Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
January 6, 2021
As we start a new year, The Chamber is here to help
As businesses hit the ground running on a year that promises to be brighter than the last, The Chamber wants to remind you that we're here to help. We want to hear from you about what you need from us to make sure your business can get through the next year, and thrive in the years ahead.

In 2020, The Chamber played an active role in calling on all levels of government to provide emergency relief for business. Chamber CEO Bruce Williams told the Times Colonist that more help is needed to support tourism, hospitality, retail and the food and beverage industries.

“For these sectors of the economy to survive through the mandatory restrictions, and continue once the economy recovers, there needs to be assistance now.”
Property assessments up after strong sales in 2020
The new year brings new assessments for property owners in BC. The real estate sector in Greater Victoria was a bright spot in 2020 and it's not surprising that assessments are up across the region.

A total of 8,947 properties sold last year, up 17.1% from 2019. The increased demand and limited inventory has raised house prices about 5 to 10% in the region.

In response, the province has raised the threshold for eligibility for the Home Owner Grant to $1.625 million. The province has also taken on administration of the grant, which was formerly done by municipalities.

To listen to Chamber CEO Bruce Williams discuss the state of real estate in Greater Victoria, check out our Chamber Chat with the Victoria Real Estate Board.
Municipalities begin 2021 financial planning process
The City of Victoria has reached out for public input on its 2021 Draft Budget. Municipalities in BC typically begin their budget process early in the new year by compiling a wishlist that is then whittled down during deliberations. Victoria says it wants to keep any tax increase down to 1% plus inflation by focusing on essential services. To have your say on what Victoria is proposing, go to to fill out a survey and get details on a Jan. 19 town hall.

With property assessments increasing across the board in the region, municipalities will need to adjust rates to cover their costs without increasing taxes for all property owners. The District of Saanich's website, which includes the graphic above, has good information on the financial planning process. The provincial government requires all BC municipalities to adopt their financial plans by March 31, and their annual tax rate bylaws by May 15 each year.

The Chamber will continue to advocate for fair rules to ensure municipalities don't burden businesses by raising commercial property taxes. As Chamber members, Victoria, Saanich, Langford, Colwood, Esquimalt and View Royal have shown leadership by ensuring fair financial plans. If you have questions or comments about the budget process in any of these municipalites, contact The Chamber at and we will be happy to advocate on your behalf.
City of Victoria: member since 1962
District of Saanich: member since 2019
City of Langford: member since 2019
City of Colwood: member since 2020
Township of Esquimalt: member since 2020
Town of View Royal: member since 2020
Colwood gondola an innovative plan for commuters
Can a gondola help make it easier to move commuters between the West Shore and downtown Victoria? It's not so far fetched.

Embracing opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be a major theme in 2021. The Chamber has long been an advocate for innovations led by business as the most realistic approach to mitigating climate change.

Colwood Mayor Rob Martin has a vision to turn 10-acres of city-owned land into a park-and-ride featuring a gondola to move people from a site behind the new Royal BC Museum archive building to a proposed ferry terminal at Royal Bay. The idea is to reduce space needed along the waterfront for a commuter ferry, which already has the blessing of BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins.

The Chamber supports the idea of reducing vehicle traffic between downtown and the West Shore, and we would like to see the province fund a study to determine the feasibility of Martin's plan.
BC Ferries: member since 1983
Royal BC Museum: member since 1994
City of Colwood: member since 2020
In a volatile time, find out what's in store for Canada-US relations

Join CEO Bruce Williams and Canadian Chamber President and CEO Perrin Beatty on the afternoon of the US inauguration, as they discuss how the Biden presidency will impact Canada-US relations, and BC in particular.

Submit your questions for Beatty by end of day Monday, January 18, 2021.
Wed., Jan. 20 | 12-1 pm
Feedback sought on Oak Bay Lodge redevelopment
If you have ideas on future uses of the former Oak Bay Lodge, the Capital Regional Health District wants to hear from you. The CRHD, a corporation of the Capital Regional District, has set up a website to engage with the community about the redevelopment of the lodge property. The senior care facility closed last summer, after moving all tenants to The Summit on Hillside Avenue.

“Working with the community to reimagine the future use of the property is a high priority project for the region,” said CRHD Board Chair Denise Blackwell.

For details on upcoming virtual open houses, as well as a feedback form and discussion guide, go to
Capital Regional District: member since 1993
How is your business #ChamberLocalVicBC?
What does local mean to you?
The answer to that question will be key to ensuring Greater Victoria is able to recover from the pandemic and gain added resilience as we move forward.

The Chamber has always supported local business. Back to our founding in 1863, we helped Greater Victoria's economy thrive by serving as a unified voice for enterprise.

As we continue our Chamber Local campaign into 2021, we want to hear from you. What does local mean to your business and to you and your family? 

Contact Thomas at to submit a story for #ChamberLocalVicBC.

See what local means to other Chamber members here.
Chamber Job Board

During these extraordinary times, The Chamber’s Job Board connects employers needing help with employees in need of work.

Whether you’re a CEO, small business owner, or a manager looking for talent, finding and retaining employees is crucial.

Learn more about how to post on the job board here. ​If you have any questions about posting, please email
Each week, The Chamber will profile one of the 14 different award categories, encouraging members to nominate a deserving Chamber member.
Emerging Business Person of the Year honours a business owner or founder under the age of 35 who:
  • Has excelled in business
  • Exemplifies outstanding leadership and/or entrepreneurial skills in their field
  • Exhibits exceptional vision that contributes to business success, and
  • Demonstrates leadership and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Need some inspiration? Check out the videos of the 2020 Emerging Business Person of the Year finalists below. Thanks to Royal Roads University for sponsoring this award.
WINNER: Mike Walker, Roll.Focus. Productions
FINALIST: Erin Boggs, Robinson’s Outdoor Store
Learn how to submit a winning application
Thurs., Jan. 14 | 12-1 pm
Our Chamber Champions
Member News
Big support from Big Wheel Burger

Big Wheel Burger has raised $75,000 to support people experiencing food insecurity. Staff members chose to donate 20% of all tips to the cause, and that number was matched by Big Wheel Burger. The Big Wheel Burger Community Foundation will use the funds to directly support families and households struggling to put food on the table. 

Big Wheel Burger: member since 2020
Shop Local with Marketplace BC

Small Business BC has launched Marketplace BC, an online platform to showcase your business and find great local products and services. Funded by the Government of BC and the Government of Canada, the marketplace allows customers to shop locally and support entrepreneurs based in BC. Many Chamber members have already launched their free profiles — they can be seen here.
A tree-mendous initiative

Still looking to dispose of last year’s Christmas tree? The University of Victoria and Bartlett Tree Experts will be offering tree chipping from 9 am to 5 pm on Jan. 9-10. Donations will be accepted for the Vikes Cross-Country and Track teams.
University of Victoria: member since 1976
Bartlett Tree Experts: member since 2011
Sounds of the Symphony

The Victoria Symphony has announced the performances that will be appearing in the second half of its virtual season. Twelve concerts will be performed from Jan. 7 to June 24, including a performance of classical and modern Broadway songs. 
Victoria Symphony: member since 1984
The virtual TC 10K

The Times Colonist 10k will be hosted virtually this year from April 16-25. Early bird registrations are available now until Jan. 31. Cost is $35 for either the 10k or 5k race. Participants will also be given a race package that includes race bibs, T-shirts, finish-line tape and more. 
Times Colonist: member since 1961
Addition to Swan Lake Sanctuary

The District of Saanich has purchased a parcel of land that will be added to the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary. Aiming to add more green spaces for future generations, the 160 acres of protected land creates an opportunity to see a wide variety of native plants and more than 180 bird species

Corporation of the District of Saanich: member since 2019

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary: member since 2014
Donation Drive for the Neighbourhood

Capital Daily’s Holiday Donation Drive for local families in need raised more than $150,000 for the United Way of Greater Victoria

Funds will be used to help neighbourhood houses in Greater Victoria, providing counselling and outreach, childcare programs, food security programs and more. Donations were matched by Heart Pharmacies, Jawl Properties and anonymous donors.

Capital Daily: member since 2020
United Way of Greater Victoria: member since 1972
Heart Pharmacies: member since 2001
Jawl Residential: member since 2019
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