Sonja Nagel

Sonja Nagel, Executive Director of the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce

On July 30, fifteen Chambers of Commerce from Vancouver Island and The Gulf Islands met with 21 government representatives—including Deputy Ministers and Assistant Deputy Ministers across 11 ministries —to discuss both local and pan-provincial issues affecting businesses on Vancouver Island.

Typically, the BC Chamber sits down with government to review the policies adopted at the BC Chamber AGM, followed by regular updates to the 120 Chambers across BC of the steps being taken by various levels of government to address issues impacting BC businesses. This year, the Government suggested a new format which was rolled out in Nanaimo as the first-ever Vancouver Island Regional Consultation, Policy and Positions Meeting with the BC Government.

The Island consortium presented policies which contained recommendations to various government ministries. Specifically, the Vancouver-Gulf Islands consortium addressed the pan provincial issues including: Taxation (Competitiveness), Species-At-Risk Act legislation and considering the impacts on business, Transportation and Infrastructure, Emergency Management and Housing.

Vancouver Island and Gulf Island regional concerns included: Aquaculture opportunities for Canadian Seafood producers, Protecting old-growth rainforest to the economic benefit of tourism-based communities, Supporting land based cideries, wineries, and distilleries, Promoting innovation in regional solid waste management, and Addressing barriers to succession planning for SMEs.

It was an enlightening process for both Chamber and Government representatives, to share perspectives and learn where there is opportunity for progress and successes on several policies affecting our island communities and businesses. We look forward to working collaboratively with government in the year ahead that will expand opportunities for business and to strengthen the Island economy.

Welcome new members to the Duncan Cowichan Chamber: Cowichan Housing Association, Mill Bay Masonry, LMG Insurance Services, Sands and Associates, Bay to Bay Charters, Duncan Pharmacy, Cowichan Valley Bluegrass Festival, Sheer Essentials Lingerie and Swim, and Seymour Digital Media.

Sonja Nagel is the Executive Director of the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce.  She can be reached at 250-748-1111 or