Published On: Friday, 28 October 2016

Esquimalt - Victoria Chamber Integration Update

Esquimalt - Victoria Chamber Integration Update

- RJ Senko is a Vice-President at the Esquimalt Chamber and President of RJStrategies. He can be reached at 250.888.534.

ESQUIMALT - Following up on last month’s column regarding sewage treatment, readers will recall the Chamber Board wrote to Council seeking information and clarification on a number of items. However, more than a month later we have yet to receive a reply.

Despite the lack of a formal response, Council did discuss the Chamber suggestion to engage with post-secondary institutions regarding the possibility of creating a Centre of Excellence at the plant site. A motion to take the idea forward was proposed by Councillor Tim Morrison but failed to get a seconder so died without debate.

While the Chamber wishes to thank Councillor Morrison for his foresight and support, we can’t help but wonder why the rest of Council would not even want to consider a proposal that could have brought some form economic opportunity to our community? In the meantime, we remain optimistic that Council will provide a detailed response to the remainder of the items outlined in our letter.

Still on the issue of economic growth, after more than a year Council finally received an application under its Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw. Back in August of 2015 Council adopted the bylaw in an effort to encourage property owners along and near Esquimalt Road to upgrade their buildings. Since that time not a single application had come forward until the October 3 meeting when Council debated a proposal for a four-unit townhouse development on Foster Street.

However, despite a staff recommendation to grant the exemption Council denied the application based on the opinion that “this is not really what we intended when we passed the bylaw”.  Unfortunately, such decisions will do little to encourage further applications or revitalization.

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Finally, as Monty Python would say, “Now for something completely different” as it is time to provide an update on our integration proposal with the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

As promised when we announced the proposal last June, we have been engaging with members while finalizing negotiations with our Victoria colleagues. We are now at the point where Esquimalt members have been given a chance to look at the final proposal and provide their input. We will be formally releasing the outcome of those consultations shortly.