BizNews
November 6, 2019
Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
Greater Victoria residents face regiona l tax hi ke
The Capital Regional District has approved a provisional tax increase of 6.2% — twice the rate of inflation. The CRD requires an operating budget of $278 million for 2020, including $72.9 million from direct taxes. The rest comes from user fees charged to municipalities. That’s 8% higher than last year, CBC reports .

CRD board chair Colin Plant, a Saanich councillor, says the increase amounts to $1 per week per resident, which can add up to several hundred dollars per year for families. Most of the new costs will pay for wastewater treatment, expected to be online next year.

The hike was opposed by CRD director Geoff Young, a Victoria councillor, who called on the board to “sharpen its pencils” and reduce services in other areas.

The Grumpy Taxpayer$ group said the tax hike hurts because it’s piled on top of every other increase that raises the cost of living.

“Everyone uses that same argument — ‘but it’s not much’ — and it’s bogus,” Stan Bartlett, who chairs the taxpayer group, told the Times Colonist.
Grumpy Taxpayer$: Member since 2018
Capital Regional District: Member since 1993
Provincial demand tightens market for office space
Greater Victoria has the lowest vacancy rate for office space in 10 years, thanks to renewed demand from the provincial government to house new agencies.

Colliers International ’s third-quarter report shows the vacancy rate for office space has dropped to 5% from 8.2% last year. It is now the lowest it has been since 2009, when it was 4.5% .

The provincial government requires new office space to house staff who will work on climate change research as well as cannabis regulation.
Colliers International – member since 1984
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Transportation key to solving regional challenges
By making it faster, cheaper and easier for people and goods to move around our region, we make life more affordable and enjoyable. And that helps attract workers.

Improving regional transportation will be discussed tomorrow at The Chamber’s Business Leaders Luncheon. An expert panel will speak about changes coming our way.

Panelists include:

  • Erinn Pinkerton, CEO of BC Transit, who will speak about the transformation from our traditional car culture to treating mobility as a service

  • Catharine Read, Chair of the Passenger Transportation Board, who will talk about how the introduction of ride-hailing will affect transportation in BC

  • Philip Bellefontaine, Assistant Director of Transportation for the City of Victoria, who will outline the city's plan to increase mobility through its Go Victoria initiative.

For more information, go to victoriachamber.ca.
Business Leaders' Luncheon
What's ahead for regional transportation?
Join our panel of experts as they discuss the future of how we travel and speak to specific projects planned for the region.
Thu, Nov 7 | 11:30 am - 1 pm
Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
728 Humboldt St .
Only five tickets left!
Sponsored by:
Affordable housing remains a challenge in Greater Victoria

Greater Victoria is the third least affordable city for renters earning a low wage. If you earn minimum wage you will need to work 90 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment in our region. Vancouver and Toronto, where minimum wage earners need to work 112 and 96 hours respectively, are the only cities more expensive than Greater Victoria.

The report, by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), says workers need to earn $28.47 per hour in Greater Victoria in order to afford a two-bedroom rental.
Victoria launches free bus pass program for youth
The City of Victoria has announced that it has begun implementing its plan to hand out free bus passes to residents under 19. Victoria youth will be able to use the passes as of Dec. 1. The program will cost the city $972,000 per year, with up to $600,000 of the funds coming from new revenue generated by charging for downtown parking on Sundays.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Honouring our veterans on Remembrance Day
The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has a long history of honouring the memory of the soldiers who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

After the First World War, The Chamber was instrumental in helping create a Memorial Avenue running from Saanich to Victoria and lined with majestic trees.
 
Shelbourne Street was chosen as it offered enough space to commemorate every soldier from the city who died. Chamber members helped plan the project, and business owners rolled up their sleeves to dig holes for the trees.

Memorial Avenue is still there, with new signage added last year. Chamber members continue to honour the memory of fallen soldiers and we encourage everyone to wear your poppies with pride.

Please plan to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies in your community to pay your respects. Transit is free on Nov. 11 for military members and veterans.
 
The Chamber will be closed on Monday, Nov. 11.
Each week, The Chamber will profile one of the 14 different award categories, encouraging members to nominate a deserving Chamber member.
 
The Outstanding Workplace of the Year award recognizes a business that:

  • Shows a commitment to a healthy work environment through practices that benefit employees physically, intellectually and/or emotionally

  • An exceptional commitment to its employees through competitive employment packages

  • A focus on workplace culture as well as employee recognition and reward programs

  • Is dedicated to providing professional development and/or advancement opportunities

  • Shows diversity in the workplace

  • Demonstrates how their commitment to staff contributes to their success.
Need inspiration? Check out the videos of our Outstanding Workplace of the Year finalists from 2019.

Thanks to the Ralmax Group of Companies for sponsoring this award.
Finalist: CHEK News
Members Around Town
Find your furry friend

Interested in bringing a lovable pet into your life? The BCSPCA is taking 50% off adoption fees this Saturday!

The Head Over Tails in Love promotion is applicable to all adoptions; everything from bunnies to puppies.

Adoption fees go towards implanting a microchip, veterinary examinations, and other services to ensure your pet is happy and healthy when you take them home.

BC SPCA Victoria: member since 2017
Eco-tourism coming to Langford

The City of Langford will be unveiling a new eco-tourism site next spring.
The $2.2 million site is designed to offer a fun oceanfront location that is affordable for all. The site is planned to feature kayaks, canoes, and a log cabin that could be used for weddings or other events.

City of Langford: member since 2019
#ShopRockBay

The Abeego Makers Market is returning later this month to showcase handmade local crafts.

This free event features 17 local brands and their crafts, and will be showcased at Abeego . This market is part of the Shop Rock Bay event which features art galleries and delicious food and beverages from Wheelies Motorcycles & Cafe .

Be sure to use #ShopRockBay when you visit the event on Nov. 23 or 24!

Abeego Inc: member since 2014

Wheelies Motorcycles & Cafe: member since 2019

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victoriachamber.ca