Business Examiner Vancouver Island - December 2020

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December 2020


Business Systems

(866) 248-4251


Wendy Gaskill, Corporate Safety Manager of Chinook Scaffold Systems



Your Mid Island Full Service Electrical Contractor (Ladysmith – Nanaimo – Parksville – Qualicum)

P: 250.740.0970 | E: |


120 - 256 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, BC Phone: 778.749.0454 Email:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Business Examiner team! Hopefully, like us you’ve made it through the final heavy push of 2020 and are in recovery and planning mode. While you’re resting up and spending (remote) time with family, we’ve got some great stories to tell. This month’s lead article is on Chinook Scaffold Systems, an industry leader headquartered in Nanaimo. We’re also covering the Island’s construction sector, with a deep dive into the industry that’s largely kept our economy moving forward. To help you stay informed and better manage your business, we also have Chamber of Commerce reports from across the Central/North Island, financial advice from Coastal Community Credit Union, Who Is Suing Whom, Movers and Shakers, and much more. John MacDonald, Director, Business Development

Contact Us 25 Cavan Street Nanaimo, BC V9R 2T9 +1 866-758-2684 Office Hours Monday – Friday: 9:00am – 5:00 pm Saturday – Sunday: Closed Editor: Lise MacDonald ( Press Releases & Story Ideas: ( Sales: John MacDonald (




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BRITISH COLUMBIA – The BC Marketplace is an online resource showcasing more than 1,500 BC-based businesses that helps boost small-business growth and encourages British Columbians to buy local. The BC Marketplace was launched in April 2020 by Small Business BC (SBBC) to give immediate support to small businesses during COVID-19 when consumer shopping trends shifted online. With a growing number of businesses joining the online community, the BC Marketplace has become a long-term solution for BC businesses. It allows them to create or enhance their online presence and reach more customers at no cost. The BC government and the Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, have each provided $169,000 to Small Business BC for the BC Marketplace. The funding was used to improve the website’s functionality, including enhanced profiles for small businesses and regional search capabilities for consumers. SBBC suppor ts sma l l busi ness ow ners throughout BC to grow successful and sustainable businesses through expert advisors, educational services and easy-to-use free tools.

BC HOUSING MARKET POSTS STRONGEST NOVEMBER ON RECORD BRITISH COLUMBIA – The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 9,416 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in November 2020, an increase of 42.1 per cent from November 2019. The average MLS residential price in BC set a record of $816,074, a 9.3 per cent increase from $746,310 recorded the previous year. Total sales dollar volume in August was $7.68 billion, a 55.4 per cent increase over 2019. “Home sales were once again unseasonably strong in November with several markets setting records for the month,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “While demand continues to be strong, the supply of listings has reached near-record lows in several parts of the province, with prices rising sharply as a result.” Active listings were down close to 14 per cent year-over-year in November, which contributed to a 34.8 per cent sales-to-active listings ratio. Consequently, the provincial average price rose 9.3 per compared to this time last year with many markets seeing even stronger price growth. Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 32.3 per cent to $66.43 billion, compared with the same period in 2019. Residential unit sales were up 18.7 per cent to 85,625 units, while the average MLS residential price was up 11.4 per cent to $775,845. December 2020




COMOX VALLEY – Comox Valley Economic Development Society (CVEDS) and Tourism Vancouver Island (TVI) have entered into a service agreement whereby TVI will manage the Vancouver Island (Comox Valley) Visitor Centre as well as manage tourism marketing for the communities in the Comox Valley. This agreement is effective January 1, 2021 and will be in place for two years. Tourism Vancouver Island periodically enters into service agreements with community destination marketing organizations, or tourism operators, in the areas of marketing, development, governance and visitor support. TVI provides these services where it is believed the expertise of team members, and the stability and structure the organization can provide, improves the tourism eco-system as a whole within the Vancouver Island region and province. Service agreements are typically interim solutions meant to develop long-term resiliency for the partner, and are not profit-driven ventures for the Tourism Vancouver Island business model. Examples of past and current Tourism Vancouver Island service agreements include: governance structures for Tourism Ucluelet, marketing services for the Regional District of Mount Washington (Vancouver Island North Tourism), brand identity development for Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours, and visitor services for the City of Nanaimo.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has provided additional details on the home office expense deductions available, and simplified the way employees can claim these expenses on their personal income tax return for the 2020 tax year. Employees with larger claims for home office expenses can still choose to use the existing detailed method to calculate their home office expenses deduction. Employees who worked from home more than 50 per cent of the time over a period of a least four consecutive weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19 will now be eligible to claim the home office expenses deduction for 2020. A new temporary flat rate method will allow eligible employees to claim a deduction of $2 for each day they worked at home in that period, plus any other days they worked from home in 2020 due to COVID-19 up to a maximum of $400. Under this new method, employees will not have to get Form T2200 or Form T2200S completed and signed by their employer. To simplify the process for employees choosing the detailed method, the CRA launched today simplified forms (Form T2200S and Form T777S) and a calculator designed specifically to assist with the calculation of eligible home office expenses. Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n o n w o r k i n g f rom home ex penses go to Ca n ad / cra-home-workspace-expenses.




TILRAY MERGES WITH ONTARIO CANNABIS COMPANY NEW QUALITY INN NEARING OPENING OF DOWNTOWN NANAIMO HOTEL Market. Jacob Steiner, Head of Operations for the company, has been in touch with City of Nanaimo operations, according to The Discourse. • • • David Mailloux has retired from his position as Director of Communications with the Port of Nanaimo. David remains as Chair of Community Futures Central Vancouver Island, and is well known throughout the region for his tenure at Tourism Vancouver Island. David was one of the architects of the immensely popular SuperHost training program.

10 MARK MACDONALD Cannabis company Tilray has merged with Aphria of Ontario to create the world’s largest cannabis company, with revenue of $874 million. Principal offices will be in Nanaimo and Leamington, Ontario for Canada, as well as in Seattle and New York in the United States, and Portugal and Germany in Europe. Their Nanaimo office is at Duke Point. • • • Could there be new life at the former A&B Sound building at the corner of Commercial Street and Terminal Avenue downtown? Steiner Properties Ltd., the owners of the building which has been vacant for years, has been floating the possibility of turning the property into an open-air market, something akin to Vancouver’s Granville Island Public Market and even Seattle’s famous Pike Place

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December 2020

NANAIMO • • • Congratulations to Donya Sutherland Baker upon her new position as Executive Director at the Bethlehem Centre Society. • • • A tip of the hat to two Nanaimo companies for winning Builders Code Champion Awards this year. Mazzei Electric was named Contractor of the Year and Chinook Scaffold Systems the Recruiting and Hiring Champion. • • • Melange, at 101-223 Commercial Street (many years ago the home of the Nanaimo Daily Free Press), is now one year old. Kellie Callender is Head Chef at the restaurant, opened by Gaetan Brousseau, who formerly operated a restaurant at Westwood Lake. His wife Linda Allen has Mon Petit Choux. • • • It’s almost finished – the new Quality Inn, nestled in at 440 Selby Street, next to the provincial government buildings. Jasbir Saroya is the developer of the $2.8 million, 445 room property, which looks like it will be ready for occupancy early in the New Year. • • • Grant Illuminated Signs now has an office in Nanaimo, at 1910A Northfield Road. Head office for the company, started in 1972, is at 1711 19th Avenue in Campbell River. • • • Generosity abounds during the Holiday Season, and Nanaimo businesses have been generous, despite the challenges of 2020. Dodd’s Furniture gave 150 blankets to the Salvation Army, Western Forest Products donated thousands of dollars to the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, Windsor Plywood Foundation donated $1 million to the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation’s “Light the Trees” campaign that is trying to raise $5 million for a new intensive care unit at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, and Steve Marshall Ford held its highly successful “Give and Go” drive-through toy drive prior to Christmas. • • • WWW.BUSINESSEX AMINER.CA

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Greg Stolz has joined the team at Alair Homes VI in a Business Relations position. • • • Heritage Indian Cuisine is a new eatery in the former ABC Restaurant location on Mary Ellen Drive just north of Woodgrove Centre. Heritage is a family-style establishment featuring Indian food. They also have a location in Duncan. • • • Adams Obakpee has a new business, called the Protective Film Studio, which focuses on protecting vehicles long-term. They offer paint protection film, ceramic coating, window tinting and colour changing vinyl wraps, along with Exo Shield windshield protection. Adams has operated Eco Wash Automotive Detailing for the past three years, and it’s growing, having recently moved from a 1,000 square foot location to 5,000 square feet, at 1805 Fremont Road, where both companies are located. • • • Tali Campbell recently left the BC Hockey

League’s Nanaimo Clippers for a new position with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, and he’s already been promoted. He is now Vice President and General Manager for the lower mainland team. • • • Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre has purchased Strong Nations Publishing. Chris Beaton is the Executive Director of the Centre, and Beckie Wesley is Director of Operations at Strong Nations. • • • Andy Chapman, Chief Executive Officer and Software Developer for Parksville-based Verified Network has developed a COVID-19 contact tracing app. The product is called Verified TrackBack, which will alert users if they’ve been potentially exposed to COVID-19. Andy was formerly with Impact Visual Communications in Nanaimo. • • • Another Impact alumnus, Amy Pye, has released G is for Grizzly Bear, an illustrated alphabet book for children with a distinct Canadian theme. She is also working on another project titled Bruce the Silly Goose about COVID-19 consciousness. • • • Harbour Air has signed the Amazon pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, joining 30 other companies that have pledged to beat the Paris climate deadline 10 years early. Greg McDougall, founder and CEO of Harbour Air, notes the company flew the first fully electric commercial aircraft in the world in 2019. • • • Nanaimo’s Westmark Construction has been given the green light by Ladysmith council to build a 96 unit apartment building at 107 Rollie Rose Drive. Westmark has completed 20 homes and 3 subdivisions in Ladysmith in the past 15 years, notes owner Chris Lundy. Mark MacDonald is President of Communication Ink Media & Public Relations Ltd. and can be reached at​ December 2020


WE ARE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE FINALISTS FOR THE CHAMBER AWARDS! New Business of the Year - Uplifters Shop, Island Affair Giftware and Tidal Café; Not for Profit Award - Habitat for Humanity, Cumberland Community Forest and Lush Valley Food Action SoDIANNE HAWKINS ciety; Small Business of the Year - Runge’s European Deli, Cooks and Artifact; Sustainability Award - Harmonic Arts, Local Refillery and Eatmore Sprouts & Greens; Business Leadership - Steve Stewart, Mackenzie Gartside and Leanne Zdebiak-Eni; Business of the Year - Van Isle Veterinary Hospital, Woofy’s Pet Foods and JTF Security Group Inc; Lifetime Achievement - Al Pullin, Dave Mellin, Pam Crowe and Jorden Marshall; Customer Service - Phil Nasralla, Melina Gronemeyer and Mark Hedican; Family First - Central Builders, Books4Brains and JTF Security Group Inc. The Chamber’s Virtual Gala will be held on January 30th at 6 pm, the theme this year is “I’m still Standing!” We are celebrating the resiliency of business, organizations and individuals in the Comox Valley who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in 2020. This is the 46th annual Chamber awards and we are excited to celebrate some of the Valley’s finest. Finally, the Chamber would like to thank the Business Examiner for their generous support of the Chambers of Commerce on the island by providing Chambers with a monthly column to reach out to our communities. Much appreciated. WWW.BUSINESSEX AMINER.CA

Seasons Greetings and a Happy New Year to all. Dianne Hawkins is CEO of the Comox Valley Chamber For more information on what’s happening locally and advocacy at the Chamber, give us a call or email our CEO at – We’re here for you! #Restart Comox Valley





CAMPBELL RIVER - The Campbell River & District Chamber of Commerce is offering “The Building Resilience to Thrive” program, powered by the BC Chamber of Commerce network and UVIC’s Gustavson MARY RUTH SNYDER School of Business. This is a COVID-19 recovery certificate to help businesses stay viable and adapt to compete in the future. The program features weekly seminars delivered by award-winning professors Dr. Mark Colgate and Prof. Brian Leacock, for 6 weeks in two separate offerings: • January 12th to February 16th • February 24th to March 31st The 6-week program is offered at a minimal registration fee to ensure cost isn’t a barrier during the pandemic. Chamber members - $35.00 per participant Non-members - $70.00 per participant Don’t miss out on this great opportunity! And, once again we have partnered with BC Hydro with a relaunch of the website — — in support of three upcoming projects: the John Hart Dam seismic upgrade, the Ladore Spillway seismic upgrade and the Strathcona Dam water discharge upgrade. As the projects move forward, this website will connect local companies and workers with the procurement process and the major contractors. BC Hydro worked collaboratively on business community awareness and engagement with the Campbell River & District Chamber of Commerce for the successful John Hart Generating

Station Replacement Project which began in 2014 and was completed in 2019. The proposed upgrades to the John Hart, Ladore and Strathcona dams is expected to begin in 2023 and 2024, and last for about five years. The website is a central portal where suppliers and job seekers can connect. BC Hydro has created the first in a series of video updates for each proposed project. John Hart Dam Seismic Upgrade Project Video #1 Ladore Spillway Seismic Upgrade Project Video #1 Strathcona Dam Water Discharge Upgrade Project Video #1 If you have any inquiries regarding the projects or Campbell River and the surrounding district, please contact Mary Ruth Snyder @ 250-6507575 or Stephen Watson @ 250-755-4795. Mary Ruth Snyder is Executive Director of the Campbell River and District Chamber of Commerce.

December 2020



Matthew Beckett, BCom, CFP, CIM Have you thought about your exit strategy for your business? Businesses are selling quickly these days, yet many operate without the end in mind, and fewer than 10% have a formal plan in writing. There’s also another important thing to consider, best illustrated by clients of mine and their situation… Over many years, my hardworking clients have built a successful business. They’re now in their fifties with a combined net worth of $5 million, and almost all of it’s in the business (which is common). They want the freedom to retire by selling their business and living off the net earnings. My clients were considering selling in a few years, but with our ever-changing environment, who knows what their sector could look like then, and what that could mean for their business’s value in the future. The point here is that if you’re a business owner wanting to sell in order to tap into your business’s net worth—whether it’s to become financially independent, enter another venture, or pay down debt—you need to ensure you act at the right time (the proverbial “make hay when the sun shines”). This means having a proper plan in place for when that time comes.


Here are some possible exit strategies that will also help you get your net worth out of your business: Sell as an earn-out: This would give you the opportunity to work in the business, essentially as an employee with a predictable income, while also enjoying possibly favorable tax scenarios. Sell the business to your children: Keeping it in the family allows for more advantageous terms for the buyer (your children). It also gives you the ability to structure the terms of the sale in ways that can help both them and you. Sell a stake in the business: You can sell either a minority or a majority stake to an investor (individual or private equity firm as examples). There will be important negotiations involved here, so it’s best to connect with an expert early on. Whatever the solution, which can also be a combination of options, it’s advisable to start thoroughly planning for it now and enlisting the help of a financial team of experts. My role is to provide clarity, advice and forethought to your unique business situation and get you to your desired outcome. Matthew Beckett, BCom, CFP, CIM is Assistant Vice President & Private Wealth Advisor/ Investment Advisor for Coastal Community Private Wealth Group/Credential Securities For more info, call 250.703.4165 Mutual funds, other securities and securities related financial planning are offered through Credential Securities, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Credential Securities is a registered mark owned by Aviso Wealth Inc.





NANAIMO – Just call them the Builders Code Champions. Nanaimo’s Mazzei Electric as Contractor of the Year and Chinook Scaffold Systems as Recruiting & Hiring Champion were two of six employers earning Builders Code Champion Awards for BC’s industrial, commercial and institutional construction sector. The BC Construction Association (BCCA), the Builders Code Governance Committee and Minerva BC judged the awards, which were launched in 2019 to recognize companies that took proactive measures to eliminate discrimination and harassment on worksites throughout the province, as well as prioritizing the importance of psychological and physical safety for all workers. Other winners were Westcana Electric of Prince George as Loyalty Champion, RAM Consulting Ltd. of Vancouver (medium sized employer) and Lafarge Canada of Vancouver (large employer) as Workplace Culture Champions, and Houle Electric of Vancouver as Community Champion. Wendy Gaskill, Corporate Safety Manager, has been with Chinook Scaffolding for six years, and says they’re excited about receiving the award, which recognizes companies that hire the best talent based on skills, experience, and attitude; work to attract diverse candidates; look for ways to remove barriers that hold them back; and compensate all employees at fair market value regardless of gender, race, religion, or ethnicity. “We’re pretty stoked about it,” Gaskill says. “It’s tough for women to break into the industry, so organizations like this really help to level the playing field for us.

“The most powerful aspect of the Builders Code is simply introducing the idea of all trades people are created equal and should be given equal opportunity.” Chinook Scaffolding has shown its focus on culture and values by signing the Builders Code pledge, and they were awarded a Champion Award in 2019 for their efforts. They have shown their continued efforts toward equity by working with other community tradeswomen initiatives, such as Women Building Futures (WBF). While they are aware their trade is one that requires a degree of physical strength, they’ve implemented processes that are designed to ensure all workers can have a fulfilling career with their company. They have a strong female component in management positions, with a continued commitment to promoting female tradespeople – it is driven from the top down. They clearly have demonstrated their unwavering commitment to inclusivity. This was the latest in a string of awards for Mazzei Electric. “I would absolutely recommend the Builders Code. I think it’s important that we have, I guess you can call it a platform across the industry that we are all held to the same standards,” states President Ben Mazzei. “I think if you look a lot of what the Builders Code stands for, that is what should be acceptable across society and there is no reason the construction industry shouldn’t be held to the same standard.” The Contractor of the Year Award recognizes companies that are committed to achieving an Acceptable Worksite and building a diverse December 2020

OFF THE COVERS workforce where all employees are able to perform at their best and reach their full potential. Mazzei Electric is a signatory of the Builders Code pledge. They ensure that we provide inclusive workplaces (this includes no tolerance for any sort of hazing, harassment, bullying, etc.), and ensure that all employees have equal opportunities to advance with us. 11 per cent of their workforce is women, and had their first female sub-foreman this year as well promoting a female Service Electrician into the Service Manager position. “On behalf of everyone at BCCA, Minerva BC and all our Builders Code partners, I want to thank our winners for their support of the Builders Code and their leadership across the province during this challenging year,” said BCCA President Chris Atchison. “These award recipients, the other nominees and the companies throughout BC who have

adopted Builders Code are helping to shape a new workplace culture for construction and encouraging others to get involved. They recognize that the Builders Code has helped them set clear behaviour expectations among employees and supported them in the development of company policies all of which are contributing to attractjay cousin ing and retaining employees in a tight labour An Independent M market.” PH 250The Builders Code is co-funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, with financial contributions from the BC Construction Association, WorkSafe BC, the Industry Training Authority, LNG Canada, the BCCA Employee Benefits Trust, and the BC Construction Safety Alliance. It is also supported by the province’s s four Regional Construction Associations and the Minerva Foundation of BC.


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A Mazzei project in progress on Elliot Road in West Kelowna.

MAZZEI ELECTRIC CONTINUES TO CEMENT GROWING LEGACY IN BC AN INVESTMENT IN PEOPLE, TECHNOLOGY AND CLIENTS PLACE MAZZEI IN A LEAGUE OF ITS OWN British Columbia - When Ben Mazzei took the helm of Mazzei Electric in 2008 from his father Frank, he not only endeavored to uphold a proud legacy, but enhance it. Founded in 1994 in Nanaimo, Ben’s arrival saw Mazzei Electric grow rapidly in the ensuing years, evolving from a focus on commercial service contracts, to covering multi-family residential, residential, commercial, Institutional and industrial construction.

Today, they have offices in Nanaimo, Fort St. John, Victoria and Kelowna, offering fullyequipped service vans in every location for residential and commercial service, renovations, and maintenance. Over the last nine years, they’ve maintained up to fifty-percent growth, an undeniable signal Mazzei Electric is doing something very right. They’ve accomplished this with a measurable dedication to their company ethos. NOVEMBER 2020

FEATURE STORY Safety. Innovation. T rust. Relationships. “I bel ieve we have a modern, progressive approach to how we d o b u s iness,” explains Ben. “We embrace new technologies, care Ben Mazzei took the helm of Mazzei Electric in 2008, with deeply about offices in Nanaimo, Fort St. John, Victoria and Kelowna safety (they are today. COR-certified by the British Columbia Construction Safety Alliance), have designed a scalable business model capable of moving into new regions fairly seamlessly, and invest in the long term growth of our people.” Mazzei Electric consists of a diverse team of

future, we’ve built a culture that demands high standards, fostering an ethos of collaboration and teamwork. Our Forepersons are encouraged to identify potential leaders within their teams, both Journeypersons and apprentices. Those individuals are rewarded with increased responsibility and training.” Another component in their staffing success has been an eagerness to take on a deeply underutilized percentage of the skilled trades workforce. Women make up barely five-percent of tradespeople working in BC. Mazzei’s numbers include twelve-percent women, including a strong female presence in their management teams. HR Manager, Monika Zwilling, knows everyone can do more, and hopes other companies across BC follow suit. Explains Monika, “Construction hasn’t always been a very inclusive environment. We are glad to see that this is changing and we are proud to be a leader on this front. Supporting women in

Electricians and project managers, talented trade veterans and a leadership team of professionals from outside the electric industry for a unique, adaptive mix of perspectives. A substantial amount of energy is put into holding onto this workforce. Director of Operations, Stuart Cuthbert, elaborates. “One of the keys to our success has been the retention, recruitment and development of our staff team, specifically those in field leadership positions. Strong leaders set the tone on the job site and are the cornerstone of successful project execution. By identifying, coaching and mentoring the leaders of today and the

trades doesn’t just mean hiring more women though. It means having fair and equitable


Mazzei’s co-op gas station project with W.L. Construction in Fort St.John.




hiring practices, inclusive and respectful workplaces, as well as zero tolerance policies for workplace harassment, bullying, and hazing. We are a signatory of the BC Construction Association’s Builders Code which sets a standard in construction for acceptable workplaces and improves the safety, retention, and productivity of trades people. If you look at some of the terminology that is used in construction it is very male dominated; for example Foreman or Journeyman. We have shifted our language to gender-neutral terms such as Foreperson and Journeyperson and are continually looking at ways to make our workplaces more inclusive and diverse.” Their strong internal culture and commitment to professional growth has, naturally, only further pushed their development as a company. Smart, driven leadership breeds stability and expanded business opportunities. “Our growth has not been by accident,” notes Mazzei CFO, Roger Perry. “In fact, in 2018 we developed a growth strategy for the company. Specifically, we found we could rely on the geographic diversification of the company’s operations and our diversification of product lines within the electrical industry. We knew we had a very good business model because of the success we’ve had with customers who were very successful in their own right. Having the ability to reduce our risk exposure through that diversification and having good alignment with key customers who were also growing allowed us to set out to build a reliable organization structure with management processes that could grow with increased business volume.”

Mazzei electric actively works to hire and support women in the trades.

This diversification gives Mazzei Electric a competitive advantage. Each branch has a service department as well as construction team completing a range of services across the province. Not depending on one type of work or region to support the business further cements their stability. This patience and vision from Ben and his team has spurred their consistent, double digit growth and, just as importantly in today’s climate, has allowed Mazzei to continue doing so through the COVID-19 crisis and its related challenges. This has allowed them to focus on exploring opportunities in new markets throughout the province, expand their product offering and continue to build on new and existing relationships. Concludes Ben, “We have spent a lot of time on our processes and making sure that they support the culture we want to have in the company and the value we bring to BC businesses and residents. It has paid off for us.”


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Rob Grey & Associates is pleased to announce the addition of Josh Higgins to our team of award winning REALTORS®. Josh brings a broad background in sales and marketing including 5 years as a top advertising salesperson at the Business Examiner. Josh is thrilled to join Rob Grey, Heather Rowland and their team and invites all of his many friends and past clients to call him for their real estate buying and selling needs. Rob Grey is one of Nanaimo's top producing REALTORS® and ranked #12 in Western Canada for Re/Max* out of approximately 7000 REALTORS®

* Based on Oct 31/’20 Re/Max of Western Canada standings

Josh Higgins, B.Comm Realtor




T he Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce recently held its AGM which was hosted virtually on the ZOOM platform, a first for the Chamber. Previously, SONJA NAGEL the Chamber’s AGM has been hosted at Arbutus Ridge Golf Club with food, beverage and a considerable amount of fanfare. We were initially concerned about securing a quorum due to the increase of “Zoom fatigue” in the business community. Fortunately, 38 attendees zoomed in and the AGM was a great success. Attendees enjoyed a virtual, pre-AGM dinner, in which they were encouraged to support local food and beverage operators with take-out or delivery. Members went on to conduct general business for the organization and acclaim six new and returning Directors to the Board. Welcome new Directors to the Board: Jason Farrugia, Island Savings, Renee Russell, Pemberton Holmes and Tammy Gurski and Valley Carpet One Floor and Home. The evening included a presentation from Alistair MacGregor, MP for the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding. Alistair expressed his thanks for the support from the Duncan Cowichan Chamber as well as Chemainus, Lake Cowichan and Westshore Chambers who are

strong advocates for the business community. With input from the Chamber network, many funding programs like CEWS, CERB, CEBA, rent subsidy and paid sick leave were greatly improved from when they were first announced. Chamber President Julie Scurr reported how the Chamber pivoted during the pandemic, providing the business community with daily updates on financial support programs and resources as they rolled out. The Chamber has also continued to be a strong and effective voice on behalf of both business and community interests. This year the Chamber supported organizations like the Raptors Centre and the Shawnigan Lake Museum amongst others for access to relief funds, the CVRD for funds to increase digital literacy in the arts community, and for Community Futures to target funds for a marketing campaign to support the retail and service sector, and restaurant and tourism businesses. The Chamber’s advocacy efforts remain extensive, including support of a policy on Restoring Rail on Vancouver Island, support for an accommodation business who was having bylaw issues with CVRD, and participation in efforts to reduce the federal excise tax impact on distilleries. The Chamber also spoke out loudly for our businesses against a North Cowichan proposed motion regarding a pause on development in advance of a new OCP. Treasurer Leah Hudson presented the financials, noting how difficult it has been this year with little revenue from cancelled events and December 2020

COWICHAN VALLEY decreased retail sales at the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre due to the pandemic, as well as a decrease in municipal grant revenue for the Visitor Centre. Memberships, however, have remained stable, which Hudson noted is a testament to the value of belonging to this powerful Chamber network. The Chamber is in a positive situation as a result of having access to the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy. I acknowledged our team in the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre and how they quickly adapted with the way they could deliver visitor services over the last 8 months, noting that the CRVC was one of the first Centres to partially reopen, and remain open, serving locals, islanders and mainlanders. I reflected on the last in-person event we hosted on February 27 with guest speaker from BC Housing. Who would have known that our policy at that luncheon of no hugging or handshaking would lead to today’s requirements to wear a mask, maintain strict social distancing and we would describe our closet family members as our bubble. In addition to gratitude expressed at the AGM, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our members for their continued support of the Chamber during this very challenging year. As a membership organization, membership dues and investments are our largest source of revenue, and it is thanks to our members that we are able to continue to advocate for businesses and create a roadmap for recovery in 2021. Thank you for all you do! We look forward to working with you in 2021 and to continuing to be the voice of business


in Cowichan. Happy New Year from the Board and staff at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce. Sonja Nagel is the Executive Director of the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce.


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WEBB WORLD DEVELOPMENTS BUILDS COMMUNITIES COWICHAN VALLEY COMPANY KEEPS NATURAL LANDSCAPES WITHIN ITS PROJECTS COWICHAN VALLEY – Building communities and keeping natural landscapes. Those are the goals at the forefront of Webb World Developments, as founder Charlie Webb and his son Fynn Webb near completion of turning 35 acres in North Cowichan into a series of communities that blend into their environment. “We started off with developing 15 acres, and now, altogether about 35 acres of what was called Stone Haven, one of The Stone Families original family homes ” notes Charlie, who started the company in 1995. “We have all of these different phases: Stone Haven Estates, The Orchard, The Parkside, The Trail Side, The Trail Side Villas, Stone Manor Estates, and now the final phase,

Charlie Webb and Fynn Webb look over house plans

December 2020

FEATURE STORY which I’m very proud of is called The Cottages at property’s beauty and build homes in the Stone Manor, which is an 18 townhouse project, midst of it. For example, Webb has managed with cottage-style homes. We are preserving to preserve several large Sequoia trees that the Original Stone Family home and much of were transplanted there decades ago by the the mature landscaping on the property located Stone Family. within the Cottages development.” “I was educated by a local arborist, who Charlie notes that the Cottages are going to taught me how to preserve and maintain and match the English Craftsman style of the oribuild around the mature landscaping,” notes ginal Stone house, and “these Cottages are going to be situated around a very unique courtyard setting, providing a wonderful sense of community. They will be geared towards retirees, and will have a smaller footprint and be more affordable. It’s all about community, and the residents will be able to go out and work in their gardens from the large porches providing the unique community the opportunity to support and do things together.” Webb World Developments offers land development solutions that maximize the natural assets available to end purchasers by methods designed to protect the environment and assist land owners in achieving their financial goals. In addition the company also provides housing alternatives in the form of land and home packages as well as custom built homes for discriminating purchasers. “My son and I pride ourselves on the fact that we’re building communities,” he adds. “When a phase of the subdivisions are completed, we love to see people living in their homes communicating with each other, walking to the parks and using the walking trails. We’re building beautiful homes, but we’re also preserving a lot of the mature landscape around the homes.” Mike Stone, son of Carlton Stone, Congratulations and Continued who owned Hillcrest Lumber, a Success to Charlie and the Team! major employer in the Cowichan Valley that donated the land for Specializing in Blinds, Draperies, the Cowichan Valley Hospital, Shutters and Motorization gave Webb the opportunity to purchase and develop on their Serving the Cowichan Valley P: 250.746.9901 family property. E: Webb’s goal from the ning has been to preserve the WWW.BUSINESSEX AMINER.CA




Webb. “For example, The Orchard phase was originally Mary Stone’s rhododendron garden and fruit tree Orchard. We developed a little strata project there, called the Orchard and we were able to preserve and maintain all of the very mature rhododendron trees and apple trees.” Webb adds they have a lavender on the property that Mary Stone brought from France, which Dinter’s Nursery has been propagating that for years. Working with his son, Fynn, has been “a game changer. With his extraordinary skills he’s been able to take Webb Worlds team to a new level that we wouldn’t have been able to do before. His new thinking has brought us into a new dynamic, managing the design of our new West Coast Modern Contemporary homes. “It really is an amazing feeling to have so many people trust myself and my son to build them their dream home. It’s an honor, and I think the homeow ners feel honored to live in comFree Estimates munities like these.” 250.709.0280 Webb World Developments has been growWe are pleased ing exponentially in the to support WEBB past several years, and World Developments they are also constructin their success! ing many new homes in RESIDENTIAL




WEBB WORLD DEVELOPMENTS - Suzanne, Michelle & the staff at End Of The Roll

Happy Webb World Developments clients on site

the King’s View development in Maple Bay. Webb maintains the secret to the company’s success is in its relationships, noting “I’ve been building relationships with local trades for all these years, and I have a real team of amazing trades, that I’ve been using for years. It’s almost like a family.” D espite t he d i f f icu lt ies of 2020 w it h COVID-19, Webb notes the Vancouver Island housing market remains strong, as the region is well recognized as a safe and beautiful place to live. “The Cowichan Valley is such a unique area in the country, with the weather, the quality of life, the climate, and it’s so beautiful here. It’s a phenomenal place to live,” he states.

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FREEDOM CAPITAL: INVESTING IN THEIR CLIENTS SO CLIENTS CAN INVEST IN THEMSELVES CUTTING THROUGH READ TAPE AND REGULATIONS, PIP DHALIWAL TAKES A FRESH APPROACH TO ALTERNATIVE AND COMMERCIAL LENDING BRITISH COLUMBIA - Founded in 2010, Freedom Capital is the brainchild of founder and CEO Pip Dhaliwal. Working as a loan officer at a standard bank, Pip saw a need in the financing market for alternative solutions after watching frustration clients see their banks cater largely to fully-employed clientele, rather than investors and entrepreneurs. “Strict guidelines and red tape make getting access to loans no easy task,” explains Pip. “Traditional institutions look at only credit history and net income, limit clients to one or two projects, amongst many other complications.” Freedom Capital takes a different approach, looking at total assets as a whole to form a clearer picture of their clients, providing solutions unique to each one. “We find that brokers in today’s market look to complete deals on a transactional basis,” elaborates Pip. “At Freedom Capital, our goal is to focus on making the client’s experience stress-free, providing quick, easy access to lending with a transparent and flexible repayment system. This has allowed us to develop long term clients and establish strong relationships with their lenders.” As Pip sees it, private financing is an increasingly important option in business communities Canada-wide, offering those with financing issues customized solutions that make sense. Over the last decade, Freedom Capital has established itself as one of the most dominant national alternative brokerages in Canada, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. They do this by functioning in the niche of private, commercial and construction financing, rather than operating as a one stop shop brokerage.


The Freedom Capital team works hard to provide quick, easy access to lending, transparent and flexible repayment, and a personal touch for each client.

This has allowed them to refine their expertise and provide the very best service to their customers. Notes Pip, “We are well known to our lenders and clients, and provide unsurpassed service with win-win solutions for both parties. We have frequently turned around approval in less than twenty-four hours.” Pip considers Freedom Capital’s most significant strength as seeing clients not as a number, but motivated entrepreneurs with goals; people who may have suffered some setback in their personal or business careers, and simply need an advocate in their corner. A lack of hidden costs, compounding fees or lengthy agreement terms mean those people have an ally in Freedom Capital. Concludes Pip, “We care about our clients visions and goals, and most of all doing what’s right.”


WHO IS SUING WHOM The contents of Who’s Suing Whom is provided by a thirdparty resource and is accurate according to public court documents. Some of these cases may have been resolved by publication date. DEFENDANT Aerie Dental Centre 1-590 North Rd, Gabriola Island, BC PLAINTIFF Lamb, Zoe CLAIM $35,236 DEFENDANT Built Contracting Ltd 994 Errington Rd, Parksville, BC PLAINTIFF JD Plumbing And Gas Inc CLAIM $9,282


DEFENDANT Coastline Express Ltd 105-1740 Convair Pl, Sidney, BC Ebonies Enterprises Ltd CLAIM $12,262

DEFENDANT Ever y t h i ng Fi na ncia l Group 530-130 Brew St, Port Moody, BC PLAINTIFF Westland, Craig CLAIM $26,384 DEFENDANT Grants Small Motors Inc 7865A East Saanich Rd, Saanichton, BC PLAINTIFF PSC Power Source Canada Ltd CLAIM $12,526 DEFENDANT Hillview Renovations 5348 Catalina St, Nanaimo, BC PLAINTIFF JD Plumbing And Gas Inc

CLAIM $12,415 DEFENDANT CPM Canadian Property Management Inc 1214 Haliburton Close NW, Edmonton, AB PLAINTIFF Rideout Construction Ltd CLAIM $5,746 DEFENDANT Horizon Motorcycles Ltd 4883 North Island Hwy, Courtenay, BC PLAINTIFF Mason, James CLAIM $18,531 DEFENDANT Hud Studios Inc 102-5301 Ch a ster Rd, Duncan, BC PLAINTIFF Segev LLP CLAIM $18,354

DEFENDANT JBR Construction Ltd 2700-700 West Georgia St, Vancouver, BC PLAINTIFF Lehigh Hanson Materials Limited CLAIM $40,337 Ladkeen (Canada) Ltd 400-1401 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC PLAINTIFF Dhanjal Homes Construction Ltd CLAIM $52,305 DEFENDANT Medium The Mover Inc 6645 Sherbrooke St West, Montreal, QC PLAINTIFF McConnell, Colleen CLAIM $18,759 DEFENDANT Nadina Lake Contracting Ltd

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WHO IS SUING WHOM 1725 Pelter Pl, Ladysmith, BC PLAINTIFF Mid Island Consumer Services Cooperative CLAIM $9,141 DEFENDANT NFO Solutions Inc 602-770 Fisgard St, Victoria, BC PLAINTIFF Brenton Construction Corp CLAIM $33,853 DEFENDANT Parkway A lliance Developments Ltd 301-830 Shamrock St, Victoria, BC PLAINTIFF Pitro Painting CLAIM $20,150 DEFENDANT Pino Lite Glass Ltd


450 Banga Pl, Victoria, BC PLAINTIFF 235 Russell Holdings Ltd CLAIM $10,716 DEFENDANT Rawlinson Moving & Storage Ltd 1024 Westport Cres, Mississauga, ON PLAINTIFF McConnell, Colleen CLAIM $ 18,759 DEFENDANT Saanich Ridge Development Ltd 1727 Jefferson Ave, Victoria, BC PLAINTIFF Colliers International Realty Advisors CLAIM $9,231 DEFENDANT Saanich Ridge Development Ltd

1727 Jefferson Ave, Victoria, BC PLAINTIFF Colliers International Realty Advisors Inc CLAIM $8,741 DEFENDANT Sirva Canada LP 580-40 King St West, Toronto, ON PLAINTIFF McConnell, Colleen CLAIM $18,759 DEFENDANT Superior Plus LP 400-725 Gra nv i l le St, Vancouver, BC PLAINTIFF Pierce, Larry CLAIM $ 34,602 DEFENDANT Ultra Fin Mfg Inc 3rd Flr 26 Bastion Square, Victoria, BC

PLAINTIFF Fundme Consulting Inc CLAIM $ 15,828 DEFENDANT Westsea Construction Ltd 1200-925 West Georgia St, Vancouver, BC PLAINTIFF Walker, Sally CLAIM $ 9,638 DEFENDANT Zenabis Global Inc 1-15782 Marine Dr, White Rock, BC PLAINTIFF Adobe Inc CLAIM $ 333,076 DEFENDANT Zenabis Ltd 1700-666 Bu rra rd St, Vancouver, BC PLAINTIFF Adobe Inc CLAIM $ 333,076



(From left to right) Tyra, Emma, Sheryl, Kris and Syvanna McNichol. Kris and Sheryl’s daughters have each contributed to CPI in their own unique way over the years


TAKING A CHANCE ON THEMSELVES, THE MCNICHOL’S BUILT A CUTTING EDGE AQUACULTURE ENTERPRISE WITH A PERSONAL TOUCH NANOOSE BAY - Launching a new business in a packed market after having added a third member to your family might seem counterintuitive, but Kris and Sheryl McNichol aren’t your typical entrepreneurs. That’s precisely what the McNichols did in 2001 after the birth of their third daughter, creating CPI Equipment Inc. to serve a multitude of needs in the aquaculture industry in Canada, and across the globe. From supplying and installing aeration/plankton equipment, ensilage systems, water treatment, central pumping, mort retrieval, HDPE, net cleaning and more, CPI packs a full-service experience into what is, definitionally, a true family business. When the couple began their journey as CPI, they understood risk was a major part of the equation. “Starting a small company in a competitive market, you need cash to survive. You take calculated risks in almost everything you do,’’ explains Sheryl, who wears a number of hats

as office manager, bookkeeper, and marketer. “Sales and marketing are tough, as there is only so much time in a day. Marketing products produced as a smaller company; it can be difficult to earn the trust of new customers. Larger companies have entire departments for this, but we do it on our own. Add to that the pressures of raising a family, it’s a lot resting on your shoulders.” What they lack in size, they’ve made up for in expertise. Kris brings over twenty-five years of experience in aquaculture to the table, from strategic business management, technical sales, product development, product launch, and life-cycle project management, including leading project execution teams in Canada, the United States, Chile, the UK, and Norway. “Prior to launching CPI, I was a key accounts manager for BCG Services, and specialized in a number of industries, from industrial, municipal, agricultural, and aquaculture,” adds Kris. December 2020


CPI employee Mitch Novak inspects a fish farm. CPI provides the anti-static feed pipes going to each fish pen

In addition to his role as President of CPI, Kris operates as a Special Advisor to Hydro Pacific Pumps Inc. in Surrey, which provides downhole pump solutions in the oil and gas industry. Sheryl, whose marketing and business expertise come courtesy of Sales/Business and Marketing studies at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, has accomplished much both professionally and personally since their arrival on the Island in 1994 to start a family. In addition to keeping the ship sailing smoothly on the admin and marketing end, she and Kris can take some credit for their three daughter’s various contributions to CPI. Their influence and work ethic most certainly rubbed off on the next generation of McNichols. Syvanna, studying biomedical engineering at UVic, established a co-op with CPI, and helped them with grant applications. Emma, a nurse focusing on a career in women’s health, created marketing videos for trade shows CPI have attended in Norway. Finally, Tyra has worked side-by-side with her parents for almost six years, supporting the company in a variety of endeavors. CPI’s growth in the aquaculture market has not only been due to the combined expertise of its owners, but a customized approach to their customers, intelligently timed pivots in business focus, and a knack for collaborating with the right people. On their customer relationships, Kris elaborates, “Most of our equipment is designed locally by our WWW.BUSINESSEX AMINER.CA

own professional engineer/design and machine team. With years of expertise, our own machine shop, and 24/7 communication we are proud to supply our customers with superior products and custom designs. We have engineers, machinists, welders, pump specialists, designers and more on our staff or contracted. We believe the personal attention we can give our clients sets us apart from our industry peers.” Since 2001, CPI has grown and branched out. From a humble shop the size of a two-bay garage in Parksville, to an 8,000 square foot location on 2.5 acres of land in Nanoose Bay, the ten member strong team can handle manufacturing, fabrication and engineering in-house. As they’ve expanded, so too have their ambitions and partnerships. In 2015 CPI chose to re-focus their work toward life support and extraction specializations, while in 2016 they launched their first generation ODiN Aerator manual system, developing custom ensilage systems for hatcheries the same year. They also began working with Lift UP, headquartered out of Eikelandsosen, Norway, specializing in mort (dead fish) removal to supply mort retrieval systems in Canada. Since then, they’ve launched two new generations of ODiN systems, as well as partnering with Denmark’s Landia to install the first bio cop ensilage systems along Canada’s West Coast. Contributes Sheryl, “This year, we signed a deal with Moleaer out of Torrance, California to utilize their Nano bubble oxygen generators for aquaculture, and signed on Norway’s TESS Technical Trade as distributor for the ODiN Aeration systems and Nano bubble oxygen systems.” With aquaculture being one of the biggest economic drivers across Vancouver Island, CPI is at the forefront of a movement to optimize every step of the process, while protecting the delicate environment these sites inhabit. Clean water, healthy stock, reduced maintenance and larger harvests are a critical part of CPI’s mission. Kris and Sheryl plan to innovate, meet and exceed those goals in the years to come.




The Double High house in Nanaimo, built under supervision and support of Tectonica, retained by Checkwitch Poiron Architects.

TECTONICA’S UNIQUE APPROACH TURNS CONSTRUCTION AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT ON ITS HEAD WITH A COLLABORATIVE AND CREATIVE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION PROCESS, TECTONICA SETS ITSELF APART IN BC NA NA IMO - L au nche d i n 2005 by Bi l Derby, Darren Moss, Bob Moss, and Barry Fairbank, Tectonica Management Inc. is a Nanaimo-based construction and project management company with a unique perspective in their deeply competitive industry. With commercial, industrial, institutional,

retail and residential projects across Central Vancouver Island, Tectonica has built a considerable reputation for strong values, dedication to clients and a highly successful approach to construction and project management This industry experience is reinforced by the diverse expertise of its founding December 2020


Tectonica’s Directors from left-to-right: Bob Moss, Darren Moss, Barry Fairbank, Alan Staight, Buddy Roozenburg, Bil Derby and Florian Schultz

members in professional fields such as architecture engineering services, real estate, and development. “While I am technically the President, among the seven directors we make decisions via consensus,” explains Bil. “Often, in our strategic decision making, we seek input from our deeply knowledgeable staff. Core to our philosophy is a strong belief that every person has a stake in decisions, and can contribute to the strength and health of the enterprise.” Their set of guiding values have made them a popular choice for clients, consisting of local governments, advanced education

organizations, health authorities, large and small developers and private commercial property owners. These bedrock principles include a persistent desire to add value to their client’s planning, design and construction processes through rigorous, creative, thoughtful, and professional application of their considerable skills and experience. Elaborates Bil, “We believe that construction management, where the construction manager works as the owner’s agent, results in a more collaborative and creative design and construction process. This has proven one-hundred percent accurate over the last fifteen years. We assemble and lead teams that design and construct complex and challenging projects that would be otherwise difficult to complete under more traditional project delivery models, whether that be cost, schedule, construction complexity, and constraints of existing conditions, heritage reconstruction standards, or challenges with the municipal approvals processes.” This frequently requires educating prospective clients, helping them understand the limitations imposed by low bid stipulated priced (fixed price) contracting. Once clients experience the benefits of Tectonica’s particular brand of construction management, the team regularly finds customers returning time and time again with new projects. O n Tecton ic a’s approach, Bi l f u r t her

Congratulations to the team at Tectonica Management on your 2020 VIREB Commercial Building Award! #7 - 4151 Mostar Rd.l Nanaimo P: 250.758.5440


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explains, “In our model, the owner typically hires us at the same time as the architect, and we work as an integral part of the design team as the construction expert providing reliable information on constructability, cost and schedule in addition to managing most or all aspects of permitting and approvals. Using the completed construction drawings, we undertake competitive Trade tendering processes, evaluate bids, prepare and manage trade contracts, and construct the project as the Prime Contractor.” Tectonica chose to focus on construction management as a project delivery model, creating a strong and collaborative team-based approach to building that avoids the pitfalls of more conventional construction contracts and approaches. “With us, many issues experienced during a traditional build are resolved before they ever break ground. The trades are hired in a different way, sometimes being brought in early on a design assist contract. By implementing this type of risk assessment and risk management earlier in the project, the client is able to make well informed decisions about their project and how to achieve their goals.” Still, It takes a certain level of trust in a company to allow them to manage so many moving parts. Tectonica’s foundational tenets of honesty, integrity, transparency and reliability have given them a reputation of being up for that challenge. Congratulations on a stunning building! Pleasure to be a part of the team that worked on this project.

“We conduct our business in a manner consistent with our core values,” notes Bil. “This way, we construct and maintain trust-based relationships with our clients and the communities we serve.” Tectonica’s approach and value proposition is clearly convincing, having made and continuing to make their mark on the Island. A small sampling of projects include the Aspengrove School in Nanaimo, Port Alberni Community Dialysis Facility, the Spirit Water bottling facility in Port Alberni, the Nanaimo Train Station rehabilitation project and the Duncan Fire Hall Seismic and Envelope Upgrade project. A notewor t hy col l ab orat ion w it h t he Uchucklesaht Tribe Government resulted in The Thunderbird, a mixed-use commercial residential development designed to create cultural, economic and social development opportunities for tribal members, and act as a cultural bridge to non-First Nation communities. Providing both project and construction management services on the project, The Thunderbird won the 2017 VIREB award for Excellence in its class. They’ve also branched into their own development projects. Notes Bil, “Cardea Residences, a 46-unit mixed use commercial and residential building, was developed by Darren, Barry, Bob and myself to fill a need for high quality, architecturally driven, purpose-built residential units in the heart of downtown Nanaimo. As

Serving Vancouver Island, Okanagan & Northern BC

Congratulations to Tectonica Management on your 2020 VIREB Commercial Building Award!


December 2020


The Cardea Residences, a 46-unit mixed use commercial and residential building, was developed by Darren Moss, Barry Fairbank, Bob Moss and Bil Derby in downtown Nanaimo.

both developer and construction manager, this project has shaped our growth strategy moving forward, and is one of the most rewarding projects we’ve completed to date.” This rewarding work would not be possible without applying their external values within. Tectonica is increasingly employee owned. Of their seventeen current employees, seven are directors and shareholders. Tectonica’s leadership sees their team as their greatest strength in an increasingly competitive market. Says Bil, “Hiring highly motivated and skilled individuals who understand our value proposition is essential. As a matter of course, we invest significantly in each team member’s professional and personal growth. Each of


our colleagues contribute to the success of the company in ways not always associated with their specific role. By offering ownership opportunities we have one more way to reward leadership, commitment and vision.” As Tectonica moves into the new year, their ambitions for the future remain strong, with a growth strategy designed to carefully, deliberately expand into more unique and complex projects large and small, and seeking partnerships with clients who share their vision. They also intend to continue development of their own projects. And while they are always keeping an ear to the ground for opportunities across the island, Central Vancouver Island remains Tectonica’s playground. Concludes Bil, “Central Vancouver Island has incredible potential. We are excited to play a part in the continued growth of this region.”



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BRITISH COLUMBIA - While the COVID-19 Pandemic has struck BC businesses hard, one private sector has managed to hold its own in 2020: Construction. According to BC Construction Industry Statistics released by the BC Construction Association, the value of construction projects underway in the province is $112.3 billion, down only two per cent from 2019. The value of proposed construction projects is $220 billion, up 7 percent. Construction again ranked number one as the top employer in the BC Goods Sector, with 205,500 employees – although that was down 13 per cent from 236,000 the year before. That’s about 10 percent of the total provincial workforce. Still, that’s pretty good compared to other sectors. Average annual wages went to $59,141, down from $61,784 in 2019. Chris Atchison, President of the BCCA, says “The construction industry is resilient and used to managing risk. COVID-19 will challenge us, but we will work together and we will come through it.” Rory Kulmala, Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA), notes “This year has been unlike anything we have experienced in recent memory. The effects of COVID have severely impacted

Rory Kulmala of VICA

most, if not all, sectors of our economy. “Throughout this, construction activities across British Columbia were designated an essential service. As a result, our industry was fortunate to avoid many of the layoffs and closures that affected so many other businesses. Construction has persevered and adapted to a new paradigm by adopting new workplace procedures to ensure that construction work can continue in a safe manner.” Kulmala adds “As we look to 2021, construction December 2020


Angela McKerlich of BCCA


will play a vital role in our economic recovery as further investment in our Island communities will continue to provide critical and stable employment while meeting our construction needs.” Angela McKerlich, BCCA Board Chair, stated in their Annual Report that “When it became apparent in early March that drastic measures would be required, the BCCA helped convene a task force that sprang into action to represent the safety and interests of BC’s industrial, commercial, and institutional sector.” On March 26, construction was declared an essential service, and McKerlich says the industry came together. “We stood united for the safety of our workforce and for the economic stability of our businesses, but also for the greater good of our




communities and province,” she says. “Many owners and workers might have preferred to stand down, stay home, ride it out, but they came to work and they did the job and they got us through. “We saw highly competitive contractors collaborate like never before, sharing best practices and working round the clock to help each other learn and adapt to the demands of COVID-19. My hard hat goes off to all of them.” McKerlich points out that in crises like these, industry associations are critical, as they advocate for business owners and interests to government and remind politicians and bureaucrats about how vital sectors like construction are to the province. BCCA President Chris Atchison concurs, adding “Our relationship with the Canadian Construction Association is strong and we supported them in their governance transformation. BC remains well-represented at the

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Chris Atchison of BCCA

committee level and frequently consults with our national representatives and our colleagues representing other provinces and territories.” And while construction continues on as an essential service during COVID-19, there is another cloud potentially on the horizon, pointed out by ICBA President Chris Gardner: The now majority government NDP angling towards stripping secret ballots from workers. In an op-ed that first appeared in the Vancouver Sun in November, Gardner penned: “Even before the mail-in ballots were counted and the final results of the provincial election certified, an executive from one of the biggest unions in the country was urging the new NDP government to trample all over the hard-won rights of workers across BC. In an op-ed for the Vancouver Sun, Unifor regional director Gavin McGarrigle called on the NDP Government to immediately enact ‘pro-worker’ legislation that

December 2020


Chris Gardner of ICBA

would strip workers of the secret ballot vote when deciding whether or not to join a union. Gardner wrote that the secret ballot has been the law in BC since 2001, and it ensures that neither employers nor unions are able to coerce or intimidate workers. Certification votes are fair, transparent and supervised by a neutral party, the Labour Relations Board. “What some big labour organizers like McGarrigle want is a ‘card check’ system that is notoriously open to manipulation and abuse. In 2018, an independent panel appointed by the NDP Government recommended that the secret ballot remain part of the Labour Code in BC. The Panel found that the secret ballot is ‘most consistent with our democratic norms, protects the fundamental right of freedom of association and choice, and is preferred.’ “There is nothing more fundamental to our democracy than the secret ballot – whether it’s


when we elect governments or members to local community associations, it is the secret ballot we rely on to provide assurance that the vote is free from manipulation by any interested party. Working men and women deserve no less when they are deciding to join a union.” There are 25,817 construction companies in the province, 92 per cent of which have less than 20 employees. Unionization of these smaller companies would be devastating to employers. “The decision to support joining a union is a deeply personal one and not one workers should have to make while a union organizer is standing over his or her desk, or when surrounded by colleagues watching to see if they sign a union card, or when a union card is put in front of them on their doorstep,” Atchison says. “Stripping workers of the secret ballot will only serve to weaken the rights of workers at the expense of big unions and harkens back to a bygone era. In a rapidly changing and modern economy, workers deserve choice, openness and fairness. “All British Columbians should be concerned about this attack on the democratic rights of workers and fairness in the workplace. We have enjoyed relative labour peace in BC over the past two decades and it is troubling to see voices so committed to turning back the clock on labour relations in our province.” By far, the non-residential project with the biggest industry impact is the ongoing liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Kitimat, a joint venture between Shell, PETRONAS, KOGAS, PetroChina and the Mitsubishi Corporation. This is the single largest private sector investment in the nation’s history at $40 billion. With so much growth on the horizon through projects like this, Atchison notes the BCCA is working hard to attract new employees to the



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industry, addressing the looming labour shortage issues. “Even with so much good news, we’re still facing labour shortages, which are being reported in almost every region of the province,” Atchison said earlier. “Even with the slowdown in the residential market, there’s growth in the industrial/commercial/ institutional sector that needs to be accounted for. The construction industry is one of many industries that is facing challenges due to an aging workforce.” In its 2020-2029 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward national report, BuildForce Canada notes that employment in Canada’s construction and maintenance industry is anticipated to grow by 50,200 workers by 2029. When coupled with the anticipated retirement of more than 257,000 construction workers over the same period, the industry will need to recruit more than 307,000 workers over the decade to keep pace with demand, according to the labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada. The increased labour demand is propelled by major public transportation and infrastructure, utility, the liquefied natural gas (LNG), pipeline, and health services projects. New-housing construction is expected to bounce back in most provinces, building on growing non-residential construction and maintenance demands fueled by ongoing investments in public and private infrastructure and increasing heavy industrial maintenance requirements. “Canada’s construction outlook has strengthened from last year,” says Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Our scenario predicts that growth will slow in the latter half of the decade, although labour market

December 2020 CVIY-Business-Examiner-Ad.indd 1

2020-12-18 1:28:08 PM

CONSTRUCTION challenges are anticipated to intensify as the retirement wave crests and the pool of available youth shrinks.” British Columbia was expected to remain the fastest-growing market in 2020 and 2021, driven by public transportation projects, pipelines, and work on the LNG Canada project and related pipeline infrastructure. “Meeting anticipated peak employment demands in British Columbia and Ontario will likely require significant levels of interprovincial mobility,” says Ferreira. “Accessing workers from provinces where market conditions have softened will be critical.” Non-residential employment demands are also expected to grow throughout the scenario period. The principle driver has been an explosion of major projects in the energy and utilities sectors, public transportation, and other institutional infrastructure projects. Growth in retail and wholesale trade, the transportation and warehousing sectors, and manufacturing should further boost construction of industrial buildings, while immigration-driven population growth will maintain upward pressure on commercial and institutional construction. Employment in non-residential construction is expected to rise by 33,100 workers (+6 per cent) over the scenario period. The development of skilled tradespersons in the construction industry takes years, and often requires participation in a provincial apprenticeship program. As such, replacing retiring workers typically requires several years of pre-planning to avoid the creation of skills gaps. By 2029, an estimated 257,100 construction workers, or 22 per cent of the 2019 labour force, are expected to retire. B a sed on h i stor ic a l t rend s, Ca n ad a’s


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construction industry is expected to draw an estimated 227,600 first-time entrants aged 30 and younger from the local population, leaving the industry with a possible retirement-recruitment gap of 29,500 workers. When coupled with demand growth, the industry may be short as many as 82,400 workers by 2029. Clearly, an ongoing commitment to training and apprenticeship development will be necessary to ensure there are sufficient numbers of qualified tradespeople to sustain a skilled labour force over the long term. To meet its growing needs, the construction and maintenance industry will need to increase recruitment from groups traditionally underrepresented in the current construction labour force, including women, Indigenous people, and new Canadians. In 2019, Canada’s construction industry employed approximately 191,700 women, of which

27 per cent worked directly on construction projects. Of the 1.1 million tradespeople employed in the industry, women made up only 4.7 per cent. Similarly, Indigenous people accounted for little more than 4.9 per cent of the total, of which about 81 per cent work directly on construction projects. Increasing the participation of both these groups would go a long way to help the industry address future labour force needs. “The construction industry will need to concentrate on recruiting, training, and retaining young workers, even as peak labour demand slows,” says Ferreira. “Even if the labour market leverages full interprovincial mobility, the industry will still need to be diligent in recruiting, training, and retaining young workers, and expand recruiting efforts for new workers from local labour, other industries, and new immigrants to meet ongoing labour needs.”

December 2020


VANCOUVER ISLAND BUYERS REAL ESTATE DEMAND HAMPERED BY LOW INVENTORY VANCOUVER ISLAND – Last month, 422 single-family detached properties (excluding acreage and waterfront) sold on the MLS System compared to 318 in November 2019, a 33 per cent increase. Sales dipped by 19 per cent from October. In the condo apartment category, sales rose by 65 per cent year over year and decreased by 17 per cent from October. Row/townhouse sales increased by 84 per cent from the previous year but dropped by eight per cent from October. Active listings of single-family detached properties were 541 in November compared to 733 in October, a 26 per cent decrease. There were 307 condo apartments and 143 row/townhouses for sale last month, down eight per cent and 27 per cent, respectively, from October. The benchmark price of a single-family home hit $540,300 in November, up by four per cent year over year. The benchmark price of an

apartment reached $310,200, an increase of four per cent, while the benchmark price of a townhouse rose by nine per cent year over year, climbing to $441,600. In Campbell River, the benchmark price of a single-family home hit $475,900, an increase of eight per cent over last year. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $544,900, up by three per cent from one year ago. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $502,100, an increase of five per cent from November 2019. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose by one per cent, hitting $564,500, while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by seven per cent to $620,100. The cost of a benchmark single-family home in Port Alberni reached $326,800, a marginal year-over-year increase. For the North Island, the benchmark price rose to $237,300, an 18 per cent increase over last year.


Project Address

Project Type

Project Details

Award / Low Bidder

Campbell River

Various locations

Civil work

Electoral Area D Water Meter Stations

Ridgeline Mechanical Ltd



CFB Comox

Institutional add/alter

B85F Renovations

MJ Chahley Construction Group


Comox Valley RD

445 Brent Rd


CVWPCC - Odour Control Upgrades - Installation

Knappett Industries

Cowichan Valley RD

4384 Cowichan Lake Rd

Consulting services

Detailed Seismic Review - Sahtlam Fire Hall

Stantec Consulting Ltd


5878 York Rd

Institutional add/alter

VIHA - Overdose Prevention Site - Construction

Western Medical Contracting


CFB Esquimalt

Consulting services

DY Crane Rail Underground Voids

AECOM Canada Ltd


Holland Creek

Civil work

Water Supply Main - Phase 2

Don Mann Excavating


430 Selby St


Curriculum Resource Centre and Library Building

MWL Demolition


North Cowichan

Ford & Drinkwater Rd

Consulting services

Intersection and Road Improvements



Oak Bay


Institutional add/alter

Lab Renovations - Petch Building

Kinetic Construction

Port McNeill

2217 Mine Rd


Steel portable bridge - Seaward Business Area

Magnum Fabricators Ltd


900 Fifth St

Institutional add/alter

VIU - 4th Street Walkways & Building 255 Ramp

Milestone Equipment Contr



Institutional add/alter

Cunningham Building Upgrade

Cascadia West Contracting Ltd


9860 W Saanich Rd

Mechanical, electrical

Substation 5 Replacement

ARRM Electric Ltd


1625 Bank St

Consulting services

Building Condition Assessment

AK Murphy Architect Ltd



2,208,000 42,110 N/A 45,000 288,298

275,000 N/A 675,000 2,258,151 250,000 N/A




Strategic Mechanical at work

STRATEGIC MECHANICAL POSITIONS ITSELF FOR THE FUTURE GROWING MECHANICAL AND PLUMBING COMPANY MOVES TO NEW LOCATION NANAIMO – Strategic Mechanical is growing and they’re on the move. President Todd Ross, who started the commercial mechanical and plumbing company in 2017, notes the firm has been growing every year, and they recently purchased the former Securco building at the

corner of Fitzwilliam and Milton Streets downtown for its Vancouver Island headquarters. “We’ve doubled our sales every year since I started the company, and we already have more on the books for next year than we’ve had for all of 2020.”

December 2020

CONSTRUCTION Strategic Mechanical provides complete mecha n ica l systems including Plumbing, HVAC, Refrigeration and Fire Protection systems for new construction and renovation proStrategic Mechanical President Todd Ross jects, including office buildings, multi-unit residential, warehouses and industrial. They also provide residential and commercial service for all systems, furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, in-floor heating, HRV units, boiler services and roof top units. The bulk of Strategic Mechanical’s work is multi-story residential and commercial. They are currently working on several BC Housing projects, and the new Cumberland Fire Hall. Recent jobs include the new Hotel Z in Tofino, Village on Third, the new Minuteman Storage building and the new 49th Parallel Grocery store at Berkey’s Corner in Duncan. “This year, we’ve worked on projects in Tofino, Ucluelet, Powell River, Sechelt, Duncan and Nanaimo,” Ross states. “We have a full-service department that looks after customers from Campbell River to Victoria, with people stationed in Victoria, Courtney and Nanaimo.” “That’s an important part of our company, as our philosophy is that we are involved with building the buildings, and we maintain them


after they’re completed as well, so all of our services come under one umbrella,” he adds, noting their team has many years’ experience with design-build projects. “We strive for attention to detail, we’re extremely organized, always looking to improve on materials and methods by keeping up to date with new technology.” Ross has been working on Vancouver Island since 1994, and his extensive resume includes being the mechanical supervisor on the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo, the Duke Point Ferry Terminal for BC Ferries, and the expansion of the Beban Park Leisure Pool. After working for other companies, he felt it was time to go out on his own three years ago and start Strategic Mechanical, and he has not looked back. “I have always wanted to lead, and never really wanted to follow,” he recalls. “Even when I worked for previous employers, I always treated every job as if it were my own. It was a natural progression to move on to start my own company.” “I really find great satisfaction when we can provide clients with what they’re looking for, helping to educate them about the job and keep things cost effective.” Ross also attributes his company’s success to “the people I’ve surrounded myself with, my employees. With the skilled labour, the ability we have to estimate competitively, negotiate contracts, and finishing the job exceeding expectations. “





MARK MACDONALD Who will be the voice for free enterprise in British Columbia now? With the BC Liberals’ abysmal showing in the recent provincial election, and NDP decisions continuing to decimate the economy, an opportunity is there for someone or a group of people to re-unify the non-left. Clearly, a three percent reduction in the Provincial Sales Tax as their election “game changer” did nothing to excite or attract voters. Quite frankly, if that’s the best that Andrew Wilkinson could come up with, well, shame on him. Wilkinson’s pledge of allegiance to Dr. Bonnie Henry left him no room to navigate, and Henry became a shield that enabled Premier John Horgan to hide behind as he used the pandemic to kick the Green Party to the curb and win a big majority. We’re about to see the real Horgan now, as he

can push NDP dogma into law unfettered. Horgan’s appointment of Selina Robinson as Finance Minister demonstrates the NDP’s disdain for free enterprise, as the fact she has absolutely no private sector experience shows what little regard Horgan has for the economy. But neither did Carole James, for that matter. Wilkinson wisely resigned, but the damage he did in his leadership race by tag-teaming to ensure former Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, a Conservative, didn’t become party leader, was already done. That didn’t go unnoticed by the BC Liberals’ typical worker bees, the Conservative side, many of whom sat out the election. Significant losses in traditionally safe BC Liberal havens like Langley, Chilliwack, and Abbotsford were at least partially due to a spike in BC Conservative votes. Not to mention a reluctance to revitalize party ranks with fresh blood and new ideas. Those areas alone were represented by three long-time politicians with 60+ years in some form of public office. Here is what needs to happen: First, find someone with a new, fresh vision. Might that be former cabinet minister Kevin Falcon, whose profile is rising once again? His enemies scoffed he was Gordon Campbell Junior, but that might not be a bad thing. But maybe, just maybe, it’s time to draft another star from the Okanagan. That would be Brad Bennett, grandson of W.A.C. and son of Bill, Brad has the royal jelly, profile and name recognition to lead. It could again be Bennett time in B.C. Second, how about some big ideas? Term limits, no more career politicians. Two terms and you’re done, no matter what. How about a truly science and data-backed approach to economic NOVEMBER 2020

OPINION development, equality and the environment? If science and data were truly valued by progressives, they’d support the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, pipelines in general, LNG, resource development, Site C, the list goes on. Protests and activism focused on equality and the environment are ok to start, but where are the specific, measurable, attainable objectives from government? Or society at large? So far the only government in BC to truly lead a “green revolution” has been the BC Liberals with the carbon tax. Now a global success story and standard. Everything else has been lip service, 20 years in the distance with commitments to electric vehicle programs, carbon emissions, equality. What about now? Finally, consider a name change. BC Liberals is long past its best-before date. For many conservatives it’s a divisive name atop the party that has represented the non-NDP vote for over two decades. The majority of the province that has supported free enterprise coalitions has coalesced comfortably under the Social Credit banner, and the destructive power of a decade of doom during NDP rule in the 1990’s recognized the BC Liberals led by Gordon Campbell as the only safe haven. But those days are gone, and the name should be retired. It is very difficult for many Conservatives to utter the Liberal name, let alone support it. Having another party named Conservative doesn’t help – in fact, it further entrenches the distrust members of both parties have of each other. Come up with a new umbrella, the BC Party, or something more unifying. Mark MacDonald is President of Communication Ink Media & Public Relations Ltd. and can be reached at​


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MOVERS & SHAKERS Announcements, business changes, celebrations and other hidden gems from around Central/North Vancouver Island. Curated just for you.

Submit your company’s announcement to:


CAMPBELL RIVER & NORTH ISLAND Campbell River’s Cascadia Air has begun flights from Campbell River to Pitt Meadows on the Lower Mainland, with three daily flights scheduled during weekdays and two flights a day on weekends. The service will expand to include flights from Qualicum Beach to the Lower Mainland. Commercial storefronts, restaurants, offices and mixed-use buildings located within the Downtown BIA area of Campbell River are eligible for grant funds for property owners and business operators interested in changing storefronts or buildings to enhance downtown safety. The funds cover up to fifty-percent of site-specific CPTED assessments, to a maximum of $5,000. Grants of up to fifty-percent of eligible CPTED-focused improvement projects, up to a $10,000 maximum, are also available. Contact Development Services at 250-286-5725 or email Port McNeill’s base manager for West Coast Helicopters, Mike Aldersey, has been awarded

the coveted Agar/Stringer Award by the Helicopter Association of Canada for outstanding contributions to the industry. The rare honor comes after forty-two years of flying, with an exemplary record of over 30,000 accident-free-hours as pilot in command. Cermaq Canada has stocked 495,000 smolts i n its sem i-closed conta i n ment system (SCCS) in Millar Channel on the west coast of Vancouver Island, designed to eliminate the transfer of sea lice between wild and farmed populations. The SCCS trials will run until summer of 2022. Roughly 233,000 fish in two nearby traditional open-net pens will serve as control groups to gauge the system’s effectiveness. The Evergreen reservoir will undergo upgrades conducted by Western Tank & Lining Ltd., to prevent leaks in the reservoir. The work has been valued at $387,381.41. Daeco Installations Ltd. will rebuild the traffic signals at Dogwood Street and 13th Avenue. The work is valued at up to $171,756. December 2020

MOVERS & SHAKERS Campbell River Council appointments confirmed for 2021 to the Strathcona Regional District Board, Comox-Strathcona Regional Hospital District Board, Comox-Strathcona Regional Solid Waste Board and Strathcona Gardens Commission – Appointments Mayor are in effect until November Andy Adams 2022 and are based on the highest number of votes received in the 2018 municipal election. Mayor Adams and Councillors Cornfield, Kerr, Moglove and Evans will sit as directors, with Councillor Dahl and the councillor to be elected in February 2021 as alternates. For the Strathcona Gardens Commission, Councillors Evans, Kerr and Mayor Adams will be appointed with Councillor Moglove as the alternate.

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Mike Airton of Advantage Carpet Upholstery & Ultrasonic Blind Cleaning is retiring from the carpet and Upholstery Care portion of Advantage. He is transferring ownership of this part of his business to Scott Guthrie, owner and operator of S&G Floor Maintenance.


COMOX VALLEY Mount Washington Alpine Resort has officially opened for the winter season, with two lifts operating on the mountain, and more runs expected to be available in the coming weeks as crews work on opening more sections of the mountain. Two Eagles Lodge Bed & Breakfast at 6409 Old Island Highway in Union Bay has been recognized as the 2020 Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best Award winner for Bed & Breakfasts/Inns, ranking among the top twenty-five B&Bs/Inns in Canada, by TripAdvisor www. The Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) welcomes Darnelda Siegers, Jesse Ketler, Bob WWW.BUSINESSEX AMINER.CA

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Wells and Mark Swain to its Board of Directors, as well as newly-elected Executive Committee members Aaron Stone, Chair, Ian Morrison, Vice-Chair, Andy Adams, Treasurer, Dana Thorne, Secretary, Roger Kishi, Member at large, John Jack, Chair, Michelle Staples, Al Siebring, Megan Hanacek, Provincial Appointee, and Barry O’Neill, Provincial Appointee.

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First Credit Union has opened a new location at 17th and Cliffe in Courtenay. Solid waste engineering firm Sperling Hansen, with support from Net Zero Waste, has been awarded a contract for an organic compost facility by Comox Strathcona Waste Management. Construction could begin in late 2021. The Comox Valley Regional District has begun an Alternative Approval Process (AAP) for a loan authorization bylaw to help finance construction of a new Greater Merville Fire Protection Service fire hall. The cost for the project is estimated at $2,129,430, to be funded through capital reserves and a maximum of $2 million in borrowing. To learn more visit Courtenay council is considering construction of a pedestrian/cycling bridge on 6th Street, which would connect downtown with Simms Park, and provide an east‐west connection to a future cycling network. The cost estimate for the bridge is $4.4 million.

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Cristi May Sacht is the new Comox Valley school trustee. She will represent Area C of the regional district on the board of education for School District 71. The board for the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District (CSRHD) has approved a preliminary reduction in the amount of its tax requisition for next year for Area B and Area C of the Comox Valley Regional District to the tune of roughly $4.4 million from the usual annual requisition amount of $17 million. The December 2020

MOVERS & SHAKERS drop would not go through until a final budget is passed by the March 31st deadline. The 190-member Merville Organics Growers’ Co-operative, launched in 2014, is disbanding. T h ree of the associated fa rms, K loverdalen, Whitaker, and Tendergreens, will offer their own food box programs beginning in 2021. The Town of Comox will provide office space at the Business Development Bank of Canada for the Comox Valley Economic Development Society following a request from the organization. A motion to provide CVEDS with the space was passed unanimously. Comox Council has authorized a noise exemption application to allow movement of dredged material by tug at night at the Comox Valley Marina. 16,000 cubic metres of dredged material will be moved from the marina between December 3rd to the 23rd. Dredging will be undertaken during the day and night.


PORT ALBERNI & WEST COAST Paper Excellence will spend $13 million to upgrade and streamline production at its Port Alberni paper mill. Recently, Paper Excellence announced plans to bring back fifty-eight workers at its Crofton mill in early January. The District of Ucluelet has received over $760,000 in provincial and federal funds to support reopening and operating costs, emergency response costs, lost revenues and other COVID-19-related impacts. An incorrect link was used in the last email newsletter for Jim’s Clothes Closet’s new online store. The correct link is: The Port Alberni Port Authority (PAPA) is accepting proposals from parties to enter into a lease agreement for a facility adjacent to the Fishermen’s Harbour Office, close to the new The Dock+ Port Alberni Food Hub for commercial


MOVERS & SHAKERS use. The deadline for proposals is December 31, 2020.

Depot at 5086 Johnston Road. The store will be owned and operated by Alberni District Co-op.

The City of Port Alberni has hired Rob Dickinson as their new Director of Engineering and Public Works. Rob has over twenty-five years of experience in the field of engineering, most recently as Engineering and Capital Works Manager for the Town of Okotoks.

The District of Tofino has received an approximately $3.6 million grant from the provincial government’s Building BC: Community Housing Fund to be put toward the first phase of an affordable housing project at 351 Arnet Road, aimed at creating seventy-two affordable rental units split between apartment buildings and duplex housing. The project is being co-helmed by the Tofino Housing Corporation and Catalyst Community Developments.

Twin City Brewing has won the BC Ale Trail’s third annual Best Brewery Experience Award. The brewery has a history of winning, taking home Best in Show at the 2018 BC Beer Awards for its tart fruit beer, Late Bloomer. The City of Port Alberni has purchased a building located at 3075 3rd Avenue in the Uptown District, to be turned into the Public Safety Building. The location will be renovated to house the public safety team, and is scheduled to open the second quarter of 2021.


Mid Island Co-op has purchased the Liquor

PARKSVILLE/QUALICUM BEACH The first dedicated air ambulances are now serving Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast region via BC Emergency Health Services. A specialized MD902 helicopter outfitted with night vision technology operated by Ascent Helicopters flies out of Parksville, while the emergency services plane is based in Nanaimo. Both are staffed by Nanaimo area paramedics. Pa rksv i l le-based Verified Network has developed a COVID-19 contact tracing app designed to speed up the process and potentially save lives. Verified TrackBack is a mobile app that alerts users if they’ve potentially been exposed to COVID-19. The app is currently being reviewed by Google Play and the Apple App Store. To learn more visit



Diamond Eyes Optical is having a grand opening sale at its new #4-172 Second Avenue West location in Qualicum Beach. They’re offering sixty-percent off all frames with a purchase of new, complete eyeglasses. Give them a call at 250-594-3937. Coombs Junction Furniture & Mattress at 2701 Alberni Highway in Coombs is celebrating its 12th anniversary. The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is transferring ownership of the District 69 Arena December 2020

MOVERS & SHAKERS to the City of Parksville in early January 2021 which will provide administrative efficiencies for all parties.


Adam Walker has resigned as councillor for Qualicum Beach to focus on his new position as Parksville-Qualicum MLA. Adam succeeds Michelle Stilwell of the BC Liberal party in the role. The Parksville Community Centre at 132 Jensen Avenue will close at year end, reopening in 2021 as a Boys and Girls Club if city grant applications are approved. The city council is looking at other potential community spaces for rent, Shelly Hall being one such location under consideration. Construction of eighty-seven affordable homes in Parksville at 371 Alberni Highway will begin in January with support from the provincial government, in partnership with the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society.


Eric Byres

Nanaimo’s aDolus Technology was named the winner of Innovate BC’s 2020 New Ventures BC Competition. The cybersecurity company won more than $135,000 in cash and prizes, including the $115,000 Innovate BC First Place Prize Package. Eric Byres is the company’s CEO.

Elite Image owner Catrina Elliott celebrates a decade of business in Nanaimo. Nanaimo city council have recommended a $1.3-million bicycle track for Albert Street between Pine Street and Milton Street, to be paid for using $1 million from the city’s special initiatives reserve and $300,000 from the strategic infrastructure reserve.


MOVERS & SHAKERS Cambie Park at 390 Cambie Road in Harewood has a new playground via a $25,000 grant from the city through the Partners in Parks program, support from community volunteers and donations from businesses and community groups, including the Cambie Park Neighbourhood Association. A 53-unit building at 6010 Hammond Bay Road in Nanaimo will house independent seniors, people with disabilities and families via the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society, with money received through the Building BC Community Housing Fund. Mood Cannabis Co. has opened two locations in Nanaimo at 5-6404 Metral Drive and 3923 Victoria Avenue. Owner and CEO Cory Waldron is a member of the BC Craft Farmers Co-op.


The Nanaimo Family Life Association has launched SHINE, the Seniors Housing Information and Navigation Ease program, to provide information and advice to help seniors in their search for housing. The program helps seniors navigate housing agencies like BC Housing, gives advice on the BC Residential Tenancy Act, eligibility for federal and provincial housing support and referrals to other seniors’ programs. To learn more, visit or call 250-754-3331. T he Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre h a s acquired Strong Nations Publishing, whose mission statement is to publish indigenous literature from across North America. The acquisition will also create opportunities for young people to gain work experience, with the centre applying to the BC Arts Council for co-op student and apprenticeship opportunities. COW ICH A N VA L L E Y + L A DYSM I T H / CHEMAINUS Ladysmith town Council has approved issuing a development variance permit to Westmark Construction for a 96-unit, four-storey apartment building at 107 Rollie Rose Drive The Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island has

announced its 2021 Board of Directors. Chair, Marion Harding-Soare, Past Chair, Vern Fischer, Vice Chair, Gary Eisenstein, Treasurer, Robyn Walle, Secretary, Richard Gordon, Member-At-Large, Walter J. Donald, President & CEO, Rosalind Scott, Directors, Gregg Meiklejohn, Richard Michaels, Mark Breslauer, Colin Watson, Brody Funk, Honorary Life Director, Paul Chow, and Independent Legal Counsel, Sharon Cartmill-Lane. Lake Cowichan has received a $1.158 million grant from the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for COVID-19 relief and safe-restart programs. Former North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure has completed his colorful Cottages On Willow housing project, an eight-unit housing complex located in Chemainus, with seven tenants having already moved into their completed homes. The ex-mayor now holds the mantle of landlord. Marsh Stevens has resigned as executive director of the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA). The search for a replacement has already begun. The LRCA is accepting applications until December 11th. Those Interested should send a resume and cover letter to Ben Maartman has been declared Director of CVRD Area H, North Oyster/Diamond. Once sworn in, he will choose an alternate director to replace current alternate director, Colin Haime.

Shad Kneen December 2020

MOVERS & SHAKERS Mill Bay Towing & Recovery in Cobble Hill is now under the ownership of the Reliable Towing Service Group, with Shad Kneen operating as their new manager. S P A N at 102 - 1533 Joan Avenue, Suite 102, in Crofton is open. They sell numerous items, from leather-bound journals, bookmarks, vases, postcards and more, including offering custom engravings. Ladysmith’s Town Council is seeking members of the public for an Official Community Plan Steering Committee. The steering committee will consist of seventeen voting members, including representatives from Stz’uminus First Nation, youth, senior, developer, business owner, maritime, environmental stewardship, tourism, cultural, heritage conservation and housing sectors. The application deadline is 4pm Monday, January 4th, 2021. Applications can be emailed to, or dropped off at City Hall. Huyen Jewellery at #104-2755 Beverly Street in Duncan is celebrating their 27-year anniversary.


The Tin Cup Espresso Bar & Café at 277 Canada Avenue in Duncan is now open Monday through Saturday 7am to 5pm, serving breakfast and lunch, as well as offering gift cards. The Malahat Nation has partnered with Victoria’s Alpha Select Production Services Inc. to propose an 80-acre studio project, Malahat Film Studios, on its land. The project would include six sound stages, workshops, a technical academy for apprenticeships and skills-transfer training, a business park, office park, an industrial zone, as well as a shopping village and hotel. The proposed project has completed the pre-feasibility stage and is now moving into the feasibility study stage. Crofton resident Bob Higgins won the home category in the Metal Supermarkets Metal My Way Contest after entering the elevator he built into his home to the international contest for furniture and home projects. Bob has over fifty years of experience as a machinist, millwright, welder, power engineer and supervisor.


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