BizNews
October 30, 2019
Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
Commercial vehicle licensing quagmire
The Chamber is calling for quick action to prevent an unfortunate decision by the Union of BC Municipalities from turning into a quagmire for commercial vehicle operators.
 
For more than three decades, the UBCM has offered parking permits through its commercial vehicle licensing program at a cost between $25 and $40 per year. Drivers receive a sticker allowing them to use commercial parking zones. However, administering the program was too costly so the UBCM stepped away.
 
That’s left local governments to pick up the slack, but the concern is that, in regions such as Greater Victoria, operators could be forced to take out permits in every municipality they serve. It's potentially even more complicated for Island businesses also operating on the Lower Mainland.
 
Al Hasham, owner of Maximum Courier, told CHEK news the implications could end up adding $40,000 in expenses per year — not to mention a windshield cluttered with permit stickers!
 
The City of Victoria has already adopted a staff recommendation to increase commercial parking permits from $100 to $300 per year, based on the size of the vehicle. Saanich is reviewing the situations and exploring a regional approach.
 
One permit for all of Greater Victoria would be better than different rules in different municipalities, though the best outcome is a return to a province-wide permit plan. Businesses operate fluidly and it’s inefficient to constrain their operations based on arbitrary borders.
Minister responds to Chamber's call to action
BC's Ministry of Municipal Affairs is working on a solution proposed by The Chamber to address an ongoing concern regarding property tax challenges faced by many small businesses across the province.
 
In July, The Chamber sent a letter to Minister Selina Robinson as part of an initiative of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. We asked 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 has hurt 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 local example was 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.
 
Minister Robinson said her government is working on an interim solution for 2020, as "significant legislative amendments" would be needed to introduce a new commercial sub-class that splits "development potential" from "existing use" for eligible properties. 
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Royal Canadian Legion Branch #292 : Member since 2007
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Ride-sharing rollout facing regulatory roadblocks
As Uber and Lyft await the approval of their applications to bring ride sharing to BC for the first time, there’s an opportunity for Greater Victoria to take notes.
 
BC’s Passenger Transportation Board is expected to finish its reviews in time for people in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland to begin using ride-hailing services this Christmas. Uber and Lyft will limit operation to BC’s most populated region for now as they gauge the viability of expanding to the South Island and elsewhere in the province.
 
The limited rollout is due to concerns about restrictions that require drivers to have Class 4 licenses. As well, much like Greater Victoria, the Lower Mainland is a compilation of conjoined municipalities. Vancouver city council has decided to charge drivers $100 per vehicle as well as a congestion fee within its borders. If neighbouring jurisdictions follow suit, the cost and complexity of ride sharing could make the service unviable for most people.
 
Learn more about what ride-sharing will mean for our region at The Chamber’s next Business Leaders Luncheon, which is focused on the future of transportation.
 
Uber: Member since 2019

Lyft: Member since 2017
Business Leaders' Luncheon
What's ahead for regional transportation?
Getting there from here shouldn't be difficult, but without a comprehensive regional transportation plan no one is getting anywhere fast.

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 .
Sponsored by:
New Roads achieves milestone anniversary

There's a new new name for the Therapeutic Recovery Community being operated in View Royal by Our Place Society. The facility, now known as New Roads, opened its doors one year ago, on Oct. 25, 2018. The Chamber advocates for Safe Communities as the foundation all of us rely on. We need proven solutions to help rehabilitate people struggling with addiction, and therapeutic recovery communities have been shown to have the highest success rates.

The concept began in Europe but is being implemented around the world. During a recent visit to the View Royal facility, Chamber CEO Catherine Holt spoke to Our Place CEO Don Evans, who said his organization is looking for opportunities to implement the model in other locations in Greater Victoria.

Our Place Society: Member since 2010
Where will we be in 2030? - CEO column
This column originally appeared in the October edition of the Business Examiner. The online edition is now exclusively available to Chamber members.
 
Message from Chamber CEO Catherine Holt  

There are many things that demand our immediate attention, but it’s always important to keep an eye on the path ahead. So, when the Victoria Foundation asked the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce to contribute to this year’s Vital Signs Report, I readily agreed. The theme of the 2019 publication is Vision 2030 — taking action today to build a better tomorrow.

The challenge was to look beyond the obstacles we face today and in the months ahead, and imagine where we want to be in a decade. To do this, I turned to The Chamber’s current advocacy priorities.

Read the entire column by Chamber CEO Catherine Holt here
Mixed-use project shows ‘art of the possible’
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps deserves kudos for making a poignant observation in her recent blog post regarding the public hearing for the Jawl Residential development proposal at Yates, Johnson and Cook streets.
 
The ambitious and well-considered plan will see the city get a new fire hall as well as 130 units of affordable housing run by Pacifica Housing for people with low or moderate incomes. The project also calls for three condo buildings with 370 units at market prices. 
 
This development came together through dialogue and negotiation. The result is a viable project that creates vitally needed workforce housing, and an upgraded space for firefighters
 
As Mayor Helps noted in her blog, the project earned wide praise because it will meet the needs of many people — from employers to students to neighbours to social housing advocates. The development is the result of what Coun. Marianne Alto once referred to as the “art of the possible.”
 
Notably, this project predates Victoria council’s controversial decision in June to effectively infringe on developers’ ability to negotiate financing.
 
The Chamber hopes council has seen what is possible when politicians choose to work with the private sector and non-profits.
 
Jawl Residential: Member since 2019

Pacifica Housing: Member since 2019
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
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Sat, Nov. 2 | 6-10:30 pm
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Greater Victoria celebrates Halloween
Tomorrow night, kids will fill the sidewalks on the hunt for sugary treats.

Greater Victoria is known as one of the most haunted places in Canada, and this spooky season is the perfect time to experience something new — if you dare!

Visit a local pub or nightclub to show off your great costume skills, or have a Halloween meal at a great restaurant before handing out handfuls of candy to trick-or-treaters.

Trick-or-treat at Victoria Public Market at The Hudson on Halloween Day, and check out Destination Greater Victoria's list of the Top 11 Haunted Places in Victoria if you're dying to see a ghost.
 
If you’re looking to burn off that extra sugar from Halloween treats, check out a great fitness facility , and be sure to recycle your pumpkin at Pumpkin Smash 2019 in the City of Langford on Nov. 4!
 
Whatever you may be up too this Halloween, The Chamber hopes you have a fun (and frightening) time!
Let's spread kindness throughout Greater Victoria! Watch for Kindness Cards at retailers and other locations around the community!
 
Be sure to take a photo of your kind act and email it or share it on social media tagging us and adding #RAKdayYYJ for a chance to win one of two $500 prizes for a registered charity of your choice! For more information, visit victoriafoundation.ca
Each week, The Chamber will profile one of the 14 different award categories, encouraging members to nominate a deserving Chamber member.
 
The Business of the Year (40 plus Employees) award recognizes a business that:

  • demonstrates continual business excellence through positive business growth

  • demonstrates a commitment to the community

  • exemplifies superior customer service

  • and embraces an outstanding commitment to quality.
Need inspiration? Check out the videos of our Business of the Year finalists from 2019.

Thanks to the Wilson's Group of Companies for sponsoring this award.
Members Around Town
RBCM hosts Polar Express Pajama Fundraiser

The Royal BC Museum is the place to be as 300 kids descend on the IMAX Theatre for the annual Polar Express/Pajama Party on Dec. 8. 

All funds raised will go towards covering the cost of admission and our school breakfast programs, to help feed our community’s children.   
Royal BC Museum: member since 1994
IMAX Victoria: Member since 1998
BC Ferries serving bevvies

You can now enjoy a glass of beer or wine with your meal the next time you travel between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen.

BC Ferries recently implemented alcohol sales on select sailings between Victoria and Vancouver, available in the Pacific Buffet. During this one-year trial, alcohol is sold only during the first hour of the voyage, and there is a limit of one serving of alcohol per customer.

B.C. Ferries expects that alcohol sales could mean a $500,000 boost to its bottom line.
BC Ferries: member since 1983
Talentcor rebrands as Agilus

Earlier last week, The Chamber member Agilus (formerly known as Talentcor) underwent a successful rebranding campaign.

As the largest Canadian owned staffing organization, Agilus is founded based on the desire to offer an ethical, transparent, and effective recruitment solution .
Aligus (formerly Talentcor): member since 1997
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victoriachamber.ca