Don't miss out - bite into YYJ Eats Tuesday, June 5 at St. Ann's Academy! YYJ Eats allows you to sip on craft beer, local wine and spirits while you dine on gourmet bites from some of the city's best eateries. See a sneak peek of the menu here.

Tickets on sale now and going FAST!
Saanich and Victoria take realistic approach to amalgamation
Saanich and Victoria will hold a joint council meeting June 26 to decide the wording of a ballot question about amalgamation. Municipal elections take place Oct. 20 this year.

In April, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell met with officials from the Provincial government. The direction that came out of that meeting was that a clear mandate from citizens is required. That means citizens will likely be asked this fall to approve a formal analysis of amalgamation that could be then used to frame a future vote.

The Chamber has been advocating for better governance through fewer governments. CEO Catherine Holt's recent column in the Times Colonist calls for Saanich and Victoria to create a Citizens Assembly, such as the one undertaken by Duncan and North Cowichan. This takes the analysis and recommendations out of the hands of politicians and staff who have a perceived conflict of interest in making changes to the status quo.

Chamber News
Business Leaders Luncheons
Governor of the Bank of Canada Luncheon
YYJ Eats
Business Mixers
Prodigy Group Mingles
Event Photos

The saga of Victoria's designated bike lanes
Let's start with some great news about Victoria's designated bike lanes project.

Fort Street is back to business! After intermittent disruptions to sidewalks and store fronts,  nine months later construction has been completed on a bike lane running from Wharf to Cook streets. To celebrate, the City of Victoria is holding the Fort Street Roll Out from 11 am-2 pm on May 27, featuring live music, free bicycle rentals and much more. Activities on each block will include a "passport" designed to encourage use of the corridor.

City staff have listened to business concerns and have recommended the proposed bike lanes on Cook Street be moved to Vancouver Street, which will be better for cyclists and business.

The not-so-great news about the City's master plan for bike lanes is that staff now say the Wharf Street section of the project will eliminate at least 21 of the 45 parking spots. The Chamber has been vocal about the need for better planning around downtown parking. A lack of parking makes downtown less attractive for people who need to drive. Customers will shop elsewhere, delivery trucks will face costly inconveniences and employers will have an even tougher time hiring workers who need a vehicle for their commute.

We are looking forward to the city's long-term plan for ensuring access to downtown for everyone.
Hotel Zed expands its funkiness to Tofino
Hotel Zed has acquired Jamie's Rainforest Inn in Tofino and has plans to rebrand it into the latest Hotel Zed.
The inn is nestled on four acres of rainforest and backs onto the lagoon side of Tofino.   
Still in the planning stages, Hotel Zed will aim to capture the unique history, culture and environment of Tofino but with unique "Zedified" experiences.  
"Each Hotel Zed has its own personality and unique experiences and the Tofino property will build on that" says Mandy Farmer, President and CEO. "It will be completely different from our other properties because it has to fit with the Tofino community."  

Accent Inns | Hotel Zed: member since 1992
Hear from BC Hydro's new President on their plans to address the Province's energy needs, including recent developments on Vancouver Island. BC Hydro is the province's largest Crown Corporation with over 5,500 employees and over $5 billion in annual revenue.
Sponsored by:  
Wed, June 13 | 11:30 am-1 pm
The Union Club of British Columbia
805 Gordon St. 


Chamber advocacy echoed in Premier's announcement
As a vocal advocate for improving regional transportation, The Chamber has worked tirelessly to earn the ear of senior levels of government.

Last week, BC Premier John Horgan told the Five Chambers Business Leaders Luncheon that the Province wants to use the E&N corridor for moving people and that there is no business case for using rail for that purpose. They are committed to making this happen within this current term of government. The strong implication is that the right-of-way will be used for a rapid bus line. Judging by the applause, the announcement was a welcome surprise for the 400 community leaders packed into Crystal Garden.

Clearly there is a consensus that something needs to be done to ease commuter traffic between the West Shore and downtown Victoria. The decision means that Light Rail Rapid Transit will no longer be considered for the corridor. Naturally, that's a tough pill for folks who have long advocated for the return of rail.

On Friday, the Premier said using the tracks for a train became much less feasible when the City of Victoria chose to terminate the track in Vic West rather than spend money on running the lines across the new Johnson Street Bridge. That decision underscores the importance of another Chamber Advocacy Priority - the need to take a regional approach to transportation planning.

Regardless, we applaud the decision to find a solution to traffic congestion and using commuter buses along the E&N corridor will be an affordable and flexible approach. Now we just need to see the numbers behind the proposal, and a schedule for when we can actually expect to see this concept in action.

Chamber Expertise Exported
A delegation of 12 senior government officials from Cambodia met at The Chamber to discuss how The Chamber is funded and governed, how government can effectively  consult with business and how The Chamber engages with all levels of government to represent the interests of its members.
Cambodia has a population of 15 million people living in 26 municipalities, served by 12 Chambers.
Working with the Asian Development Bank and the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) the delegation will be meeting with various municipal, provincial and federal officials to exchange ideas and best practices.

The Chamber's New Co-op Student!
 The Chamber welcomes new recruit Cyrus Lee as our Website Developer and Marketing Assistant. He will be providing assistance with migrating the Chamber website onto a new platform and work a little SQL magic with our database reports.

Cyrus is just finishing up his second year at the University of Victoria with emphasis on Commerce and Computer Science. In the fall, he plans to continue his education by specializing in Marketing & Finance. Apart from education, Cyrus has a deep passion for design and enjoys collecting sneakers and listening to music.

Contact Cyrus through his LinkedIn profile, by email or by phone at 250-953-6675.
Members Around Town

Chamber Director of Operations judges parade  
The Chamber's very own Director of Operations Cheryl Wirch-Ryckman was one of the judges for floats and performers at the 120th Island Farms Victoria Day Parade, produced by the  Greater Victoria Festival Society. She was looking for creativity, design, colour, animation "and the sense that it represented the Victoria Day Parade." Click here to see a list of the winners.
Greater Victoria Festival Society: member since 2016
Island Farms: member since 1961
A single passenger electric car hits the streets 
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Victoria has partnered with Electra Meccanica, a Vancouver automaker, to add two new all-electric vehicles to their car share program, MY STAY. MY CAR. The electric cars, named SOLO, have a single seating configuration and a 100-mile range with little to no environmental impact.  
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Victoria: member since 2013 
CFO of BC Awards 
John Hanna
Business in Vancouver and the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC partnered to recognize and celebrate the top Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) in BC at the 2018 BC CFO Awards. John Hanna, CFO at Vecima Networks, won in the category of Small Public Company. Vecima Networks is also the 2018 recipient of The Chamber's Greater Victoria Business Award for Innovation. Double congrats!
Chartered Professional Accountants of BC: member since 2011 
Vecima Networks: member since 2006 
Largest cruise ship arrives 
On Friday, June 1 the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority will welcome the  Norwegian Bliss, the largest cruise ship ever to visit Victoria. The Norwegian Bliss is 994 feet long, has 20 decks, and weighs 169,028 tonnes, and is the newest ship in the Norwegian Cruise Lines fleet. 
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority: member since 2003
Warning: this event may cause mouth-watering reactions. Here's a sneak peek at what a few of our exhibitors are serving at YYJ Eats
  • Marina Restaurant - Cedar smoked BBQ salmon, lettuce wrap with Saanich Organics and pickled beets, Strawberry mint salad with toasted goat cheese and Happy Man micro basil
  • Sheringham Distillery - Akvavit Cocktail, Seaside Gin Cocktail & Spirit Samples
  • Yalla - House made hummus on a zataar spiced kennebec potato chip topped with pickled asparagus.
  • Deep Cove Winery - Ortega, Pinot Gris & Alchemy
Stay tuned for more sneak peeks of tasty sips and bites leading up to YYJ Eats! See a full list of participants here.

Tue, June 5 | 5-7 pm
St. Ann's Academy National Historic Site
835 Humboldt St.
Sponsored by:

Victoria eyes comprehensive ban of single-use plastics
Businesses will have a say in the City of Victoria's latest effort  to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the world. After moving ahead on a plastic bag ban, which takes effect July 1, the City has now set its sights on plastic drinking straws and Styrofoam containers.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps told the Times Colonist that the overall plan is to develop a strategy that will eliminate single-use plastics "so that really we do get to a zero-waste circular economy where there is no garbage."   
Victoria's move, if passed by council, would follow in the wake of a Vancouver bylaw that takes effect next month. Under Vancouver's bylaw, businesses can either charge customers for disposable containers and bags or they can choose not to provide them at all.

Film Production is in bloom
The Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission has been busy bringing different projects to Victoria this Spring.
Pup Star 4: A Pup Star Christmas was filmed in Victoria and Sidney from April 9-May 4. This is the fourth Pup Star movie to film in and around Victoria and is set to be released in December 2018 on Netflix.
The Amazing Race Canada filmed season 6 episode 1 at Royal Road's Hatley Castle. Hatley Castle was the location of the start line as this year's teams took off on a race to win $250,000, a new car and a year-long trip around the world. Season 6 of Amazing Race Canada is set to air this summer.  
   Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission: member since 1980
Welcome to Our Newest Members!  

Chamber Name Tags
Need to get one of the snazzy new Chamber Name tags? Email us to order yours today.