Published On: Monday, 21 December 2015

Esquimalt Chamber Focused on Encouraging Development

Esquimalt Chamber Focused on Encouraging Development

ESQUIMALT - As we welcome the New Year, your Chamber Board of Directors are busy setting the stage for a constructive 2016. First among our priorities is economic development within the Township.

Of course any economic growth within our community is guided by the Official Community Plan (OCP), which Council has announced is undergoing a two-year comprehensive review. The OCP guides Council on how our community will develop in the future and as such it’s vitally important that Esquimalt business has a say in the process. To ensure our members have a strong voice in examining the OCP your Board has asked local businessman, Mark Eraut of the Merdyn Group and Bingo Esquimalt, to represent your interests as the Township reviews the OCP.

Your Board is also keeping a watchful eye on Council’s plans for redevelopment of Esquimalt Road, including the long promised Esquimalt Village Project (EVP). On December 10th the Township’s Request for Proposals closed for those interested in developing the EVP. Council reviewed the outcome at a closed-door meeting on December 14th after which we appeared before Council to request it release the results of the RFP at its earliest opportunity.

As most will know the EVP has been a “priority” of Council’s since Mayor Desjardins was first elected in 2008. Since that time we’ve seen numerous news releases and much debate but no development. This prime piece of property, located next to the Township Hall on Esquimalt Road, has the potential to kick-start redevelopment in our town center so its importance to the economic growth of our community cannot be over-stated.

Speaking of the redevelopment of Esquimalt Road, last August Council adopted the Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw, which was designed to encourage property owners along the Esquimalt Road corridor to upgrade their buildings in exchange for a tax exemption of up to 10 years on the resulting increase in assessed value. To date no property owners have taken advantage of the incentive. If you would like information on the program, we encourage you to contact the Township’s Development Services Department.

Finally, congratulations to Chamber member, Juan Navarro of Arriba Mexico Food Company, which was recently selected as one of the top 10 best International Trade Companies for the 2016 Small Business BC Awards. As a semi-finalist Arriba is now competing to make the top 5 finalists, which will be announced January 29. Good luck to Juan and company.

For more information on business opportunities in Esquimalt visit our website www.esquimaltchamber.ca or you can give us a call at 250-590-2125.

- RJ Senko is a Vice-President at the Esquimalt Chamber and President of RJStrategies. He can be reached at 250-888-3534.