Thank you to everyone who came out last Thursday to The Chamber  and Tourism Victoria mixer presented by the City of Victoria and hosted by Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. Photos are online!

At the event Mayor Lisa Helps presented City of Victoria's "Good Jobs + Good Business = Better Community" which was drafted by The Mayor's Task Force on Social Enterprise and Social Procurement.

The actions in the plan are meant to help people who are out of the workforce get to work, and to grow a strong, inclusive economy at the same time.  Using an ecosystem-based approach to community economic development, the draft action plan focuses to a large degree on efforts to get the unemployed, underemployed and marginalized into employment.
 
The draft recommendations include: Leading Economic Change - make the mainstream economy more inclusive to ensure there is always an opportunity for everyone to prosper; Community Benefit Procurement - purchases should be leveraged to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the community; and Social Enterprise Development - strengthen and grow businesses already doing business with community benefit in mind and grow the social enterprise sector.

Find out more about the action plan at victoria.ca/economicchange.
 
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On the Move to Painless Parking
We need good transportation options for downtown - including parking.  
 
The Downtown Victoria Business Association is working through 32 parking-related initiatives, one of which is a new interactive map of private and publicly-owned parking spaces in the downtown core, broken up by parking type and whether they are monthly, hourly, or weekly. Check it out here! Better information on parking spaces should help drivers make more efficient use of them.
 
The City of Victoria is also hard at work, looking at how to add more on-street parking spots and free up room in its parkades to improve accessibility for short term parking. 
 
"Victoria is a city in its adolescence," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "We are no longer the small town where you can drive to your downtown destination just in time and expect to find a parking spot just where you want it. We are also not yet large enough to warrant large-scale public transit infrastructure. We are a growing community that is working to expand the transportation choices in our region and our downtown. The outcome will be the ability to use different modes - perhaps all in one trip - to get to where we work, live, and play."
 
The Chamber will continue to work closely with the City of Victoria and related stakeholders on the need for parking as part of this picture, to ensure local business interests are heard and that new approaches are explored.
New CEO for the Vancouver Island Construction Association

In late February Rory Kulmala will become the Vancouver Island Construction Association's new Chief Executive Officer. Rory has 25 years of industry-related experience, and brings with him strong relationships with key stakeholders within the Vancouver Island construction community. He has been involved in the private and public sector in many capacities, from business development, capital planning, and corporate governance to project management and quality control.

"I look forward to working with VICA's board of directors, staff, and its members to promote construction investment, operational excellence, and ethical best practices," said Rory. "I am committed to working hard for our members while promoting the capabilities and capacity of the 450+ VICA members up and down Vancouver Island." 
 

Vancouver Island Construction Association: member since 1986
Investing in Greater Victoria
The federal and provincial governments
A rendering of Camosun's new building
announced last week that through public and private investments, over $70 million will be invested in two major capital infrastructure projects at Camosun College and Royal Roads University (RRU). 
 
The funding includes $48.5 million for a new Health Science Centre at Camosun College's Interurban campus, and $15 million for the Centre for Environmental Science and International Partnership at RRU.
 
Approximately 179 direct and 117 indirect jobs are expected to be created as a result of the investment at Camosun, while approximately 73 direct and 52 indirect jobs are expected to be created as a result of the investment in RRU.
 
Greater Victoria's public and private education sector is a key driver of the regional economy. Not only are they preparing the labour force for the jobs of tomorrow, but their infrastructure spending, research projects, and partnerships with business and industry are robust, and have ongoing economic impacts.

Both projects are expected to be completed in spring 2018.
  

Camosun College: member since 1981


Royal Roads University: member since 1996
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.
Chances to Grow in Real Estate

On Mar 11 the inaugural Investment Expo, produced in part by Women's Real Estate Network (WREN), is anticipating to bringing 1500 first ­time home buyers and seasoned investors together to learn and share the most current insights on real estate. Information is related specifically to Victoria's hot real estate market, with topics such as affordable housing, accessing down-payment money from non-traditional sources, changes to mortgages, taxes, ownership and more.

"With no shortage of investment capital, stable, long-¬≠term economic growth predicted and ever increasing migration from Vancouver and beyond, it seems to be the perfect time for this event," said WREN Founder Liza Rogers. "The city is working on cutting red tape for developers, the 'old guard' is falling, and fresh faces in the region are determined to collaborate more in order to get things done."

50% of the ticket proceeds will go to the Greater Victoria Housing Society who will be on hand showcasing their involvement in education and access to the whole community.

Click here for more information.

Women's Real Estate Network (WREN): member since 2015
Greater Victoria Housing Society: member since 2012
Be a Part of The Chamber Team
The Chamber is seeking a dynamic, self-motivated person to join our team as an Account Representative. This position is responsible for new member sales and working with existing Chamber Members .

  The successful candidate will work in a fast-paced, dynamic environment with considerable scope to achieve Chamber membership objectives. The role demands an above average understanding of the needs of small business, the pressures that businesses experience and how best The Chamber can assist and help businesses grow.  Click here for more information or to apply

Short Term Vacation Rentals

With another hot tourism season expected, many are looking at short term vacation rentals as hosts, users, disruptive innovators, and competitors.
 
Last week, the City of Victoria's Committee of the Whole reviewed the report Short Term Vacation Rentals (STVRs) and had a workshop to explore related policy, regulation and enforcement recommendations.
 
The Chamber was busy, providing input to the City of Victoria relating to its position on both short term "home sharing" and commercial rentals, while encouraging City staff to also consider the ramifications of residential and non-residential property taxes on its STVR deliberations.
 
Further, The Chamber was in discussions with Airbnb about how it works with municipalities and complies with their regulations, and explored Airbnb's public policy tool chest, which outlines varying options such as "One Host, One Home." 
 
"As an international organization and a pioneer in the short term vacation rental industry, Airbnb has access to best practices from municipalities who have successfully regulated and integrated short term vacation rentals into their community," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt.   
Reaching New Heights
It was another record-breaking number of passengers for Victoria International Airport. The airport saw 1.85 million passengers last year, up by 8.5% over the year prior, exceeding the Victoria Airport Authority's expectations.

"We've seen consistently strong growth among our domestic air carriers," said Geoff Dickson, President and CEO of the Victoria Airport Authority. "Additionally, the new Delta Air Lines service to Seattle has increased our trans-border passenger numbers and increased capacity in the winter sunspot charter season resulted in higher international traffic."
  

Victoria Airport Authority: member since 1981

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