Join us for the July Business Mixer tomorrow, July 18, from 5-7 pm at Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA.

Message from Chamber CEO Catherine Holt  
This article originally appeared in the Times Colonist on July 14.
 
As CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, I'm all for efficiency and budgeting oversight. Policing costs must be controlled, especially as population grows. But does it make sense for the Victoria police chief to have the never-ending job of trying to wring enough money out of Victoria and Esquimalt councils to keep the department from imploding?

We have four municipal police services in the region: Oak Bay, Central Saanich, Saanich and Victoria. And RCMP detachments in Sooke, North Saanich/Sidney and the West Shore.

Victoria and Saanich are committed to a Citizens' Assembly exploring the benefits and costs of amalgamation. An obvious top-of-the-list topic for the assembly is a combined police force.

I am going to boldly assert that Victoria and Saanich are the urban and suburban parts of a single community with an indistinguishable and inexplicable border dividing them. With this in mind, let's look at a few facts.
 
Read Catherine's full column on why a regional police force is a better option to ensure we have a safe and affordable community to live and work.
Chamber News
Events
Day at the Track
Roundup at the Roundhouse
Women Business Owners' Roundtable
July Business Mixer
37th Annual Dinner Auction Gala
Event Photos
Upcoming Chamber Events
Court overturns plastic-bag bylaw, but businesses already responding to public 

Don't expect to see single-use plastic bags blowing in the breeze downtown after a decision by the BC Court of Appeal to strike down the City of Victoria's plastic bag bylaw.
 
For some time, businesses have responded to changing public expectations by offering alternatives to single-use bags at the checkout counter. Chamber CEO Catherine Holt was on CFAX after the ruling explaining why this is one reason it was important for the city to listen to businesses before implementing the bylaw.   
 
The Chamber worked extensively with city staff to ensure businesses had a say. We also successfully advocated for Saanich to adopt the same regulation, ensuring consistency for customers and businesses regardless of municipality.
 
The court ruling might give politicians a pause -- Saanich is reviewing its decision to adopt Victoria's bylaw -- but the public has moved on and we think businesses will continue to reflect that. 
 
Public expectation is also the driving force behind the federal government's plan to ban single-use plastics across Canada by 2021. Innovation led by business works. 

City of Victoria: member since 1981
 
District of Saanich: member since 2018 
Navy contract secures hundreds of jobs  

A $500-million contract will provide about 400 jobs per year in Greater Victoria, as well as hundreds of other jobs related to the marine sector.

The five-year deal was signed in Esquimalt yesterday at Seaspan Victoria Shipyards, and is part of the federal government's $7.5 billion investment to maintain the Canadian Navy's 12 Halifax-class frigates until the 2040s. Another $500-million deal was also announced at Chantier Davie shipyard in Quebec.

The value of the initial contract is linked to ship maintenance schedules and the cost of shipyard labour rates and projected conditions, as well as work needed on each ship.

The 12 frigates were built in the 1990s and are the workhorses of the navy.


Seaspan Victoria Shipyards - Member since 2002

CFB Esquimalt - Member since 1979
Ralmax buys Esquimalt Drydock company
 
Last week, the Ralmax Group of Companies announced it was purchasing Esquimalt Drydock Co. for an undisclosed sum. Ralmax owns Point Hope Maritime, giving the company two yards that can service vessels of varying sizes.

The Esquimalt Dry Dock can handle ships up to 100,000 gross tons, including large BC Ferries' vessels. Point Hope counts among its customers some of the smaller vessels in BC Ferries' fleet.
 
Ralmax Group of Companies: Member since 2011
SUMMER SOCIAL SERIES:  
 
Spend an unforgettable afternoon at the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit - coined "the most beautiful track in the world" by Autoweek Magazine. Hang out in the Paddock Lounge sampling delicious food and cold beverages, then take a tour of this amazing facility.

Feel the need for speed? Take your experience up a level by trying the race car simulator or ride along in a luxury racing car for a couple of hot laps of the circuit.
Sponsored by: 
Fri, Aug 16 | 2-5 pm      
Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit
4063 Cowichan Valley Hwy.   
   
         
     
 
The Summer Social Series transports you to a new location where you will enjoy a memorable event connecting over great food and local wine, beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic options
Project adds 50 affordable rental units 
 
Construction has started on 50 new affordable rental homes in Colwood. The project is being built through HousingHub, an initiative that works with government, non-profits and the private sector to help house middle-income British Columbians.
 
The provincial government is providing interim construction financing of $9.7 million for the Colwood development, which is aimed at people with household incomes between $52,000 and $66,000.
 
Affordable housing is key to ensure the region has a robust workforce needed by Greater Victoria employers during this time of historically low-unemployment.
SUMMER SOCIAL SERIES:  
 
Yeehaw! Featuring gourmet appetizers, BBQ sliders, mac n' cheese and pie chef stations catered by Food For Thought Catering. Quench your thirst with local BC wine, craft beer and non-alcoholic cocktails. Kick up your boots with some line dancing.
Sponsored by: 
Thu, Sept 5 | 6:30-8:30 pm      
The Roundhouse at Bayview
80 Saghalie Rd.   
   
          
   
 
The Summer Social Series transports you to a new location where you will enjoy a memorable evening of connecting over great food and local wine, beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic options.   
Members Around Town
 
Hot Coffee Coming Thru
This summer, Starbucks will begin its official Canadian launch of Starbucks Delivers. Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto get the service first but, with luck, your next urgent deadline that has you chained to your desk will not be without your caffeinated beverage of choice.   
Starbucks Coffee Canada: member since 2012    
Top 5 in Canada - of course! 
Travel + Leisure released its "Top Five Cities in Canada" list and Greater Victoria makes the cut, rubbing shoulders with major cities such as Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto and Quebec City. Best of all, the ranking is based on real reader experiences. People rated cities on their sights, landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping and overall value. Well done! 
 
  
Reliable New President  
Local leader in green building controls, Reliable Controls, has announced Thomas Zaban is taking on the role of president as founder Roland Laird will be retiring at the end of this year. Zaban has been with Reliable Controls since 1996, building the company's brand and global share.
Reliable Controls Corp: member since 2003      
Built Iron Strong 
Capital Iron celebrates an epic 85 years doing business in Victoria. From its roots as a scrap business in 1934, it has evolved into a modern day general store with a little bit of everything. Third generation owners Eveline and Mike Black were the first to expand beyond their iconic waterfront location in downtown Victoria to Sidney and Langford.
Capital Iron: member since 2004    
Hot Rod takeover     

That delicious rumble you hear on streets this week must mean Northwest Deuce Days is back! The largest gathering of iconic hot rods officially returns tomorrow and runs through Sunday with a series of events showcasing the unmistakable grills of 1932 Fords and other classic cars. There will be about 1,400 "rolling works of art" on display this year. The event started as a passion project by Al Clark in 1996, and was taken under wing by Destination Greater Victoria ahead of this year's event.  

Destination Greater Victoria: member since 1988  
New Event!

The Chamber invites members who are women business owners to attend our inaugural roundtable discussion. Attendees will be able to network and discuss views and concerns on a range of topics with business owners from a variety of sectors in our community.

Attendees will be provided with a light breakfast, coffee, tea and other refreshments.

Thu, Sept 26 | 7:30-9 am 
Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA
146 Kingston St.

2020-21 Board Election Nominations
Interested in running for the Board of Directors of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce? Click here for key dates, and information about the nomination process and voting procedure. Additional questions can be directed here.
 
The Chamber works together to build good business and great community. It is our vision to be the most diverse and influential business association in the region.

Nominations close Tue, July 30 at noon.  
Spec tax a cash windfall for the province
 
Initial numbers from the provincial government show the speculation tax is bringing in much more revenue than forecast, and a much higher than expected percentage of people paying the tax are not British Columbians.
 
The provincial government expected that two-thirds of people paying the tax would be from this province. However, the numbers show only one in five are from BC. Almost 40% are foreign owners and a further 27% are families who earn most of their income outside Canada.  
 
The tax was expected to raise $87 million in 2018, but has already brought in $115 million. The revenue reflects the higher than expected value of secondary homes subject to the tax, the province says. Minister of Finance Carole James expects the tax to bring in about $200 million a year, once the levy is in full effect. 
Chamber Members - #Social

 
Anyone who has interacted with a Chamber member knows we're a very social group. And we're only getting more social - in fact our directory listings boast more than 4,590 different ways to connect with our membership.

More than 69% of our members have Facebook on their directory listing and 56% of our members have Twitter. And those are only two of the choices out of 14 different social media channels available to you for your listing in our directory. The latest options include: Trip Advisor and Houzz. Are you up to date?

Make sure you take advantage of these options to increase your online presence, improve your SEO and market your business. The best part - besides it being free - you don't need to be a web guru to update your listing. Simply login at The Chamber or send us your social media links and we'll update for you.

And when you share news through your networks, make sure to tag The Chamber so we can share it too! @ChamberVictoria  
Welcome to our newest 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.