack Insurance and Financial Services: Member since 1998
Welcome to Our Newest Members!

The Chamber member
Chamber Name Tags
In response to members' requests, The Chamber has redesigned the name tags Chamber members can purchase. We increased the prominence of your business name while keeping your name clearly visible.

Need to get one of the snazzy new Chamber Name tags? Email us to order yours today.