The 34th Annual Dinner Auction included cocktails, dinner as well as a silent and very lively live auction. Thank you to our silent and live auction donors, our host Union Club of BC and sponsors Maximum Express Courier, Freight & Logistics, Pacific Coastal Airlines, Royal Roads University and Decorate Victoria.

Click here to see the photos.
The Pain of Parking

We are hearing quite a lot about parking downtown recently - downtown businesses say there is a lack of parking, which is forcing customers to go elsewhere.
We have a booming economy and growing population. Victoria has the seat of government, it is also the daytime working centre and the region's night-time playground. We need to facilitate the movement of commercial vehicles, employees and residents to and from the downtown core, without which - all of our region's businesses will suffer.
"It does not make sense for the City of Victoria to be resolving this issue in isolation," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. " A long-term, sustainable solution to parking that supports Victoria's vibrant core and commercial district will require coordinated urban development and transportation strategies involving Greater Victoria's 14 local governments - including CRD."
Chamber News
Opportunities and connections
Chamber Events
Chair's Holiday Reception
Prodigy Group Mingles
Business Mixers
Need to Get Your Message to the Business Community?
Consider advertising in Business Matters! Distributed to 2,000 business owners and decision-makers in our community, and also available in a digitized format on The Chamber's website.

Book your advertising for 2017 and save up to 25%! If you book Business Matters ads you'll also unlock special deals on BizNews or box ads on The Chamber's website. The Chamber's online advertising options are a great way to get more responses to a survey, advertise an event or promote a sale.

For more information click here and to book give us a call at 250-383-7191.
Taxing Taxes
The new report by the independent Commission on Tax Competitiveness was presented to the Minister of Finance last week to further enhance competitiveness for BC businesses.
The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce was pleased to read the report's short-term recommendations to address issues relating to the complex administration of the PST.
The Chamber was particularly pleased to read the report's focus on a made-in-BC valued-added tax (VAT), which will simplify tax-related administration. A VAT would help strengthen BC's competitive position nationally and globally, helping to attract visitors, workers and investment to Greater Victoria, supporting local businesses.
The Chamber was disappointed to see a lack of focus in the report on local governments' propensity to subsidize residential taxpayers by unfairly burdening business with property tax levies far in excess of the services they utilize. 
"What we most often hear from local business leaders and owners is their commercial property taxes do not stand the test for value," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "We question whether a municipality can justify its decision that determines a business consumes up to four times more municipal services than a resident." 
The Chamber's position is that fair and competitive residential and business taxes, a competitive cost of living, as well as a regional approach to economic development, contributes to a healthy, resilient and growing economy. 
Know an Outstanding New Business?
This award honours a new business (3 years or less from the date of incorporation) that:
  • Has achieved outstanding business performance in a short period of time;
  • Demonstrates exceptional promise of continued growth;
  • Serves as an inspiration for other new businesses; and
  • Demonstrates a commitment to the community.
If you do, nominate them for the 2017 New Business Award!

Need some inspiration? Check out the videos of the 2016 New Business of the Year finalists below.  

Winner: Kingsters Bin Sanitizing Services Ltd.
Finalist: Metrics Chartered Professional Accounting
Festival of Trees Celebrates 25 Years
The BC Children's Hospital Festival of Trees is celebrating their 25th Anniversary with a record breaking 85 trees across two locations! The Bay Centre will be home to 65 trees and The Fairmont Empress will host 20 trees.

Funds raised through the festival will go toward the Excellence in Child Health Fund which supports research into childhood diseases, life-saving equipment, rehabilitation, and the most urgent needs of the hospital.

The festival runs now until Jan 3, 2017 - plenty of time to cast your vote!

BC Children's Hospital: member since 2016

The Bay Centre: member since 1990

The Fairmont Empress: member since 1962

Keep your most important asset - your people - healthy and well taken care of with the Chambers Plan - the most popular employee benefits plan in Canada for small business. Click here for more information.
Need Leadership in Affordable Housing
Business owners and leaders are increasingly concerned about the scarcity of affordable housing - private and subsidized - available to the workforce, particularly those workers making low to moderate incomes.
Affordable housing units can help attract workers to Greater Victoria, bringing new life and vibrancy to established neighbourhoods. With more people come more shops and restaurants and the like, supporting local business growth. All this means local governments collect more residential and commercial property taxes, which they can invest in public amenities, parks and transit .
"We are increasingly hearing that non-profits that have both the money and land to provide new housing units are struggling with rezoning approvals, facing intensive public engagement that incurs high redesign costs as well as lengthy project delays," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. " Our concern is when municipal Councils allow the vocal minority to stall much-needed housing development, especially when such voices counter deeply-researched and thoroughly considered recommendations. We need strong land-use and transportation leadership."
In 2016, the Province announced $75 million for new affordable housing units in Greater Victoria, which should be located in areas with easy access to daily needs.

Expanding Flight Destinations
Effective December 24, Helijet International  will expand its service to include weekend flights between Nanaimo and Vancouver. Helijet currently offers  six roundtrips each day between its Nanaimo Harbour Heliport and Vancouver Harbour locations. The expanded service will see Helijet offer three roundtrips a day on Saturdays and Sundays.
"Since starting service to Nanaimo and the mid-island, we've had many conversations with business and leisure travelers about weekend service," said Rick Hill, Helijet Vice President of Commercial & Business Programs. "Our Vancouver Island and our Lower Mainland customers have all said they would welcome the addition of weekend service."

Helijet International Inc.: Members since 1987
Welcome to Our Newest Member!   


Technology to Help Women
Apple IT Support company Mac Zen has partnered with local non-profit Bridges for Women Society to expand access to technology for women impacted by violence or abuse.

As people replace their Apple equipment with newer models, Mac Zen will take used, donated Apple devices in good condition expertly clean them, securely erase the hard drive, and reinstall an operating system. Bridges for Women will issue a tax receipt to the donor for fair market value upon request.

"If you're considering passing on your old devices," sais Mac Zen owner Aitan Roubini, "Mac Zen is happy to accept them. Instead of going to the landfill, your old tech will help deserving women reclaim their lives."

Mac Zen Consulting: Members since 2014
Bridges for Women Society: members since 2013

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