Join us for the August Mixer & Mingle Thursday, Aug 15 at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre from 5-7 pm.
Wharf Street Bike Lane set to open tomorrow
The Wharf Street bike lane from the Johnson Street Bridge to Fort Street will open tomorrow, August 1. The remainder of the Wharf Street bike lane, from Fort to Government streets, will open Aug. 8, followed by Government to Douglas streets on Aug. 15.

The lane will be the first protected bike lane running north-south as part of the City of Victoria's All Ages and Abilities bicycling network and will serve as a connector between the already constructed Pandora and Fort Street bike lanes. It will also provide a protected entryway into downtown Victoria for cyclists coming across the Johnson Street Bridge.

The City encourages everyone to watch for and obey new traffic signals, to use caution when navigating the corridor, and to respect others by always following the rules of the road. 

City of Victoria: member since 1962

Chamber News
Day at the Track
Roundup at the Roundhouse
Women Business Owners' Roundtable
August Mixer & Mingle
37th Annual Dinner Auction Gala
Event Photos
Upcoming Chamber Events
VicPD struggling to meet its duties

The Victoria Police Department released its Transformation Report today, outlining changes that will help the department overcome challenges faced by its budget shortfall this year.

"Investigating crime, crime prevention, and proactive policing are major cornerstones and fundamental to Canadian policing and we are currently at the threshold of being unable to meet our statutory and common law duties," the report states.

VicPD will redeploy officers to front-line roles, adjust patrol shifts and choose not to respond to certain types of calls. The department also won't renew its school liaison officers and will create special constables who could take on lower priority calls.

The cuts are the product of Victoria council's decision to approve a smaller budget for VicPD than the one initially proposed by the Victoria Police Board.

Chamber CEO Catherine Holt has suggested that a better long-term solution would be to amalgamate the VicPD with its suburban counterpart, the Saanich Police Department.

The changes come at a time when the crime rate in Victoria is on the rise. Victoria and Esquimalt, served by VicPD, has seen its crime severity index increase by 5.15%, compared to a national increase of 1.9%.

Victoria Police Department: Member since 2008
High-performance employees deserve a couple of hot laps in a high-performance car! Treat your employees or treat yourself.  

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.
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 and connect over great food and local wine, beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic options
Solution proposed for property tax conundrum

The Chamber is asking BC's Ministry of Municipal Affairs to address an ongoing concern regarding property tax challenges faced by many small businesses across the province.

Working with an initiative of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, The Chamber wants the provincial government to moderate rapidly rising property taxes caused by basing values on "highest and best use" rather than current or actual use. This hurts small businesses and non-profit organizations that provide valuable services to their community and enrich their neighbourhood. Basing their property taxes on the potential value of a multi-storey luxury condominium results in a tax bill much higher than the actual value of a family-run, one-storey restaurant or service club that has existed in its location for decades.

A recent example in Victoria is the situation faced by Victoria's Royal Canadian Legion Trafalgar/Pro Patria Branch #292, which faced a massive and unexpected tax hike that threatened its viability until it was helped out by the City of Victoria.

The proposed solution is to introduce a new commercial sub-class that splits "development potential" from "existing use" for eligible properties.

Read more about the initiative here.
Big news on buses good news for region

The much anticipated NextRide technology is now live on all 294 buses in the Victoria Regional Transit System.  
One of the hurdles preventing people from taking the bus is not knowing when the next bus will arrive, and this new technology allows riders to see in real time where their bus is on its route, greatly improving the convenience of using transit.   
On Monday, BC Transit also announced it will be moving to a 100% electric fleet by 2040 thanks to funding from the provincial and federal governments. The plan is to start purchasing electric buses while converting its current fleet to lower carbon technologies, such as compressed natural gas (CNG).
"Transit can have its biggest impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by getting people out of their vehicles and onto the bus. However, we also need to transition our infrastructure, including our buses, to reduce our environmental footprint," said BC Transit's Vice President of Asset Management Aaron Lamb.
The Chamber advocates for business-led innovation as the best solution to climate change, and for improving public transportation to make life more affordable for workers in Greater Victoria.
BC Transit: member since 1999
Ride-hailing no sure bet for capital - yet
We'll have a better idea by next month of when ride-hailing companies such as Uber   and Lyft will begin operating in Greater Victoria. That's when the Passenger Transportation Board is set to finalize policies on flexible pricing and boundaries.
The provincial government announced that applications will be accepted starting on Sept. 3. However, Uber has said it will need to see how many qualified drivers are available before beginning operations outside of the Lower Mainland.
BC requires ride-hailing drivers to have a Class 4 licence, which is considerably more expensive than the Class 5 licence required for non-commercial drivers.
Uber: member since 2019
Lyft: member since 2017
Province seeks feedback to ban, reduce, recycle more plastics
The BC government has launched the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan Survey to get feedback on how to reduce plastic waste like:
  • Banning single-use packaging: determining which types of plastic packaging to phase out altogether, as well as any necessary exemptions, such as those for health, safety and accessibility, to keep products available for the people who need them
  • Dramatic reductions in single-use plastics in landfills and waterways: requiring producers to take responsibility for more plastic products, ensuring more single-use items like sandwich bags, straws and cutlery get recycled
  • Expanding plastic bottle and beverage container returns: expanding the deposit-refund system to cover all beverage containers - including milk and milk-substitutes - with a 10-cent refundable deposit, keeping millions more containers out of landfills and waterways
  • Reducing plastic use overall: supporting effective ways to prevent plastic waste in the first place and making sure recycled plastic is reused effectively
The Chamber supports innovations led by business to respond to the challenges of a changing climate, so we encourage you to fill out the survey or provide a written submission to make sure your voice is heard.
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 and connect over great food and local wine, beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic options.   
Saanich approves variance for rental project

Saanich council is moving forward on a proposal by Abstract Developments to build a six-storey mixed-use building with 76 rental units and two commercial units for the 3900-block of Shelbourne St.

The proposal, which still needs to go through formal approvals, was granted a significant parking variance. Council will allow the development to have 23 spaces rather than the 161 typically allotted for a project this size.

"This is like a testing ground for how we go forward with housing without cars," Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes told the Saanich News.

The development is adjacent to cycling trails and major bus routes. The rental housing is needed for students and workers struggling to find housing in a low vacancy, high-cost market.

Abstract Developments: member since 2010
A limited number of early bird tickets are on sale for the 37th Annual Dinner Auction Gala. This black tie evening includes cocktails, chef stations, a silent and live auction and entertainment, including dancing and an interactive photo booth.

Saturday, November 2 | 6-10:30 pm
Fairmont Empress, 721 Government St.

Here's a sneak peek at a few items that will be at the event:
Want to see your item showcased at the auction? Contact Scott at
Sponsored by

Cybersecurity Tips for Business 
Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island and Tecnet are presenting Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses, which are some simple tips to improve your company's cybersecurity systems. Learn about:
  • What is a Cybersecurity Threat?
  • Why do Cybersecurity Threats Matter to Business?
  • Cyber Threats pose a significant risk to your business
  • Tips to Protect Your business

Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island: member since 1963

Tecnet: member since 1981
BC Day
Happy BC Day! Ever wondered if anyone loved BC enough to make a song featuring all the municipalities in the province? Well, you're in luck. Thanks to Twitter, you can watch that masterpiece here. How many communities do you think you could name? 
If naming all BC's municipalities isn't your thing, join us in enjoying all that Greater Victoria has to offer - arts and entertainment, attractions, great food and bevvies, a little shopping, that lingering home project, or even planning a last minute getaway this BC Long Weekend.  
Or join tens of thousands of people at the 30th annual Victoria Symphony Splash on Sunday, Aug. 5, in the Inner Harbour. Check out Destination Greater Victoria's website for more events that are happening around town!  
The Chamber office will be closed on Monday, Aug 5. See you out there!
Welcome to our newest members!

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.