Join Prodigy Group for the July Mingle tomorrow, July 11, from 5-7 pm at Victopia Co-working Space. This is your chance to meet and connect with emerging and established business professions in Greater Victoria. Don't miss out - register today
Hailing a ride in BC could be possible by late summer
 
After several false starts, British Columbia will finally be getting ride-hailing services this September.
The provincial government announced yesterday that companies can begin applying on Sept. 3 for permission to operate in BC.
 
Once approved, services such as Uber and Lyft will be able to buy a new type of insurance from ICBC starting on Sept. 16. However, it's too soon to say how long it will take the Passenger Transportation Board to officially approve an applicant, and how much time that company will need to begin operations.
 
"As one of the only jurisdictions where ride hailing has not been available, we're happy to see this modern method of getting around finally approved for our market," says Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Catherine Holt. "There are still questions about the best way for ride hailing to complement existing services and infrastructure and introducing ride hailing highlights the need for regional transportation planning in Greater Victoria."
 
The BC government will require people who drive for ride-hailing services to have a Class 4 licence. There are concerns this will create a bottleneck from a rush of people seeking to take the required road test, but ICBC has said it is prepared to increase its capacity to meet the demand.
 
Uber: member since 2019
Lyft: member since 2017 
Chamber News
Events
Day at the Track
Roundup at the Roundhouse
Prodigy Group July Mingle
Women Business Owners' Roundtable
July Business Mixer
37th Annual Dinner Auction Gala
Event Photos
Upcoming Chamber Events
Affordable housing for workers remains a priority
 
Victoria council's decision to use a stick rather than a carrot to try and spur more affordable housing in the city has frustrated the development community.
 
In a column published in the Times Colonist, executive director of the Urban Development Institute, Kathy Whitcher, says her organization is willing to help councillors better understand the fundamentals of land development. However, the question remains whether Victoria council is willing to take the time to listen, and whether they're open to learning from people with experience and expertise.
 
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, in her own column, says she's willing to work with developers to help them understand that there is flexibility in the new Inclusionary Housing Policy. Helps says she didn't support the policy, but after it was passed by a majority of councillors, she will champion it.
 
It's time for a better dialogue between Victoria council and the people who build homes in the city. The Chamber is encouraged that Mayor Helps, along with councillors Sarah Potts and Jeremy Loveday, have accepted an invitation to speak to UDI about the policy. We hope that the conversation goes both ways. Our region  needs affordable and available workforce housing, and we can't afford to tie up new supply because of a breakdown in communication between government and industry.
Supportive housing and business need our attention
 
Victoria Council has approved the proposed redevelopment ofVictoria Cool Aid Society's Cedar Grove property at 210 Gorge Rd. East. The revised plan has reduced the number of storeys to five from the original six-storey proposal, and the number of units to 72 from 82. Ten of the units will be one-bedrooms and 10 will be two-bedrooms. The rest will be studio apartments.
 
The current building, which consists of two former hotel buildings, has 21 adults in supportive housing. Those tenants will be housed elsewhere while the building is under construction and will be able to return to the building at existing rental rates.
 
The redevelopment has not been without controversy. Darryl Wilson, GM of the Days Inn Victoria Uptown located at 229 Gorge Rd. East, is one of many voices concerned that their neighbourhood is being pigeonholed for social housing. Businesses and families in the area are looking to city council for leadership to help revitalize the area and turn it into a new destination neighbourhood. 
 
"Changing local perceptions is an important part of our strategy in revitalizing the area as a business district," Wilson says.
 
 
 Victoria Cool Aid Society: member since 2006
 
Days Inn Victoria Uptown: member since 1981 
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 evening of connecting over great food and local wine, beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic options
Marie-Michèle Lafrance

The Chamber is pleased to welcome Marie-Michèle Lafrance as our new Front Desk & Office Administrator. She is the first point of contact for member inquiries and will be happy to assist you in registering for events and paying invoices.

Marie-Michèle moved to Victoria from Quebec City in 2005 and loves the West Coast lifestyle, which includes biking to work every day. Before joining The Chamber, Marie-Michele worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for more than 12 years.
 
Marie-Michèle is excited to start her role as the Front Desk & Office Administrator, and is looking forward to working with our members. Feel free to connect with Marie-Michèle at the next Chamber event, by email or by phone at 250-383-7191.
Chamber files submission for BC Budget 2020 consultation
Thank you to everyone who provided comments about how the Employer Health Tax has burdened your business. The Chamber filed a submission with the province's Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.

This submission outlined The Chamber's advocacy efforts as they relate to the provincial government, including comments from our members (without disclosing identities) about the struggles they are enduring because of the EHT. You can read our 2019 submission to the committee here.
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
 
HarbourCats clinch playoff berth
For the third time in four seasons, the Victoria HarbourCats will be in the West Coast League playoffs. It took until the final day of the 27-game first-half schedule, but the HarbourCats (18-9) clinched the WCL North division first-half title with an 8-1 victory over the Bellingham Bells on a drizzly Sunday afternoon in Victoria. The second half of the season runs until August.   
Victoria HarbourCats: member since 2017   
Inn at Laurel Point Renewal 2019
A significant lobby renovation at the Inn at Laurel Point will see the vision of renowned architect Arthur Erickson fully realized. The renewal will join the existing Erickson and Laurel wings together creating a completely new arrival experience, including a brand-new driveway, entryway, lobby and ground floor meeting and event spaces. There will also be a refreshed garden. Work began in October and is expected to be completed by fall 2019.  
Inn at Laurel Point: member since 1991  
Paul's Motor Inn 
Paul's Motor Inn has leased its restaurant to the team behind Victoria's award-winning Fol Epi cafe and Agrius restaurant. The 63-year-old diner underwent a week long renovation and is now open as Paul's Motor Inn Diner by Fol Epi. The restaurant retains its 1950's diner atmosphere and the classic dinner of liver and onions is still on the menu.
Paul's Motor Inn: member since 2019    
Women of UDI event 
Chamber CEO Catherine Holt is a panelist at the Women of Urban Development Institute's inaugural " Celebrating Women" event on July 11. Listen to a dynamic panel of amazing trail-blazing industry professionals who offer a diversity of experiences, career paths, business practices and goals. 
Urban Development Institute: member since 2017   
Food Hub feasibility   
The South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP) is working with partners to receive $50,000 in provincial funding towards a regional feasibility study to bring a food processing hub to the region. The effort responds to plans by the provincial Ministry of Agriculture to build a network of communities that aims to "enhance sustainable growth and innovation in the processing, packaging and marketing" of provincial food and beverages for domestic and international markets. The BC government's network would consist of hubs that link food producers and processors with technology, research and development, production equipment, expertise and services. 
South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP): member since 2018  
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 wide 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.

How to be part of the solution on single-use plastics

If your business will be affected by regulations restricting single-use plastics, you will want to attend a workshop on July 24 from 1-4pm at the Victoria Conference Centre.
 
The City of Victoria is looking for business leaders to provide practical solutions as the municipality steps up efforts to transition away from single-use plastics.
 
Earlier this year, Victoria Council adopted a four-year Strategic Plan to ban plastic straws, single-use coffee cups and single-use takeout containers. The plan takes into account accessibility needs and includes certain exceptions but, as with the plastic bag ban adopted last year, the city understands the importance of supporting innovations that are being led by business. The Chamber worked extensively with the city to help make sure businesses were able to shape how the regulation was implemented. We also advocated successfully that Saanich adopt Victoria's bylaw to ensure customers and businesses have the same rules regardless of municipality. 
 
Victoria and Saanich have been leaders in the transition away from single-use plastics, which the federal government wants to ban across Canada by 2021.
 
RSVP Marika Smith at marsmith@victoria.ca by July 19 to let her know you will participate.   

City of Victoria: member since 1981
 
District of Saanich: member since 2018 
Patio season checklist 2019
With sunshine in the forecast this weekend, you don't have to look far for a great patio - there's one for every occasion! Whether you're looking for a patio that has an oceanfront view, is nestled on a sidewalk for some shameless people watching, is high above the hustle and bustle of the street or is an escape from the city, there's a patio for you.  
 
Take your team out for happy hour, meet a friend for lunch, or plan a whole day of it. Click here for a comprehensive checklist of our members' patios and outdoor seating - we dare you to try them all!
 

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.