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DUNCAN West Coast Evergreen Finds Unique Gardening Maintenance Niche



Partnership Launches Seaweed Operation

Cascadia Seaweed Corporation And First Nation Partners Expect First Harvest In May BY MARK MACDONALD BUSINESS EXAMINER


VICTORIA Jerry Wakefield Construction Keeps Clients Coming Back for More


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ICTORIA – Partners in a new seaweed company seeded their first crop in December, and are looking forward to the first harvest in May, 2020. Cascadia Seaweed Corporation and Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood Limited Partnership signed an agreement in September to cultivate high-quality seaweed for an expanding global market. Two one-hectare sites in Barkley Sound west of Port Alberni is expected to yield 90 tons of sugar kelp, which is in demand as food and pharmaceuticals, says Cascadia President and CEO Michael Williamson, adding their goal is to initially expand up to 100 hectares. “We will be processing it in Port Alberni, which has been awarded a designation as a provincial food hub, and they have a good processing facility there,” he says. ”Everybody needs seaweed. Anybody that eat sushi or buys the green dried sheets from the store maybe don’t realize that

From left: Mike Williamson Sean Martin, Bill Collins Arthur Edgar Elaine Ethier and Tony Ethier they’re always using it already. “We’ll be looking at other uses for the kelp, but it’s already being used in makeup, neutraceuticals, additives for food, pet food and bio-packaging. And kelp is

really good in that it contains iodine, potassium and calcium.” Wi l l i a m son sa id he a nd h is partners learned that seaweed production and harvesting was identified as a promising product

in the growing aquaculture sector at an economic development conference last year. After internal discussions they reached SEE CASCADIA SEAWEED |  PAGE 9

Finalists Announced For Business Excellence Awards

January 30 Grant Thornton LLP BE Awards Gala Set For Westin Bear Mountain Resort


ICTORIA – Adjudication for the 20th Annual Grant Thornton LLP Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards has started, as they pore over nomination information from businesses across the island for the annual celebration of the best of the best in Island

business. “2019 has been good year for business on Vancouver Island,” notes Mark MacDonald of Business Examiner, which coordinates the event, set for January 30 at the Westin Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria. “Every year, the quality and quantity

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of companies that take part in these awards is outstanding, and there are some outstanding, innovative companies that have been nominated for the event this year. “These awards bring out new, exciting businesses and the judges’ job to determine winners in

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the categories is always a tough task.” Gra nt T hornton LLP is the Title Sponsor of the Awards, and along with Gold Sponsor RBC Royal Bank and Business Examiner, will host a morning-after SEE AWARDS |  PAGE 9



“Space has to be functional as well as beautiful in order to be truly appreciated and enjoyed. In a good design, everything functions as a whole and becomes more than the sum of its parts.”




Victoria Cracks Canada’s Top Ten Tech Hubs

Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Reaches US $2 Billion After Successful Drug Trial

- Stephen McLeish


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According to the 2019 Scoring Canadian Tech Talent Report from CBRE, Victoria is now the seventh strongest tech hub in Canada. The report ranks Canadian cities on competitive advantages and appeal to tech workers and employe rs. A c c o rd i n g to said report, “the country is attracti ng both tech talent and companies at record rates.” The report went on to celebrate the Canadian tech market as an “unprecedented good news story.” Te c h t a l e n t i n C a nada has seen incredible grow th in the past five years, seeing 161,700 jobs added from 2013 to 2018. Victoria, in particular, has seen its talent pool grow by 1,300 in the same fiveyear span. This recognition marks a t h r e e -s p o t r a n k i n g improvement in position from last year’s 10th place ranking and a huge leap from 2017, when Victoria was not included in the list at all. “ Not t h at long ago, p eople d id n’t t h i n k of Victoria as a tech city, but now anyone looking at this will see that there are the biggest cities in the country ahead of us, but we are the No. 1 small market city in the nation and one of the strongest in North America,” said VIATEC CEO Dan Gunn. “It’s great news. We are part of the conversation and we’ve been invited to the party.” T he CBR E 2019 Ca nadian Tech Talent Report comes on the heels of the C B R E Te c h-3 0 re p o r t that named Vancouver as the top market for hightech job growth in North America, topping out at 29.5% growth over the past two years. The report, published in late October, “explores the high-tech industry’s impact on office space in the 30 leading tech markets, as well as 10 up-and-coming tech markets in the U.S. and Canada.” With shorter commutes, more affordable housing, a lower cost of living, and a compa rable l i festyle than Vancouver, Victoria is wel l-poised to g row existing businesses and attract new businesses to the region.

Saanich-based Aurinia Pharmaceuticals exploded to a US $2 billion market cap at the beginning of the month, doubling the previous week’s trading range from $11 to $22 per share. The growth in valuation occurred following the results of a clinical trial on voclosporin, which helps i nd iv idua ls w ith lupus nephritis (LN). “ T h i s e x t ra o rd i n a r y pivot a l d at a c on f i r m s voclosporin’s ability to achieve statistically significant improvements in clinically meaningful endpoints for this complex disease, with a comparable safety profile to the current standard of care,” said Neil Solomons, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Aurinia. “This data represents a significant advance for people living with LN, which can lead to irreversible kidney damage, eventual kidney failure and death.” The study involved 357 patients with active LN, and showed very positive results. Aurinia plans to submit an application to the Federal Drug Administration by mid-2020.

VICTORIA FreshWorks Joins Top 100 Companies in Latest Clutch Rankings Local mobile and web app development company FreshWorks Studio has ranked number 78 on Clutch’s Global Top 1000. T h is puts the fi rm 88 places up in the rankings over last year, marking the first time FreshWorks has made it to the top 100. The Clutch 1000 is the most exclusive award offered by the platform. The list highlights companies that have rankings within the top 1 per cent of all companies on Clutch. “It tru ly is i ncred ible what a team of dedicated and passionate people can accomplish within a year. We’ve h a d some g re at projects in the past year, i nclud i ng some d ig ita l transformation projects for the BC Government and working with some

well-known private organizations such as Harbour Air and Hootsuite,” says Rohit Boolchandani, FreshWorks co-founder and COO. Co-fou nder a nd CEO Sam Mod adds, “I am so proud of everything our team has accomplished in the last year, but it also goes without saying that we’re very thankful to our great clients who took time out of their busy lives to be interviewed by one of the Clutch analysts and provide a reference.” FreshWorks Studio specializes in designing and developing elegant and high quality mobile and web apps for sta r tups, enterprises and government organizations. Their team of over 65 designers and developers are headquartered in Victoria, with offices in Vancouver and Seattle.

BC New Stats Show 2.2 Per Cent Inflation Rate for November BC’s inflation, as measu red by t he Con su mer Price Index (CPI) grew to 2.2 per cent year-over-year for November, matching growth shown in the previous month. The rise was led by food, and clothing and footwear prices, while notable declines were reported in gasoline and recreation prices. Canadian inflation rose by 2.2 per cent in November yea r-over-yea r, following a 1.9 per cent increase in the previous m ont h . E xc lu d i n g t h e impact of higher gasoline prices, national CPI rose by 2.3 per cent year-overyear. The Bank of Canada’s three measures of trend inflation rose to average 2.2 per cent in November, which means the increase in prices have been relatively broad-based. A lthough the Ba n k of Ca nada has noted that inflation has been close to its target, the Bank will likely continue its cautious approach, as it continues to monitor other key economic indicators before deciding on a course of action in 2020. VICTORIA OfficeSpace Announces Landmark Partnership O n D e c em b er 17, OfficeSpace Software, which has locations in New York, SEE NEWS UPDATE  |  PAGE 3




Victoria, and Costa Rica, announced that it has received a strategic equity investment from Resurgens Technology Partners. OfficeSpace is a leading SaaS-based platform for managing the workplace which gives companies the tools they need to engage employees, manage moves, maximize space, and keep real-estate costs low. OfficeSpace has more than 600 customers with o p e ra t i o n s i n o v e r 5 0 cou ntries a nd i ncludes ma ny lead i ng tech a nd Fortune 500 names like AirBnB, Shopify, Dropbox, Live Nation Entertainment, and Mailchimp. Resurgens Technology Partners, a software-focused private equ ity f i r m. T he pa r t nersh ip will enable OfficeSpace to increase investment in its market-leading software, accelerate key goto-m a rket i n it i at ive s, and further enhance its highly-regarded customer experience. “The workplace management industry is in the early stages of a fundament a l ch a n ge, where companies need new ways to deliver an environment that the modern workforce demands. We feel that OfficeSpace is uniquely positioned to take advantage of these changes and are excited to partner with Resurgens in the next stage of our company’s journey,” said Ashkon Sabet, President and co-founder of OfficeSpace Software. Sh a m i m Sa h b a , C E O a nd co-fou nder of O ff iceSpace, add s, “O u r company is at an important inflection point in its grow th and Resurgens’ deep global operating experience and collaborative approach, makes them an ideal partner to help us deliver on our vision for the modern workplace.”

VICTORIA Victoria Among Latest Addition to Swoop Destinations Swoop, Ca n a d a’s u ltra-low-fare airline, released its 2020 summer sche du le, a n nou nci n g increased service and the addition of Victoria to its destinations. The airline, which is a subsidiary of WestJet Airlines Ltd., is adding three

new destinations to its schedule, starting in April 2020. Swo op’s newest routes will take travellers to two new domestic destinations including Victoria, Kamloops, and one US destination, San Diego. With su m mer bei ng a bu sy t ravel se a son for Canadians, Swoop is also increasing its weekly frequency service between many markets including Hamilton to Winnipeg, E d m o nto n to A b b o t sford, and Abbotsford to Winnipeg. ”I n on ly 18 months, Swoop has experienced significant growth, and we are excited to continue this momentum with the release of our 2020 summer schedule,” said Steven Greenway, President of Swoop. “By introducing Swoop to more markets, we a re ach iev i ng our mission of providing Canadians with accessible summer travel opportunities throughout North America.” Si nc e it s Ju ne 2018 l au nch, Swoop’s su mmer network has grown to s e r v e 1 4 d o m e s t i c , 10 transborder and four i nternationa l ma rkets, rapid ly ex pa nd i ng t he airline’s network across North America. Swoop continues to make an impact on the aviation industry, becoming Canada’s leading domestic, transborder, and international ultra-low-cost c a r r i e r, w i t h t h e n e w schedule set to increase S wo o p’s f re q u e n c y to 328 ultra-low fare weekly flights. “We are very pleased to welcome Swoop to Victoria International Airport with new service to Wi n n ipeg,” sa id Geoff Dickson, President and C E O, Victor ia A i r p or t Authority. “We are one of the lowest cost airports in Canada and that makes us a natural fit with the low-cost business model of Swoop. We look forward to a growing partnership and welcome the new destination and travel options for our local community and visitors to our region.”

VICTORIA Report Shows UVIC Grads Rank Among World’s Most Employable According to an international ranking by Times Higher Education (THE), graduates from the

University of Victoria are among the world’s most employable. THE’s 2019 Global Unive rs it y E m ploy a b i l it y Ranking report identifies UVic as the best Canadian comprehensive university, and one of only nine Canadian universities overall, in preparing its students for the workplace, based o n fe e d b a c k f ro m to p international companies. UVic prioritizes handson learning as a core focus of its student experience, with research-enriched experiential programming that includes co-operat ive educat ion (co-op) wo rk te r m s, p ra c t i c a , internships, field schools, international exchanges, community service learning, research opportunities and more. Student participation in co-operative education at UVic is on the rise, with 43 percent of eligible students taking part. Co-op integrates paid work experience with employers into students’ academic schedule. Last year, U Vic co-op students completed 4,288 co-op terms with 1,350 different employer organizations around the globe, including 325 international work terms.


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VIATEC Helps Launch Women’s Entrepreneurship Program


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In mid-december, VIATEC announced that it, along with its partners, has secured a $475,000 investment from the Digital Technology Supercluster to pilot a Women’s Entrepreneurship Program. The Women’s Entrepreneurship Program will be a dedicated set of three accelerator cohorts created by women, for women, to increase the support for and the presence of women founders in the rapidly growing tech-sector. The program intends to strengthen the capacity of organizations elevating women entrepreneurs by ensuring they have the bu si ness supp or t t hey need to sta rt or grow a business. This collaborative project involves Accelerate Okanagan, University of Victoria’s Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre, P urpose Five, a nd


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CDMN/Communitech. It w ill see three cohorts of women entrepreneurs created, including one in Kelowna and two in Victoria. If successful, this pilot project has the potential to evolve into a nation-wide offering. “Typically, 10 per cent or less of tech companies have a female founder. This pilot project is aimed directly at empowering women to build a program that works for them,” said VIATEC’s CEO, Dan Gunn. “It’s important that any prog ra m fe e l s w e l c o m i n g a n d supportive to entrepreneurs considering participating. It’s also vital that the participants feel a sense of belonging and identify with others in the program through shared perspectives. Most accelerator programs were developed by men a nd we’ve learned that those programs aren’t always the right fit for women entrepreneurs. “We’re proud that we have been able to bring together this group of experienced partners with the funding needed to empower some of the trailblazing women in our communities to build a program that will better serve and support current and future women founders in tech.” The VIATEC cohort will be hel med by Shelley Voyer a s

Program Manager. Voyer, currently an Executive in Residence for VIATEC’s Accelerator Program, will take on the Women’s Entrepreneurship Program.

VICTORIA Victoria Real Estate Market Remains Competitive A total of 577 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this November, 15.9 per cent more than the 498 properties sold in November 2018 and a 6.8 per cent decrease from October 2019. Sales of condominiums were up 5.9 per cent from November 2018 with 161 units sold. Sales of single family homes increased 15.4 per cent from November 2018 with 308 sold. “We continue to see low inventory and strong demand for low to mid-priced properties in our area, which is pushing pricing up on condos and single family homes that fall within that segment,” says Victoria Real Estate Board President Cheryl Woolley. “It is a challenging time for those shopping for properties in that price range as they can often find themselves in a competing offer situation.” There were 2,397 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service at the end of November


2019, a decrease of 9.3 per cent compared to the month of October, but a 2.3 per cent increase from the 2,343 active listings for sale at the end of November 2018. “The market this year is behaving as we’d expected, in the wake of tighter mortgage requirements and after the rapid pace of price increases we saw two years ago,” adds Woolley. The Multiple Listing Service Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in November 2018 was $865,800. The benchmark value for the same home in November 2019 decreased by 1.2 per cent to $855,400, slightly less than October’s value of $857,700. The MLS HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in November 2018 was $501,300, while the benchmark value for the same condom i n iu m i n November 2019 increased by 3.1 per cent to $517,000, slightly more than the October value of $511,600.

VICTORIA GVHA Releases Top Moments from 2019 The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GV H A) tea m has compiled the organization’s top moments from 2019, which

reflect a busy and successful year. These include: At 3.05 metres (10’) wide, 64 metres (203’) long, and weighing 204 tonnes, the steel for the Pier B mooring dolphin extension arrived at the Victoria Cruise Terminal. The $6.8 million project is the largest in the organization’s history. 30 different cruise ships made a total of 256 cruise ship calls, welcoming 709,042 passengers to Victoria. Following six months of construction, GVHA and the City of Victoria celebrated the completion of the joint $1.8-million Ship Point repair project. The eight millionth cruise passenger arrived at the Victoria Cruise Terminal on May 17. Close to 2,000 people visited the annual World Oceans Day at Fisherman’s Wharf, a joint event held with Eagle Wing Tours. More t h a n 3,100 ple a s u re craft visited the Inner Harbour marinas. The organization unveiled a new placemaking and branding initiative for the Ogden Point facility, introducing The Breakwater District at Ogden Point. More than 450,000 people visited the Ogden Point Breakwater, a community asset that GVHA is proud to steward for all to enjoy. GV H A beca me a Ca nad ia n Council for Aboriginal Business Progressive Aboriginal Relations




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VICTORIA New Victoria Foundation Grants Fund Over 100 Local Projects The Victoria Foundation annou nced the d istribution of over $2.8 million in community grants. From housing to health & wellness, the environment to arts & culture, the approved $2,815,287 in annual Community Grants will allow 109 local non-profit organizations to help transform the community. The region’s largest non-government funder, the Victoria Foundation has awarded over $18 million so far this year and over $240 million since the Foundation began in 1936. “The Community Grants are a direct way we’re able to contribute to tackling the issues identified by residents in the Victoria’s Vital Signs report as in need of improvement,” said Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “It’s a wonderful feeling to see so many inspiring civil society organizations get the resources they need to make a real impact in our community.”







veryone – businesses inc lu d e d – l i k e to t h i n k they’re special. That they have a unique product or service that sets them apart, and some people just “don’t get it”. While that may be true in some cases, the reality is that there is often a gap between their ability to talk to people outside of their business about what really sets them apart. Plumbers, electricians, construction companies, boutique professional service firms, and others each have specialized education and experience that makes them an expert in their fields. But these organizations don’t always have the ability to take that specialized education and simplify it for customers who need, or don’t know they need those services.

If you are not taking a proactive approach to simplifying your communication, you could be missing out on attracting new customers. Content marketing involves the creation and distribution of relevant content that provides value to your business’s target audience. T his content can be shared with prospective clients in many forms: stories and advertorials, blog posts, white papers, case studies, how-to g uides, etc. The main purpose of content marketing is to offer consumers value by presenting a solution to their needs, influencing the buying cycle. The main difference between traditional marketing methods and content marketing tactics is how each strategy affects the buying cycle for consumers. Content marketing, or pull tactics, aim to increase consumer awareness and provide helpful information about the product or service your business offers as a solution. The benefit of content marketing is that it may lead consumers to recognize a problem or need in their lives that they would have otherwise been unaware of. This will draw them into your business when they are ready to buy, rather than knocking on

Content marketing can lead someone to recognize a problem or need in their business that they would have otherwise been unaware of doors or cold calling to try and convince someone to buy something from you now. Publishing valuable content will lead consumers to discover your business and product offerings as they search for solutions to the problem they are facing. By making content available to consumers, your business will communicate an awareness of consumer needs, humanizing

your brand with a personality that is friendly and helpful, as well as creating the opportunity for customers to form a relationship with you. Content that is relevant to the needs of consumers and offers them a valuable solution establishes your business as a thought leader in your industry, which helps build a trusting relationship with consumers.

Attaining this level of credibility will lead consumers to prefer your goods and services over alternative solutions, since they are aware of the unique value proposition offered by you r business: that you are the knowledgeable experts in your field. If the content your business releases is designed to be a mix of time-sensitive and evergreen pieces, your business’s content library will still be relevant to consumers as time passes. Hightraffic content will also improve search engine rankings, and the consistent release of content can serve as a continuous source of interested consumers. Content marketing is an effect ive st rateg y to i nteract with consumers and introduce them to your business’s brand. By providing consumers with value before they even visit your store, you are building positive relationships and connections to you r bra nd , res u lt i n g i n long-lasting customer loyalty and brand equity for your business. John MacDonald is the Director of Business Development with the Business Examiner News Group. Call him at 604.751.0819, or email BEDigital@


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ve r y ye a r, t h e G re a te r V i c to r i a Chamber of Commerce surveys our memb ers a nd ou r b oa rd of directors to make sure our organization is goi ng i n the rig ht d i rection. It’s interesting to see how ou r members’ priorities align with our board. We k now T he Cha mber prov ides excel lent value in the way of benefits ava i lable to members. We also know that there’s a reason for our reputation as the preem i n e n t f a c i l i t a to r o f b u si ne ss con ne ct ion s in Greater Victoria. Our mixers, mingles, breakfasts and luncheons have prov ided a meeting space for countless employers and entrepreneurs who have gone on to build highly beneficial relationships. These aspects of Chamber life score exc ep t ion a l ly wel l w it h members a nd a re nea r the top of the list with our board, who place the highest priority on our advocacy efforts. That makes sense. For more than 156 years, The Chamber has worked to

improve economic cond itions for ou r region. We do this by working with all levels of government, and through media — such as the Business Examiner — that helps amplify our voice. In 2020, The Chamber will continue to advocate for solutions our region needs to find and keep workers, wh ich i s t he most common concern we hea r from employe r s . G r e a t e r V i c to r i a has had among the lowest unemployment rates i n Ca n a d a for severa l yea rs. Without people to fill our job vacancies we can’t achieve our full potential as one of the best small cities in the world. I n 2019, we spoke up often in favour of things that help attract workers, such as affordable workforce housing, accessible child care and better reg iona l t ra nsportation. Each of these a re v ita l to ma ki ng Greater Victoria viable for work i ng fa m i l ies a n d i n d i v i d u a l s . We also know that we need more people migrating to Vancouver Island — and to do a better job of i nteg rati ng those who

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Furniture – New Location (3460 Quadra St.) • Tuesday, January 28 B u s i n e s s L e a d e r ’s Luncheon: BC Housing CEO Shayne Ramsay 1 1 : 3 0 a m to 1 p m @ Union Club of B.C. (805 Gordon St.)

are here — if we hope to meet our forecast labour dem a nd over t he nex t decade. Another advocacy issue that rose in prominence in 2019 was the need for safe communities. The opioid overdose crisis as well as people struggling with untreated mental hea lt h a nd add ict ion s are serious concerns. We need housing that works for our homeless population, and readily available treatment options for people in dire need. I was thrilled to see Our Place open its long-term T herapeutic Recover y Community and admit its first clients. This is a process that will take time, but offers the best evidence of successfully helping people overcome addiction and get their lives back on track. O f cou rse, a l l of ou r advocacy supports better economic conditions for our region. We will ensure Saanich and Victoria go th rough a fa i r and objective Citizens’ A ssembly process to h a sh out t he pros a nd cons of amalgamation. A nd we w i l l c ont i nu e to call on all local governments to ensure they provide adequate funding for policing, and that they ta x residents a nd businesses fairly. T he issue that will cont i nue to dom i n ate the world’s attention is climate change, and The Chamber will continue to advocate that all levels of government need to suppor t i n novation led by business in order to find climate solutions. To le a r n more ab out our advocacy priorities, go to Victoriachamber. ca. Catherine Holt is CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce 






s the end of the year draws closer, I typically find myself in a reflective frame of mind. As I write this, I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude for the WestShore Chamber staff who make this such a wonderful place to work, for our volunteer Board of Directors who consistently provide leadership and countless hours of their time, and for our members, without whose support we would not exist. As I look to what is going on in my other home country of the U.K. as well as to the U.S., I am also very grateful to live in Canada. However, coupled with my sense of gratitude is a sense of unease. There is so much that needs to be done in our communities

on both a local and a global scale, and it feels to me like change is not happening fast enough. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, in their 5 Minutes for Business from November 12, 2019 puts this both succinctly and eloquently: “The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been unequivocal: without significant action to limit global warming to a 1.5 degrees, humans will increasingly suffer from the effects of extreme weather events, disease and the loss of habitable land. The task before us is to halve the emissions of a world economy in one short decade. It will not be an easy feat; our carbon dependence is 200 years in the making. The world economy rests on hydrocarbon foundations laid down by successive industrial revolutions. No path is clear, but it is clear there are no paths without leadership from government, civil society and Canadian businesses. Of the three, the latter is often thought to be laggards in addressing climate change. The truth is that businesses are driving the fight.” At their Annual General Meeting in September,

Ca n ad i a n Ch a m b er of Commerce delegates (representing almost 250,000 businesses across Canada) voted in the most robust climate policy yet. “The resolution provides government with a blueprint to rework its approach so that our climate policy achieves the greater emission reductions while preserving Canada’s economic competitiveness. The resolution refined the Canadian Chamber’s position on carbon pricing, advocating for a carbon pricing mechanism that is explicit in its price signal, revenue neutral, and accompanied by reductions in other costs to businesses.” As BC and Canadian governments prepare their budgets for 2020, that last part is key. Of late, the cost of doing business has only been going up and we call on both the provincial and federal governments to consider the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s resolution as part of their planning for 2020 and beyond. Julie Lawlor is the Executive Director at the WestShore Chamber of Commerce. You can reach her at jlawlor@




t has been said that by the time we reach the age of eighteen, we will have been praised and encouraged 30,000 times (much of that happens before the age of three) and we will have been criticized over 250,000 times. Seemingly, a perfect demonstration that, as a culture, we are much more focused on what goes wrong. As an organization, it’s easy to move from one year or decade to the next without pausing to celebrate what is good and right. This has been quite a decade for our Chamber. Many similar organizations have seen a drop in membership

and in event participation. Not ours. In fact, our events are more popular than ever. Beyond the networking (or connecting as I prefer to call it), which happens on a grand scale, our members describe our events as fun. We offer member benefits people use. The demographics are changing within our membership and on our board. People are engaged. Excited. To what do I attribute the positivity that currently surrounds the Chamber and the work we are doing? I am biased, but the team in our office is rock solid. We work amazingly well together and we get stuff done. We could not do all we do without the support of our board. They provide stellar leadership and allow us to work to our potential. The setting contributes. We are privileged to live and work on the Saanich Peninsula, surrounded by natural beauty and boundless potential. There is an air of connection and collaboration in the community that is contagious. While we take this time to

Since 1985, Alliance Engineering Works has been a leading provider of structural steel and miscellaneous metals to Vancouver Island’s residential, commercial, institutional and industrial sectors.

acknowledge the important work our organization has undertaken, there is so much more to do. Our future focus will be on transportation issues and on the important role of agri-business on the Peninsula. We will continue to provide support for our members as they struggle to attract and retain employees. We are excited to work with the wide-range of stakeholders who have identified interest in developing a truck stop at our site as well as a world class visitor centre that will welcome our guests to the Saanich Peninsula - the Gateway to Vancouver Island. We have been building community through business for 107 years now. You don’t last that long without the guidance of dedicated people who have vision and an ability to change and grow. Stick with us. We aren’t a fad. Denny Warner is the Executive Director at the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

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ORGANIC GROWTH TAKES WEST COAST EVERGREEN TO NEW HEIGHTS Local Landscaping Company Finds Niche in Commercial Gardening Maintenance


U NC A N - W hen t hey started West Coast Everg re en G a rden i ng I nc. (WCEG) in 2009, co-owners Rick and Grace MacDougall had no idea how big things were going to get. Now a decade old, the company has grown from a small-time residential landscaping operation to a high-quality commercial grounds maintenance, irrigation and gardening services company working throughout the South Island. “I had been working in management for a number of years when we decided to start our own business,” says Rick. “I decided to do residential gardening, which was the main focus of the business for the first few months. A little while in, I was asked by a former colleague if we were interested in working on one of his commercial properties, a plaza in Duncan. “We did a good job, and got more jobs of this type, until we were doing maintenance for most of the malls in Duncan. Then, we started doing malls in Victoria.” West Coast Evergreen now provides a variety of services to shopping centres throughout the South Island (from Victoria to Chemainus). They do lot maintenance, landscaping and garden maintenance, irrigation work, arboreal work, property work (like graffiti removal), and more. “Today, we almost exclusively do commercial work, unless it’s a really big estate,” he says. “We’ve also begun to move into the municipal market, doing landscaping and maintenance for city halls, courthouses, RCMP stations, and federal and commercial buildings.” As the company has grown, the

West Coast Evergreen provides its maintenance services to the community of Chemainus

“Having an educated staff is really important to us. The industry is always changing, with new techniques and new diseases, so we work to keep our staff up on the trends by sending them to industry shows and information sessions.” RICK MACDOUGALL CO-OWNER OF WEST COAST EVERGREEN GARDENING INC.

Rick and Grace MacDougall, owners of West Coast Evergreen Gardening Inc.

MacDougalls have been careful to control their growth, to ensure their team is able to maintain their quality of work as they take on new jobs.

“We don’t take on more than 10 per cent in new business each year,” says Rick. “If there’s too much work for our team, the quality goes down. This growth

WCEG maintains a number of buildings in the South Island, including Uptown Mall in Victoria

pattern has worked very well for us, and we’ve been progressing every year since 2010, when we took on our first mall project.” Part of West Coast Evergreen’s appeal is the company’s commitment to professional accountability. Currently, the company maintains addreditations with ContractorCheck and ComplyWorks, as well as WorkSafe BC. Both ContractorCheck and ComplyWorks hold companies to standards that exceed the minimum requirements of WCB. “We’re one of the few companies in the region that holds these standards,” says Rick. “We follow very strict guidelines to ensure that our employees work in the best possible environment.” Most of the company’s staff have been on the team for over half of the company’s lifespan, including one team member who has been with the company since day one. Between the safe environment and various incentive programs, West Coast Evergreen has been able to attract a longterm, stable workforce, which

has been one of the main reasons behind their consistent success. The West Coast Evergreen team boasts a diverse set of skilled workers, including a certified arborist and horticulturist. “Having an educated staff is really important to us,” Rick remarks. “The industry is always changing, with new techniques and new diseases, so we work to keep our staff up on the trends by sending them to industry shows and information sessions.” “We’re always looking for more great people to join our team,” he continues. “We’re looking for people with passion and a love for what we do. Team members are asked to do continuing education in gardening, which WCEG contributes to.” The company uses integrated pest management, which is a multidisciplinary, ecological approach. They also use integrated plant health, which is a comprehensive approach that incorporates an array of practices such as pruning, nutrient management, and water management among others. “Our company is large enough that you could be doing something different every day,” says Rick. “One day you’ll be on top of a building, the next day planting bulbs, and the next day hedging and pruning.” West Coast Evergreen is always working to improve the communities in which they live and work. “We give between 10 and 15 of our profits to charity groups,” he says. “We’re very community oriented, and we feel that it’s important to give to others. In addition to money, we spend time working on charity projects and encourage our staff to offer their own contributions.” To find out more, visit www. westcoastevergreengardening. com




Cascadia Seaweed Corporation And First Nation Partners Expect First Harvest In May CASCADIA SEAWEED CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1


“Brea k fast For Cha mpions” business round table for winners of the event’s 17 categories. Black Press is a Platinum Medium Sponsor of the BE Awards this year.  Categories this year are: • Automotive (car and truck dealerships & fleet sales) • Construction / Development/Real Estate • Entrepreneur • Food & Food Production (a g r icu lt u re, sea food, food products) • Green & Technology • Health Care • Hospitality • Industrial Manufacturer • M a n u f a c t u r e d Wo o d Products • Ocean Products • Professional (legal, accounting, insurance, coaching) • Constr uction / Development/Real Estate • Retail • Small Business (under 20 employees & under $1 million in sales) • Tourism • Trades (automotive repair, plumbing, electrical, roofing, etc. • Business of the Year (over 50 employees & over $1 million in sales). Finalists are, by city: Sidney: Bayside Diesel, BMT Group Services, Parsell Vineyard, The Cut Cartel. Sooke: Rustic Roots Hair Studio, Saseenos Veterinary Clinic, Seaflora Skincare, Stick In The Mud, Westcom Plumbing and Gas. Victoria: Abeego, Barnacle Systems, Charge Fitness, Comfort Keepers, Down To Earth Gardens, Fatso Peanut Butter, Harbour Air, Iredale Architecture, Oui Jewellery, Prime Engineering, Salish Seaside RV, Wallace Driving School, Westshore Bicycles. West Shore: Belmont Collision, Cascadia Liquor Langford. “The room will be filled with some of the most successful businesses from across the Island,” says MacDonald. “It’s a time to celebrate, but it’s a fantastic networking opportunity with award winning companies.” Fo r m o r e i n fo r m a t i o n o n the event contact MacDonald at 1-866-758-2684 ext. 120 or email: To book tickets ($125 each), visit events.

out to Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood Limited Partnership, which owns and operates St. Jean’s Cannery i n Na na i mo, a nd a pa rtnership agreement was reached in September. Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood LP President Larry Johnson, says “We are very excited to be partnering with Cascadia Seaweed as the first step in expansion of the seaweed industry in BC. Following on from our traditional practices, and adopting what we have learned from other NSLP brands, we see this an important contribution to sustainability within our partner Nations.” Kelp and other BC seaweeds have been identified as important and abundant sources of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. The World Bank predicts seaweed farming has the potential of “adding about 10% to the

world’s present supply of food” in coming decades. In 2017, BC seafood production represented a landed value of almost $1.2 billion. In the coming years, seaweed products will contribute to growth in these numbers. A s wel l as representi ng a n opportunity to produce food, the growing of seaweed permanently sequesters carbon and reduces ocean acidification in the region directly around each farm. Williamson says “We have an aggressive strategy to grow cultivation and processing of seaweed. This is an exciting market, and kelp and other high-quality seaweeds will comprise an increasingly large part of diets and industrial processes. “As an environmentally and socially responsible company, Cascadia Seaweed is very pleased to be working with Nuu-chahnulth Seafood for our first sites, a nd we look for wa rd to t he

contributions we can make to diversification and support in local communities.” Williamson says it was important for Cascadia to partner with First Nations, who want to bring additional industry into their communities. “There’s a lot of interest, and our dialogue is ongoing with other First Nations,” he adds. The four founding partners, Williamson, Chairman William Collins, COO Tony Ethier and CTO Steven Cross have a combined 135 years’ experience in the ocean. Williamson spent 30 years in the navy. An initial private offering raised seed capital for the operation, with the B.C. Securities Commission ruling that investments would be eligible for tax credits. ‘The demand and the opportu n ity wa s g reater t h a n we expected,” says Willliamson. “We’ll probably have another raise early next year.”

Williamson believes seaweed harvesting is attractive “because of two things: Climate change and the plant-based movement. People want alternative sources of food, and this industry is climate positive. “Seaweed as an industry has existed in BC for decades, but it’s been a cottage industry. To really address food security to meet future demands, it will have to be done at a much larger scale.” Coastal BC is one of the richest areas in the world for seaweeds, and the coast supports more than 600 natural species of seaweed. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that “Today, the global seaweed industry is worth more than $6 billion USD. . .of which some 85% comprises food products. . .the global seaweed market is experiencing steady growth, buoyed by the increasing demand for products.”

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nother year is in the books. For the Greater Victoria visitor economy, one could describe the year as “solid but a bit uneven.” It was by no means an unsuccessful year. According the latest numbers, hotel occupancy, daily room rate and revenue per available room (RevPAR) were strong. However, compared to 2018 most key indicators in 2019 were either similar or down slightly. It should be noted that 2018 was arguably the best year ever for the Greater Victoria visitor economy, and that a slight pullback in 2019 was expected. At Destination Greater Victoria we are proud of our contribution to the resiliency of the visitor economy. It was not that long ago

that Greater Victoria’s visitation showed a strong seasonal distribution, with high occupancy in the spring and summer months, but low occupancy in the fall and winter. Executing against our strategic plan, the fall and winter months have seen growth in occupancy and visitation in the past five years – especially in the meetings, events and conferences business as well as sports tourism. Despite a down year in most indicators, Business Events Victoria exceeded their delegate days goal of 110,000. In short, 2018 could have been a lot worse had our tactics for delivering visitation in the shoulder seasons and off-peak seasons not been successful. Looking ahead to 2020, we are projecting 122,000 delegate days at the Victoria Conference Centre. Moreover, the number of delegate days in 2021 and 2022 are also expected to exceed the strong 2018 numbers. Destination Greater Victoria sees room for growth in the meetings, events and conferences business in the short and medium terms. In the long term, Greater Victoria will likely need a new or expanded conference centre for continued growth. Destination Greater Victoria, as well as its partners at the City of Victoria, are in the early stages of developing a plan for increased conference space.

Sports tourism will see growth in 2020 as well. Completing its second year and heading into its third year, the Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission (GVSTC) continues to become a highly effective resource for sport tourism in the region. Through collaboration with the sport community and event sponsors, an exciting array of provincial, national and international events will occur in 2020, including the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup, the Canadian CycloCross Championship and the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Greater Victoria has hosted a few basketball events since the inception of the GVSTC, including the Greater Victoria Invitational Women’s NCAA tournament in November 2019. I remain optimistic as we move into the year ahead. The economy is headed for a slowdown, but we have been preparing for three years and are ready. The community of Greater Victoria continues to support the visitor economy and the vision business leaders have shown to sustainably grow visitation and economic impact, as well as create authentic experiences Greater Victoria residents are proud to share with people from all over the world. Paul Nursey is the President and CEO of Destination Greater Victoria

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LAWSUIT DISMISSED BY JUDGE Esquimalt A development proposa l overlooking a busy Esquimalt intersection could bring further change to the town’s main thoroughfare. Eyed for several properties along the 1100-block of Esquimalt Road at Lampson Street is a six-storey, 102-unit residential complex comprised of one, two and three-bedroom suites and a collection of nine two-storey townhomes with ground level frontage onto both roadways. Cou nci l has approved a 12-storey condominium tower at the intersection Esquimalt Road and Head Street. Lexi Development Group’s proposal, dubbed Pacific House, envisions 66 residences in a mix of studio, one, two and t h ree-bed room con f ig u rations, plus three townhomes with street level access fronting onto Wollaston Street. Standing nine-storeys above Esquimalt Road with an additional three levels in a stepped format along Head Street (to Wol l a s ton S t re et), i f b u i lt Pacific House will stand as the tallest building along Esquimalt Road. Langford L a n g fo rd’s MyB e l m o n t m i xed-u se com mu n ity h a s surpassed a 60 per cent leaseup rate for its latest premium apartment residences at the 156-suite Crossing at Belmont buildings adjacent to a newly opened Thrifty Foods. Located on former Belmont Secondary School lands, the master-planned MyBelmont development a long Jack l i n Road is comprised of renta l apa rtments  a nd  condom i n-

iums, retail spaces and offices, and as of December the project’s second phase of rental homes are available to tenants. Saanich Victoria-based Cielo Properties has unveiled plans for a redevelopment of the former Play ti me Ga mes Bi ngo h a l l i n t he G orge-T i l l icu m neighbourhood. Cielo’s vision for the 3400 Tillicum Road property calls for a duo of six-storey buildings comprised of 2 42 rental apartments in the form of s t u d i o, o n e-b e d ro o m a n d two-bedroom layouts. A dozen two-bedroom units will include ground-oriented townhome-l i ke f loor pl a n s w it h exterior entrances. Spanning between Tillicum Road and Burnside Road, the project’s ground f loor commercial components will yield some 16,000 square feet with frontage onto both streets. V i c t o r i a-b a s e d A b s t r a c t Developments h a s u nvei led a proposa l for 26 family-oriented townhomes as pa r t of a redevelopment a long t he G orge Water way a lso i n t he G orge-T i l l icu m neighbourhood. E nv i sioned for  630 G orge R o a d We s t , ro u g h l y h a l fway b etween T i l l icu m a nd Admirals roads, the proposa l i ncludes f ive clu sters of three-storey, three-bedroom townhomes in an architectural style reminiscent of the area’s early-to-mid-century built form. Abstract’s plans for the property are in response to a municipal push for modernizing a g i n g hou si n g s to ck wh i le supplying attainable ownership opportunities for what has been termed the ‘missing middle’ by regional planners

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An artist’s sketch of Harris Green Village’s public square between the 900-block of Yates and View streets, looking towards Yates Street from View Street. In early December Toronto-based Starlight Developments unveiled its vision for a multi-acre redevelopment of downtown Victoria’s Harris Green Village property, which will include a public plaza © HAPA COLLABORATIVE FOR STARLIGHT DEVELOPMENTS

and elected officials. Victoria Plans to redevelop downtown Victoria’s Harris Green Village shopping plaza and a nearby automotive dea lersh ip w i l l centre on an expansive gathering and green space, according to a presentation by property owner Starlight Developments. A n approx i mate ha l f-acre of land dedicated as a central square is at the heart of Starlight’s vision for a 1,200-to1,500-suite rental project with a wide spectrum of commercial services across multiple parcels in the 900 block of Yates Street (bordered by Quadra, View and Vancouver streets) and the 1000-block of Yates Street at Cook Street. Starlight’s public engagement process began in the spring of this year with the project team gathering feedback on





the popular commercial node’s redevelopment potential as v iewed t h rou g h t he len ses of dow ntow n residents a nd neighbours, the business community and a variety of project stakeholders. T h ree yea rs fol low i ng the closu re of Doug las Street’s Canadian Tire store signs of activity will soon return to the high profile site in the Burnside-Gorge neighbourhood. Victoria-based GAIN Group, k now n for its network of automotive dealerships specia l i zi ng i n up-ma rket a nd luxury foreign brands, has set its sights on the former retail property in the 2900-block of Douglas Street (between Summit and Spruce avenues) with plans to open Volkswagen and Porsche dealerships in newly-built showrooms. A lawsuit filed last month against the City of Victoria and

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Victoria-based Aryze Developments in relation to a townhome project in Fairfield has been dismissed by a judge. Approva ls for the 20-u n it Rhodo townhome project along the 1700-block of Fa i rf ield Road resulted in a private citizen suing both the municipality and the proponent alleging the parties failed to respect the Official Community Plan and approved too much height for the properties in question. A judge stopped the suit in its tracks, stating that “there is ample evidence before me that the bylaw [R hodo] was considered by Council appropriately and is valid.” Mike Kozakowski of Citified. Citified is a comprehensive resource for researching a new-build home or commercial space in metro Victoria and southern Vancouver Island.


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JERRY WAKEFIELD CONSTRUCTION TAKES ON RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL PROJECTS THROUGHOUT THE ISLAND “I think they like that Organic Growth, Word of Mouth Helps Create Construction Success Story


ICTORIA - Jerry Wakefield has built his successf u l construction company from the ground up. Now nearly two decades old, his company, Jerry Wakefield Construction Ltd. is behind commercial, multi-unit residential, industrial, institutional, and custom home projects across the Island and beyond. T h e c o m p a n y ’s s u c c e s s wouldn’t be possible without the sterling reputation of Wakefield and his crew. Wakefield works as a general contractor on many of its projects, and his company is an industry leader in concrete and framing, specializing in wood framing, rough carpentry, concrete fra mework, a nd concrete placing and finishing. Wakefield was basically born into the construction industry, coming from four generations of carpenters and builders. “My great grandfather was a carpenter, who ran his own compa ny,” says Wa kef ield . “A fter h i m, my g ra nd father s t a r t e d h i s o w n c o m p a n y, mov i n g f rom t he plu mbi n g business to start carpentry. “He a nd my u ncles were general contractors for years, w it h t he compa ny shutt i ng down only about ten years ago. My dad is also in the industry, building spec homes in Sidney.” Wakefield began working for his grandfather’s company at age 19, moving up the ranks until he was functioning as one of their go-to project managers. “ I h a d b e e n wo rk i n g o n a bathroom renovation for a client, a friend of the family, and they had bought a piece of property to build a new house,” he says. “I agreed, and took two guys, and started on the project.”

they can just leave us and the job will get done. They don’t need to bug us or check up on us, and we do a great job. I have one client who, once he receives his permit, will get on a plane, and won’t return until the roof is put on.” JERRY WAKEFIELD OWNER OF JERRY WAKEFIELD CONSTRUCTION LTD.

With this first project, which s t a r te d i n 20 01, Wa kef ield officially founded his company. T ha n ks to refer ra ls a nd a growing list of repeat clients, he steadily grew the business to where it is today, fielding about 30 employees. “A lot of my employees have been with me for a long time,” he remarks. “One of our employees, Pete Cook, is approaching the 15 year mark with us, with many more being here for six years plus. T hey end up being like family after a while.”

Wakefield and his team completed the complex concrete work and more for the Tudor House Liquor Store in Esquimalt

Jerry Wakefield comes from four generations of construction industry professionals Two brothers who currently work for t he compa ny h ave been with Wakefield since high school, when they were brought in for a two week program. They have since made a career out of it, joining the operation full-time and completing apprenticeships. “One of my employees was living on the street when we first met him,” recalls Wakefield. “It was just before Christmas, and he had been living in his truck

when he showed up and asked me for a job. “ Fo r w h a t e v e r r e a s o n , I decided to give him a chance, and we were really impressed by him. He showed up every day, and would do everything we asked. He’s a hard working guy, and contributes a lot to the company.” Over the years, Wakefield has built some key relationships with repeat customers, who will

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consistently hire him as a general contractor. “I think they like that they can just leave us and the job will get done,” he says. “They don’t need to bug us or check up on us, and we do a great job. I have one client who, once he receives his permit, will get on a plane, and won’t return until the roof is put on.” SEE WAKEFIELD CONSTRUCTION |  PAGE 13



The company is an industry leader in concrete and framing, specializing in wood framing, rough carpentry, concrete framework, and concrete placing and finishing

The interior of the Tudor House Liquor Store project


“I really enjoyed working on a liquor store project in Esquimalt,” he states. “The walls slope out on an angle, and we had to come up with creative ways to do the concrete work on that. It was challenging, but figuring out how to solve the problems was interesting.” The company is now wrapping up work on a 21-unit condominium resident on Bevan Avenue at First Street in Sidney. “We also have a 30-unit apartment on the go right now, where we’re general contractors,” he says. “The project will include three buildings with 10 units in each one.” Wakefield and his team recently completed an office building as part of the Dockside Green project in Victoria. In the new year, they will be building a 36-unit project in Sidney. To find out more, visit


376 Harbour Road, another project completed by Wakefield and his team

A home completed by Jerry Wakefield Construction Ltd.


The slanted glass on the Tudor House Liquor Store

In addition to his crew handling the excavati ng, concrete pouring, framing, siding, and more, Wakefield supports the project’s electricians, plumbers a n d o t h e r s u b c o n t ra c to r s , making sure everybody has what they need to finish the job. “T he g uys just work really hard,” he says. “Our guys do whatever it takes to get the job done.” Because of these client relationships, Jerry Wakefield Construction has been hired to complete contracts as far as Tofino, and even Whistler. The relationships also ensure that the company has a steady flow of projects to keep them b u s y, w i t h e n o u g h v a r i e t y to make job sites unique and interesting.


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CONSTRUCTION Residential Construction Industry Enters New Era BC Home Builders Face New Challenges in Coming Decade

Advocacy organizations are working to keep homes affordable


s we say goodbye to the 2010s, the construction industry is preparing for a number of changes and challenges that will transform the residential market as we know it.

Whether it’s the provincial government’s ambitious plans to create a net-zero building code by 2032, or the rising cost of housing in communities throughout BC, home builders are putting their heads together to meet new challenges and keep the industry strong. 2018 data packages from the Canadian Home Builders Association showed that BC’s residential market saw 40,857 in new housing starts, 207,184 on- and off-site private sector jobs (totalling $12.6 billion in wages), and a total investment value of $28.3 billion (over a sixth of the nation’s economic activity in this sector). In order to protect the industry’s economic impact and ensure that future British Columbians, organizations like the Canadian Home Builders

“We called for a speculation tax exemption for residential construction because we knew it would have a direct impact on housing affordability. The government listened, which was a positive step to make new homes more affordable in British Columbia. This newly-released data Neil Moody, CEO of CHBA BC shows that our efforts Association British Columbia were beneficial for (CHBA BC) and its regional thousands of future home counterparts are working hard buyers, who would have to advocate on behalf of their otherwise been impacted industry. CHBA BC has found a good deal of success in its advocacy efforts surrounding some of the legislation that has concerned






Seasons Greetings from all of us at Sasco Contractors

continues to challenge ourselves BC became the first North American jurisdiction to create a regulated pathway to net-zero energy-ready buildings with the creation of the BC Energy Step Code


industry leaders. From February to October 2018, the organization worked closely with Carole James, Minister of Finance, to create speculation and vacancy tax (SV T) exemptions for residential land under development in the approval, construction, or sale stages. A CHBA BC press release stated, “Without an exemption, our members

would have been mandated to pay the SVT, as the properties would not have available units to rent or own while under construction or development, which were key requirements for the implementation of the tax.” Using data from a recent provincial government report, their efforts were shown to be effective. The report showed that 15,106 exemptions were claimed for construction or renovation, 3,015 for vacant new inventory,

a nd 1,876 for ph ased developments. “We called for a speculation tax exemption for residential construction because we knew it would have a direct impact on housing affordability,” said CHBA BC CEO Neil Moody. “The government listened, which was a positive step to make new homes more affordable in British Columbia. This newly-released data shows that SEE CONSTRUCTION  |  PAGE 16

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our efforts were beneficial for thousands of future home buyers, who would have otherwise been impacted by the tax.” In late 2017, BC became the first North American jurisdiction to create a regulated pathway to net-zero energy-ready buildings with the creation of the BC Energy Step Code. While the ambition plan has been widely praised, CHBA BC has stated several concerns regarding its implementation. “We do not fear a tiered-code system. It provides predictability and transparency,” the organization states in a press release. “The biggest danger is inter-governmental pressures that may drive implementation of higher steps before communities are ready. Accelerating market transformation without first resolving market barriers will be problematic for all.” CHBA BC then lays out several suggestions for how to best implement the code. The organization’s position statement emphasizes that housing affordability must be a core objective when implementing changes to the building code. It also states that unique regional needs and SEE CONSTRUCTION  |  PAGE 17

The next decade will spell big changes for BC’s residential construction industry

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BROCK WHITE HELPS BUILD COMMUNITIES IN GREATER VICTORIA “We have a very friendly staff. We’ve worked very hard One-Stop Construction Supplier Has Deep Roots in Region


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ICTORIA - If something is being built in Victoria, Brock White is probably involved. T he one-stop, professional-grade construction materials store is the supplier of choice for countless Vancouver Island tradesmen, contractors, and weekend project warriors. The 13,800 square foot warehouse, along with its 2,000 square foot showroom, house construction supplies for everything from ground to roof. “ W hen cu stomers ca l l u s, they immediately get the sense that they’ve contacted the right people,” says Brad Fenn, Brock White’s Victoria Branch Manager. “Our staff has an incredibly deep knowledge of the products, so when clients ask questions, we can usually respond without hesitation.” Brock White was founded by Wayne Brock and George White in 1954 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It has since expanded across North America, starting its first

on that side of our business over the last couple of years. Typically, know customers by their first names, and they know ours. We want to have a friendly, cordial, and polite atmosphere for them to come into.” BRAD FENN VICTORIA BRANCH MANAGER FOR BROCK WHITE

Canadian store around 25 years ago. Today, they operate 14 stores across Western Canada, including seven in BC. Thanks to its well-organized supply chain, clients can quickly get their hands on specially ordered products, if they aren’t already on the shelf. “We have a very friendly staff,” says Fenn, who has been at the hel m i n Victoria si nce 2015. “We’ve worked very hard on that side of our business over the last couple of years. Typically, know customers by their first names, and they know ours. We want to have a friendly, cordial, and polite atmosphere for them to come into.” The showroom on the second floor holds a wide array of masonry products, including natural and manufactured stone, brick

and glass block options, and more. “Our Brock White office in Victoria has traditionally had a strong focus on masonry and stone supply,” says Fenn. “In the last few years, we have continued to be strong in those categories and have expanded our offering to customers to include such products as concrete forming hardware, geotextiles and epoxies. These additions have had a great response from contractors.” The store and staff have deep roots in the Greater Victoria community, and Fenn and the team work to give back to their community. Brock White is a member of local construction associations, and donates to local charities, focussing on supporting the charity initiatives of their clientele. To f i nd out more, v i sit




concerns must be taken into account, such as a remote area’s access to training, products, and qualified professionals. It go e s on to s t ate, “Any implementation challenges must be resolved before widespread regulation or expansion to higher steps can be considered or supported. If a delayed implementation of 2032 targets prevents u n i ntended consequences, it is worth adjusting timelines as needed. “Local governments should be able to follow the Step Code as legislated, beginning at Step O n e, w it ho ut u ndu e pressu re a nd benchmarking against other jurisdictions. Voluntary mu n icipa l i ncentives for builders and homeowners can encourage the adoption of higherthan-code steps. “Before implementing the Step Code in new a re a s, lo c a l gover nments should consider cost-benefit analysis; incentives, including density bonusing, permit timelines, rebates,


“Before implementing the Step Code in new areas, local governments should consider cost-benefit analysis; incentives, including density bonusing, permit timelines, rebates, and more; industry knowledge and capacity; availability of necessary materials; and proximity of licensed energy advisors to ensure a cost-effective and competitive environment.”

a nd more; i ndustr y knowledge and capacity; availability of necessary materials; and proximity of licensed energy advisors to ensure a cost-effective and competitive environment.” As a final point in its position statement, the CHBA BC emphasizes the need for industry consultation.

“Industry and government must be in constant communication,” it says. “While government is the driver of regulation, builders and industry professionals are the ones actually implementing the changes. Their concerns and ideas must be heard at all times.” To find out more, visit


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18 WHO IS SUING WHOM The contents of Who’s Suing Whom is provided by a third-party resource and is accurate according to public court documents. Some of these cases may have been resolved by publication date. DEFENDANT 0926234 BC Ltd 1C-9851 Seaport Pl, Sidney, BC PLAINTIFF Deep Cove Marina Ltd CLAIM $200,000 DEFENDANT 1119065 BC Ltd 1700-666 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC PLAINTIFF Living Stones Interlocking Brick Inc CLAIM $52,327 DEFENDANT Accurate Home Inspection 3625 Fowlie Cres, Port Alberni, BC PLAINTIFF McPhail, Diana CLAIM $35,000 DEFENDANT Achteck Construction Ltd 5660 Yew St, Vancouver, BC PLAINTIFF Island Equipment Rentals Ltd CLAIM $8,525

DEFENDANT Anita Davey Consulting Services Ltd 2881 Virago Pl, Ladysmith, BC PLAINTIFF Morris, Rollyn Charles CLAIM $43,220 DEFENDANT Blue Marlin Inn Ltd 330-522 7th St, New Westminster, BC PLAINTIFF Sysco Canada Inc CLAIM $27,264 DEFENDANT Builders Group And Space Setters Construction 1630 Davies Rd, Victoria, BC PLAINTIFF Watson, Leif CLAIM $40,186 DEFENDANT Craig Bay Estates 1301 Cape Cod Dr, Parksville, BC PLAINTIFF Clark Pacific Snow Incorporated CLAIM $88,830 DEFENDANT DC Marina Ltd Inc 101-9766 4th St, Sidney, BC PLAINTIFF Deep Cove Marina Ltd CLAIM $200,000 DEFENDANT DJ Excavating

Keeping projects on time and on budget

7890 Clark Dr West, Lantzville, BC PLAINTIFF Yee, Kim CLAIM $10,000 DEFENDANT Dumas Trucking Ltd 32090 3rd Ave, Port Alberni, BC PLAINTIFF Simon, Glenn CLAIM $15,216 DEFENDANT Noble Extracts Inc 1626 Garnet Rd, Victoria, BC PLAINTIFF Paul, Zachary CLAIM $35,163 DEFENDANT Norstar Alliance Real Estate Services Ltd 97 Commercial St, Nanaimo, BC PLAINTIFF Clark, Lynn Anne CLAIM $100,000 DEFENDANT North Island Chipping PO Box 190, Port McNeill, BC PLAINTIFF Upper Cut Construction CLAIM $11,415 DEFENDANT Pacific Rim Realty 1-4505 Victoria Quay, Port Alberni, BC PLAINTIFF


McPhail, Diana CLAIM $35,000 DEFENDANT Peak Wellness Ltd 2751 Sea View Rd, Victoria, BC PLAINTIFF Paul, Zachary CLAIM $35,163 DEFENDANT Pioneer West Acceptance Corporation 201-814 West 15th St North, Vancouver, BC PLAINTIFF Nuamah, Francis Nelson CLAIM $15,216 DEFENDANT PR Mechanical Ltd 800-15355 24th Ave, Surrey, BC PLAINTIFF Big Rock Mechanical Inc CLAIM $45,239 DEFENDANT Royal Le Page Port Alberni 1-4505 Victoria Quay, Port Alberni, BC PLAINTIFF McPhail, Diana CLAIM $35,000 DEFENDANT Sacpyr Investments Ltd 102-4190 Lougheed Hwy, Burnaby, BC PLAINTIFF Island Equipment Rentals Ltd CLAIM

$8,525 DEFENDANT Spirit Bay Developments Limited Partnership 4th Flr 1007 Fort St, Victoria, BC PLAINTIFF Zabunyan, Dikran CLAIM $31,656 DEFENDANT Stadnuk Ventures Inc 411-15368 16a Ave, Surrey, BC PLAINTIFF Nuamah, Francis Nelson CLAIM $15,216 DEFENDANT Valhalla Pure Outfitters Inc 3009B 28th St Vernon, BC PLAINTIFF Brooks, Nancy Ann CLAIM $25,183 DEFENDANT Westurban Developments Ltd 26 Bastion Square, Victoria, BC PLAINTIFF Living Stones Interlocking Brick Inc CLAIM $52,327 DEFENDANT Worthy Real Estate Developments Ltd 200-931 Fort St, Victoria, BC PLAINTIFF Slegg Building Materials CLAIM $26,072



Harbour Air Seaplanes and magniX successfully flew the “world’s first all-electric commercial aircraft” on December 10th. The successful journey was aboard a six-passenger DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver which included a 750-horsepower magni500 propulsion system at the Harbour Air Seaplanes terminal in Richmond. The plane was piloted by Harbour Air founder and CEO Greg McDougall. MagniX and Harbour Air will now begin the certification and approval process for the propulsion system and the retrofitting of aircraft. Once the certification is complete, the rest of the fleet can be retrofitted with magniX’s all-electric propulsion technology. T he G ordon Head Berw ick Hou se i n S a a n i c h re c e n t l y marked its 30 th anniversary at a celebration that included the official unveiling of the facility’s new onsite Tweeds Café. The event also included an award ceremony in which Berwick Retirement Communities founder Gordon Denford was presented with the Pioneer Award by Lee Coonfer, CEO of the BC Seniors Living Association. Four staff members including Doug Webb, Bill Krutz, Margot Wallace and Katrina Glass were also award recipients for reaching their 30th year of service to the Berwick House.

third year in a row SendtoNews has been named on the list. SendtoNews is a digital sports video platform and Checkfront is a cloud-based booking management application and e-commerce platform. Island Outfitters is celebrating its 25 th anniversary 3319 Douglas Street. The company offers a wide range of hunting & fishing gear and services on Vancouver Island, including rod repair, bow sizing, and fishing charters.

Aalbert Van Schothorst The University of Victoria’s Vikings men’s rowing head coach Aalbert Van Schothorst was presented with the annual President’s Award at the Canadian University Rowing Association awards. The awards were held at the CARSA Performance Gym following final championship races at Elk Lake in Saanich. SeaFirst Insurance Brokers has moved its Saanichton office across the street to Unit 3a – 7816 East Saanich Road. The Town of View Royal recently honoured Fire Chief Paul Hurst for his service over the past 35 years at a reception in View Royal Town Hall on December 3rd.

Roger Yager T he Vancouver Island Construction Association recently elected its 2019-20 board of directors. Roger Yager, vice president of Knappett Projects Inc has been reappointed to the role of chairman and Dave Flint, Flynn Canada will serve as past-chair. James Clap of JLT Marsh Specialty (Victoria) and Scott Torry of AFC Construction (Courtenay) were both re-elected. Byron Tarby of National Contracting Solutions (Nanaimo) and Chris Williams of Houle Electric (Victoria) are newly elected to the board. Two Victoria technology companies have been recognized by Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 Awards. Checkfront was listed as one of Deloitte’s Companies-to-Watch while SendtoNews was recognized as one of the Deloitte Fast 50. The Deloitte Canada Fast 50 program lists Canada’s fastest-growing tech companies and this marks the


new library is expected to play a central role in Esquimalt Town Square’s identity and serve as a focal point for the municipality. Daniel Sitnam, president and CEO of Helijet International, was recently presented with the Helicopter Association of Canada’s 2019 Agar-String Award. The award was presented to Sitnam in honour of his lifetime contributions to the Canadian helicopter industry. He has been in the aviation industry since 1977 and founded Helijet in 1986, providing helicopter service between Victoria and Vancouver. Helijet appointed David McNamar as director of maintenance, where he will be responsible for all aircraft maintenance activities for the company. David has over 30 years of experience in the field of rotary-wing aviation maintenance.

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Construction is underway on Greater Victoria’s second Marshalls depa r tment store set to open in Millstream Village Shopping Centre in Langford. The store will go into the space formerly occupied by La Vie en Rose and Mexx. Work on the site will include internal and external construction that will convert the two spots into one store. An opening date for the new store has not been announced. SEE MOVERS & SHAKERS|  PAGE 20

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Tom Lee Music Canada celebrated its 50th anniversary across the country from November 29th to December 2nd. Mango Thai recently opened its doors in Langford at Unit 143 – 2401G Millstream Road. Wellburn’s Market at Cook and Pandora and a neighbouring grocery store have been forced to close their doors for business after a sewage-line problem in the building. The grocery store had already intended to close its doors in 2020 as the site is expected to be redeveloped. Other buildings were not affected by the sewage issue, and the issue was not said to be with the municipality’s system. The new Esquimalt Library branch is expected to open in early 2021 in the community’s long-awaited time square. Once open, the branch will measure about 10,000-square-feet, up from the current 8,000-squarefeet at the branch’s existing location at Esquimalt town hall. The

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The Family Business Association of Vancouver Island is holding its annual Family Business Excellence (FBE) and Young Entrepreneur Awards on February 12, 2020 at the Union Club.

Inez Louden, FRI Associate Broker 250-812-7710 Pemberton Holmes – Sidney 107 – 2360 Beacon Avenue Inez was raised in a family of 6 children and was taught to work hard, do the best she could and always work honestly and ethically. “My Grandfather, who lived with us in his last years, told me to treat others as I would want to be treated – but do it first.” In honour of her Grandfather, and in keeping with the way she was raised, Inez has always tried to follow this one simple rule in life. Inez believes education and staying current on changes in the real estate industry is very important in representing, and providing. the best service to her clients. Her FRI (Fellow of the Real Estate Institute) and Associate Broker designations, plus membership in the Real Estate Institute of Canada and Better Business Bureau are part of her education achievements. “I love my job and have been very fortunate to have met so many wonderful people who have referred me to their family and friends”. If you are thinking of making a real estate move, give Inez a call at 250-812-7710 and put her 31 years of experience and knowledge to work for you.



CIBC is the newest member of the South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP). SIPP is the economic development agency for Greater Victoria, formerly known as the Greater Victoria Development Agency. V ic tor i a’s Dr i f twoo d Brewery took home multiple awards at Growler Magazine’s BC Craft Beer Reader’s Choice Awards. Driftwood took home hold in the West Coast/specialty IPA category for its Fat Tug IPA and received the Beer of the Year title. Nominees for the awards were selected by a panel of 25 judges which were then voted on by the public. The Victoria Chamber of Commerce is now taking nominations for its 2020 Greater Victoria Business Awards. Nominees for the awards in 10 distinct categories must be submitted by January 22nd. A new ranking published by Maclean’s magazine recorded Oak Bay as the second-least dangerous com munity in all Canada, coming in just behind Thames Centre, Ontario. The rankings are based on the Violent Crime Severity Index (CSI) published by Stats Canada. Dollarama is preparing to open a new store at the for mer Shoppers Dr ug Mart on the 1200 block of Douglas Street. The company has over 1,000 stores across Canada and three other locations in Greater Victoria at 3510 Blanshard Street, 2973 Tillicum Road and 3082 Blanshard Street.






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appointed Franz Lehrbass to serve as the executive director of the organization effective January 21. Franz will take over from Lloyd Fitzsimonds who retires in December after serving 20 years with the organization. Lehrbass spent 10 years as general manager of the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium in Brandon and once served as a producer for the CBC’s music department.

Ellie Sercombe of Limona Group wa s appoi nted treasurer, Dusty Delain as chair of the builders council and Derrek Ballman of FloForm Countertops will ser ve a s suppl iers a nd trades chair. The incoming board of directors includes Russ Barry of Interactive Construction, Tony Aindow of Goodison Construction, Mike Dalton of Citta’ Group, Lisa Dunsmuir of Step One Design, Steven Hurst of W & J Construction, Dan Olive of Seafirst Insurance Brokers, Paul Sm ith of Victor i a’s K 2 Stone and Derek Ballman. Otter Point Dental introduces Dr. Brittney Leeming as the most recent addition to their team of dentists at 6689 Sooke Road in Sooke.

Rod Dewar Rod Dewar, former CEO of Island Savings credit union, has been appointed chairman of the board at Consumer Protection BC. Dewar has served on the board since 2017 and will succeed Doug Enns. Dewar also serves as vice-chair of BC Life & Casualty and is on the board for Nicola Wealth Management, Blueshore Financial and the Victoria Airport Authority. He also serves as chair of the board for both the BC Ferry Authority and Victoria Hospitals Foundation. Consumer Protection BC is the agency responsible for regulating a nu mber of sectors as well as specific consumer transactions across the province. Seattle-based pizza and salad chain MOD Pizza has opened a store at Langford’s Belmont Shopping Centre. T his marks the companies first Canadian location which joins other recently opened eateries in the West Shore shopping centre including Mucho Burrito, Langford Sushi, Fatburger and more. T he Victoria Residential Builders Association recently appointed their b oa rd of d i re c tors for 2020 at their annual general meeting. Kyle Ryan of Abstract Developments wa s n a me d pre s id ent; Jen ny Ma r ti n of Jen ny Martin Design will serve as past-president; Dusty Delain of Amity Construction as first vice-president; and Norm Verbrugge of Norman Homes will serve as second vice-president.

Fuzzy Wuzzy Carpets has moved its operations to Island Floor Centre at 3375 Tennyson Avenue. Founder Bill Jones has retired from the business, which will continue under the leadership of Kirk and Benny Jones.

Rahim Khudabux Rahim Khudabux, the general manager and owner of Max Furniture, has been named the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s member of the year for 2020. The award recognizes Khudabux’s volunteering and commitment to the community which includes serving on the board of directors for the Victoria Chamber, holdi ng va r iou s roles w it h the Prod ig y Group a nd working on auction and ambassador committees. Max Furniture will move into the space previously occupied by Fuzzy Wuzzy Carpets. Expedia Cruise Ship Centers has unveiled its newly renovated office at 2353 Bevan Avenue in Sidney. Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary is celebrating its 45th anniversary at 3873 Swan Lake Road. SEE MOVERS & SHAKERS|  PAGE 21



Category 12 Beer is celebrated its 5 th anniversary by extending its holiday hou rs at 2 200 Keat i ng Cross Road. The brewery also recently completed a tap room expansion and has added a bistro. The Old Farm Market is now open for business at 2585 Cadboro Bay Road in Oak Bay. Patti Larsen has joined Engel & Volkers from the a genc y ’s of f ic e at 7 35 Humboldt Street. Wendy’s recently renovated its restaurants at 776 Bay Street and at 1800 Old Isla nd H ig hway i n Colwood. Re/Max Alliance Victoria cong ratu lates its sales leader of the month which include Jason Leslie, Ron Neal, Julie Swift, Dallas King, Manpreet Kandola, Alex Burns, Claude Delmaire, April Spackman, Brad Herd and Sean Thomas. Re/Max Alliance Victoria is at 770B Hillside Avenue. Victoria-based Viking Air Limited signed a contract

A team at the University of Victoria has received a $1-million grant to provide rural communities in North America with access to 3D-printed prosthetics and braces. The Victoria Hand Project (VHP) received the grant from the 2019 TD Ready Challenge, an annual North American initiative aimed at catalyzing innovative solutions for a changing world. Since 2015, V H P has prov ided low-cost 3-D printed prosthetics to 130 people around the world with stations in Egypt, Uganda, Guatamala, Ecuador, Nepal, Haiti and Cambodia. Re/Max Camosun recently announced its top producers of the month for the Greater Victoria region. These include Song Mei Wong, Geoff McLean, Mark Roozendaal, Karl Leong, Bruce Hatter, Shane King, April Prinz, Blair Veenstra, Jeff Meyer, Jane Johnston, Laurie Lidstone, Nany di Castri and Andrew Holenchuk. Top producers from other Victoria area regions



Don Evans has resigned as executive officer of Our Place after overseeing a rapid ex pa nsion at the Victoria drop-in centre for the past seven years. A search is already underway for Evans replacement and the management team at Our Place will continue running the organization until a new CEO is found. Two Victoria companies were presented with awards at the inaugural Builders Code Champion Awards. Kinetic Construction received the Workplace Culture Champion award along with Vancouver’s Scott Construction Group while Durwest Construction was recognized with the Initiate of the Year Award. The awards recognize companies with policies and practices that ensure all employees can reach their full potential in the skilled trades.



D E T N E C -S D R

Haro’s, the dining room at the Sidney Pier Hotel and Spa, is temporarily closing its doors on January 1 to undergo a major renovation before reopening in the spring as 10 Acres at the Pier. Mike Murphy will take over the space in the new year with plans to renovate the dining room and kitchen. Murphy is the owner of 10 Acres Farm and Restaurant Group which includes 10 Acres Bistro and Commons in downtown Victoria, as well as a farm in Saanich Peninsula. The renovations will include more wood décor, adding fireplaces as well as a large bar with an oyster shucking station.


include Oliver Katz (Sooke), Dan Juricic (Sidney), Jenny Bruce (Westshore) a nd Tony Joe in Oak Bay.


Island Health last leased space at 5 47 M ich iga n Street to operate James Bay Urgent Primary Care Centre, Victoria’s second urgent primary care centre. Renovations are underway and the new facility is expected to open in March. Urgent care centres are designed to provide sameday access for people with non-emergency injuries and illnesses who need medical attention within 12 to 24 hours.

valued at US $42.6-million with the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) for the companies Avionics Upgrade Program (AUP) for eight of its Canadair CL-415 aerial firefighters. The contract will make MTQ the launch customer for the Viking Avionics Upgrade Program for the Canadair CL-415 amphibious aircraft fleet. T he AU P i s a prog ra m developed by Viking that adds modernized technologies in communications, navigation, surveillance and air-traffic management functionality in an integrated platform for the Canadair CL-215T and CL415 aircraft.






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DECEMBER 2019 A division of Invest Northwest Publishing Ltd. 200-3060 Cedar Hill Road, Victoria V8T 3J5 Fax: 1.778.441.3373 Toll free: 1.866.758.2684 Website:

PUBLISHER/EDITOR |  Lise MacDonald SALES |  Robert MacDonald -, John MacDonald - WRITERS |  Beth Hendry-Yim, Kristin Van Vloten, Val Lennox, Robert MacDonald




had just sat down for dinner in Hitacu, at a Ucluelet First Nation banquet November 12, when someone I hadn’t yet met, but looked very familiar, sat down across from me. It was provincial Finance Minister Carole James. How fortuitous, I thought. I’d written about the former NDP leader many times in editorials, and shared my opinions on her party’s fiscal finance ideology. Now, here she was, sitting right in front of me, for an hour or so. Slowly and gently, I asked questions, then shared my thoughts with James. And, for the record, “my thoughts” in regards to the NDP governments’ handling of the province’s finances are shared by many, many business people – who have been negatively affected by the same. I had reached out, several times, to James directly via email, only to run into “gatekeepers” who

provided benign, off-putting, non-answers to direct questions regarding the NDP’s apparent plan to reduce the price of BC residential real estate “20-30 per cent”, which James had reportedly told a Kelowna businessperson within the year. The staffer didn’t confirm or deny the conversation, and although the percentage wasn’t confirmed, James did later say publicly that, in effect, reductions in the cost of real estate would be a good thing, as it would make it more affordable. Which is true – but that doesn’t take into account the hit that homeowners would take in terms of their number one nest egg, one which in many cases forms the backbone of their retirement income plans. In a separate column, I wrote about how juvenile and overly simplistic the idea was – that a combination of raising the minimum wage and lower housing prices would make house purchasing a possibility for those working in non-skilled labour positions. That has rarely, if ever, been the case. House buying jobs are generally from the skilled, trained labour and management/ ownership employment pool. W hat ma kes housi ng more affordable is more supply, and as the NDP and their philosophical soulmates on civic councils continue their traditional fights

against development, that keeps the number of housing units low, driving up the price. It’s very simple economics. The simplest, really. Supply and demand. I digress. . . Carole James is a nice woman, and easy to talk to. After introducing myself by name to her, I mentioned that the Vancouver Sun was suggesting that the NDP should consider running deficits in light of plunging provincial revenues. She responded that would be “like putting the hen in charge of the hen house”, and we both laughed. A few minutes later I asked her what, if anything, her government was going to do in regards to the struggling forest industry and stumpage rates (for log extraction). She replied with the predictable NDP response about “raw logs” and “secondary manufacturing”, and added if they adjusted stumpage rates the United States would protest, complaining about subsidization. All standard NDP fare. But another non-answer that indicated only that no changes would be forthcoming. I d id n’t wa nt to get i nto a lengthy discussion with James on any of the topics, which I’ve written about on several occasions, thinking neither of us would be interested in overriding dinner with political arm-wrestling.

She then asked if I was in finance, and I told her we owned t he B usine ss Examine r. She knew of it, and the conversation, while still cordial, became more guarded. Not wanting to push too hard, I thought I’d take one more opportunity to appeal to James. I offered that the economy under BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark basically ran on “auto pilot”, and asked if there was anything particularly dynamic in terms of policy that Clark introduced to stimulate growth. She couldn’t think of anything, and chuckled. We agreed. Then I said: “So why doesn’t your government do the same? You could have left the economy alone, and spend the surpluses on projects that your government wants to, like affordable housing, hospitals. . .Why do you always think you have to tinker with the economy?” She listened and was quiet, but didn’t answer. I shared about a lengthy meeting I had with then NDP leader Adrian Dix with MLA Doug Routley prior to the election he was expected to win, but lost to Clark. I started by stating that since the NDP doesn’t understand finance, why don’t they try this: Get an expert from outside the party to run the finance department should they become

government. They couldn’t lose, for if that person was successful, it was their idea. And if they failed, the NDP could blame them. Of course they didn’t form government, and who knows if Dix would have gone down that road. I doubt it very much, because if there’s one thing about the ruling bourgeoisie of the NDP, they do think they’re smart, and of course their economic ideas are better than those of free enterprisers. Yet here the NDP is again, tinkering with an engine that didn’t need fixing at all, with the same old policies that crippled BC in the 1990’s – and some new ones tossed in. Surely they can’t be surprised they’re getting the same results. Died in the wool NDPers seem to have a strong aversion, perhaps even an inability, to listen and consider any idea that comes from the other side of the philosophical divide that opposes their doctrine. They refuse to listen, or learn. I would flatter myself to think that James would listen to me any more than any other business person who has complained about the NDP’s punitive, anti-business and growth policies and taxation, and its negative impact on the economy. But one can only hope.




he fall federal election showed that politicians across the spectrum are happy to promise to spend more on our government-run health-care system. Whether the spending is for long-term care or pharmacare, the political solution to any

health-care problem seems to be to pump more money into it. Of course, the Canadian taxpayer is stuck with the bill. So just how large of a tab did we run up last year? While it’s fairly easy to obtain a receipt for our health-care bill ($163 billion in 2018), most Canadians remain unaware of their individual contributions. This is through no fault of their own. It’s primarily because general government revenues – not a dedicated tax – finance health care in Canada. That means we pay for health care through a variety of taxes, including income, sales and so-called sin taxes on alcohol and tobacco. Even per-person estimates ($4,389) a re m islead i ng because Canadians don’t pay equal amounts of tax each year. For example, children and dependents are not taxpayers. Meanwhile, health insurance

premiums in provinces that impose them only cover a fraction of the true cost of health care, which further exacerbates the confusion. In reality, the amount we pay for health care through the tax system depends on family income and size. And while difficult, it’s possible to estimate these relative contributions using data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information. A recent study by the Fraser Institute does just that. Calculating estimates across six common family types, the study finds that a typical Canadian family (two parents, two children) with an average household income of $140,049 will pay $13,311 for public health care this year. A single-parent family with two children (earning $65,858) will pay $3,833. The amount individual Canadian families pay for health care varies widely across the income

spectrum. For example, the 10 per cent of families with the lowest incomes (earning $15,070 per household, on average) will pay $464 for health care in 2019 while families in the top 10 per cent of income earners (with a household income of $298,872, on average) will pay $39,486. Why should we care how much Canadian families pay for health care? Because knowing how much we pay enables us to better judge whether we receive good value for our health-care dollars. For example, while some Canadians may consider these amounts reasonable for a system that provides life-saving treatment in the emergency room, others may rue the fact that despite spending thousands of dollars, they had to wait more than 26 weeks for neurosurgery last year. By comparing how much families annually contribute towards the public system, we can

better understand the impact of the growing burden of public health care. For example, between 1997 and 2019, the cost of public health care for the average Canadian family grew 1.7 times faster than the average income. However – again due to the complex nature of how we pay for health care – many Canadians are unaware of this unsustainable growth in the cost of health care relative to their incomes. These numbers should help disabuse Canadians of any notion that we have a ‘free’ health-care system. Families across Canada pay a lot for health care through our tax system, and it’s important they know just how much of the $163-billion bill is on their tab. Milagros Palacios and Bacchus Barua are analysts at the Fraser Institute.

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Manatee Holdings Cracks National List For Fastest Growing Companies Family-Owned Aquaculture Business Finds Winning Strategy in Eco-Friendly Approach


OURTENAY – Manatee Holdings Ltd. has been re c o g n i z e d a s o n e o f the nation’s fastest growing companies. Eric Gant founded the compa ny as a d ive fish i ng company in 1988, with an initial investment of $2,000. Since t h at t i me t he c ompa ny h a s grown to the point where it is now on the Globe and Mail’s ranking (#180 out of 400) of Canada’s Top Growing Companies for 2019. A s a c h i ld , g row i n g u p i n northern Saskatchewan, Eric wa s ra i s e d a s a hu nter i n a ra nc h i n g a nd fa r m i n g d i strict. This hunting background helped prepare him to become an underwater hunter building his harvesting fleet in the dive fisheries of BC. However, as a child, he had also witnessed many species being hunted into extinction. He a lso saw how huge a reas of the natural forest were dest royed by t he fa r mers a nd ranchers as they raised food for humans around the world. As a commercial food diver, he watched as the same pattern was being repeated in the sea.

Upon realizing this, Eric began looking for solutions. “I helped change the dive fisheries from the shotgun system to the Individual Quota (IQ ) system,” says Eric. “This helped reduce some of the more devastating impacts the fishermen were having on the stocks. Manatee then spearheaded the creation of the geoduck aquaculture industry in BC in order to resolve the remaining flaws within the fishery. “Finally, we created our, ‘Sea Change’ strategy to address the inherent flaws within the traditional forms of aquaculture. We think our new strategy will help us to live up to our company’s mandate to become the most environmentally beneficial food production operation on land or sea anywhere in the world.” According to Lourdes Gant (Eric’s w i fe a nd co-ow ner), careful planning and a commitment to ethical practices are behind the company’s success. “We have ta ken ou r socia l contribution program to help people from around the world to immigrate into Canada from less fortunate circumstances,” she says. “We then combined

Manatee Holdings was recognized on the Globe and Mail’s ranking (#180 out of 400) of Canada’s Top Growing Companies for 2019 t he prog ra m w it h ou r company’s business strategy as an equal opportunity employer, to seek out and find the very best people from around the world to work with us in our company.” “This program gives us leverage in terms of international perspectives. And is combined with leading edge training programs to help give our staff a better quality of life; and, to

make them more valuable to our company as employees.” When discussing the reasons behind the company’s strong growth Eric cites three main factors that contributed to its success. “First, Manatee Holdings was able to a nticipate the major changes in food consumption around the world,” he says. This allowed them to prepare to meet global demand.” “Second, when creating the business, one of our key strategies was to make their company a family-based business in order to give the company the generations of time it needs to reach its long term goals,” he says. “Then, we made certain that the family business is always based upon merit. In short, don’t leave a legacy to your children; live it with them.” Lourdes joined the company in 2008 and became a co-owner i n 2014 to head the Fi na nce and Public Relations Division. Br ia n a G a nt ( E r i c’s s e c on d daughter) joined as one of the commercial divers in 2017, and is now being trained to be one of Manatee Holdings’ Field Operations Supervisors. Elan Gant,

(Lourdes and Eric’s ten year old son), now works as a hatchery tour guide and electronic consultant to the rest of the family. T h i rd , t h e ow n e rs re c ogn ized that when it comes to good ideas, implementation is the key. The company has focussed on creating structures that allow their vision to become reality. Accord i ng to L ou rdes, the growth that Manatee Holdings has a l ready seen is on ly the beginning. “We are now planning to accelerate the expansion of our company’s operations to take advantage of the next major change we see that will soon be happening,” she says. The company is now looking for the right Investor Directors to help it expand to its next level of development based upon its strategic mandate. “As part of this strategy we are offering an equity position to qualified Investor Directors for an investment between $8 Million to $20 Million who will share our core focus of ‘creating food while benefitting the ocean’s ecology,’” says Lourdes.

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Business Examiner Victoria - December 2019  

Featuring the latest business news and information for Greater Victoria, including Sidney, the Saanich Peninsula, Langford, Colwood, Sooke,...

Business Examiner Victoria - December 2019  

Featuring the latest business news and information for Greater Victoria, including Sidney, the Saanich Peninsula, Langford, Colwood, Sooke,...