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Coombs Farmers' Institute receives Century Farm Award

Aug 01, 2014

(News Release) COOMBS  — In recognition of the 100 years of supporting local agriculture on Vancouver Island, Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell, on behalf of Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick, is presenting a Century Farm Award to the Coombs Farmers' Institute.

Brought together in February 1914, the Coombs Farmers' Institute started as a small group of producers dedicated to supporting and fostering local agriculture. Today, the organization has 20 members ranging from poultry, mixed fowl, cattle and goat producers to forage crops, fruit, vegetable and shellfish producers.

The Coombs Farmers' Institute hosts the Annual Farm Livestock and Equipment Auction providing consignors the opportunity to sell quality, farm-related merchandise to local farmers and ranchers from all over Vancouver Island and other nearby islands. The auction raises upward of $5,000 a year, which is returned to the community as scholarships or as funding for local projects. As part of its mandate, the institute grants one to two scholarships annually, benefiting students furthering their education in an agricultural field.

Money raised at the auction supports the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association who host  the annual Coombs Fall Fair. In 2013, the institute granted $6,000 to the association for the purchase of a mobile stage. As well, the institute continues to provide funding year after year in support of local agriculture and the community.

Century Farm Awards honour agricultural organizations that have been active for 100 years. Each Century Farm Award celebrates the rich heritage of farming and ranching families and organizations in B.C. The Century Farm award program was created in 1994 to mark the centennial of the Ministry of Agriculture.


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MAC Renovations Earns 11 CARE Awards Nominations

Aug 01, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – MAC Renovations Ltd., Victoria’s professional home renovation specialist, has earned a remarkable 11 finalist nominations in the 2014 Construction Achievement and Renovations of Excellence (CARE) Awards. Hosted by the Victoria Residential Builders Association, the annual awards celebrate the finest in West Coast design and craftsmanship. Finalists are selected by a panel of industry professionals who evaluate each entry in areas such as design, workmanship, creative use of space and energy efficiency.

“We are truly humbled by the association’s recognition of our work and we our very proud of our clients’ homes,” MAC founder and president Ed McDonald said of the company’s recent success. “This business is about relationships and it wouldn’t be possible without the friendship and partnership of our talented staff, sub-trades and suppliers.”

MAC Renovations will vie for 11 Gold CARE Awards:

• Best Outdoor Living Space

• Best Small Budget Renovation

• Best Residential Renovation or Restoration $300,000 to $500,000 (Two entries)

• Best Traditional Kitchen (New or Renovated) under 225 sq. ft.

• Best Contemporary Kitchen (New or Renovated) over 250 sq. ft.

• Best Bathroom (New or Renovated) under 100 sq. ft.

• Best Bathroom (New or Renovated) over 100 sq. ft.

• Best Master Suite (New or Renovated) under 500 sq. ft.

• Best Interior - Residential under 2,800 sq. ft.

• Best Interior - Residential 2,800 - 4,000 sq. ft.

Serving Victoria and Southern Vancouver Island for more than 34 years, the award-winning MAC Renovations has built its reputation on designing and building exceptional custom home renovation projects. MAC Renovations’ most recent CARE Awards honours come during a period of sustained growth in which McDonald’s son, Blaise McDonald, has also joined the company as Operations Manager.

The Victoria Residential Builders Association will announce the 2014 CARE Awards Gold winners at a Sept. 26 gala at the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

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LED Lights to Brighten B.C. Streets

Jul 17, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA - Shared Services BC is now offering an innovative new procurement program to support the purchase of energy efficient LED street lighting in B.C. communities. Beginning today, B.C. is the first province in Canada to offer municipalities and broader public sector organizations the opportunity to select from a short list of pre-qualified LED street light products.

By switching all 360,000 street lights in the province to LED, the public sector could save about 105 GWh of electricity per year - enough to power about 10,000 homes, or a city like New Westminster for one year.

The voluntary program includes Corporate Supply Arrangements with multiple suppliers that offer a range of functional, technical and price variations to meet individual requirements. The program will create opportunities for British Columbia companies to provide consultation, distribution and installation services.

Communities, big and small, will be able to access a suite of resources including lighting consultants and pre-qualified suppliers to simplify a potentially complex purchase of this new technology.

Benefits include:

  • Co-ordination with BC Hydro’s Power Smart Program that offers incentive funding to assist with conversion costs.
  • Guidance, advice and support for purchasing LED street lights.
  • An online financial tool that will calculate a pay-back period and generate a report for both a business case and a preliminary Power Smart application.
  • Access to pre-qualified lighting consultants.
  • Eligible public sector organizations will have the opportunity to select a professional lighting designer to assist with the procurement and implementation.
  • A choice of LED street lights vetted by lighting specialists and municipal engineers.

LED street lights have many benefits over traditional lights including significant energy savings, lower maintenance costs and a substantially longer lifespan. Installing LED street lights can save enough money to recover the initial cost within eight years. Adopting LED technology can also help reduce light pollution and provide better visibility for pedestrians and motorists, making B.C.’s roadways safer for citizens.


This innovative procurement service is the result of collaboration between Shared Services BC, the Ministry of Environment’s Climate Action Secretariat and BC Hydro’s Power Smart Program. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, LightSavers Canada at the Canadian Urban Institute and the cities of Burnaby, Port Moody, Surrey and Vancouver also provided expertise.

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Neverblue Celebrates a Decade in Victoria

Jul 16, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Victoria’s first performance marketing company is proudly celebrating its ten year anniversary in the Victoria community.

In 2004, four local Victorians started Neverblue. Ten years later, Neverblue has grown to become one of the most recognizable names worldwide in digital and performance marketing. With offices now in London, Hong Kong and Los Angeles, Neverblue employs nearly 200 people with headquarters remaining in Victoria, B.C.

“With the digital space constantly changing, celebrating ten years in digital marketing is such an extraordinary accomplishment in the industry, as well as in the community,” said Bjorn Hougaard, Vice President of Neverblue. “Victoria has a thriving technology industry that we’ve proudly been a part of and contributed to over the last ten years.

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2014 CARE Awards Finalists Announced

Jul 16, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — The finalists for the 2014 Construction Achievements and Renovations of Excellence (CARE) Awards of Vancouver Island were announced today by the Victoria Residential Builders Association. The finest in sustainable West Coast design and construction is represented in new homes, renovations, kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor living spaces.

“The CARE Awards is the industry’s premier event showcasing outstanding West Coast design and craftsmanship,” says Wilf Gorter, Chair of the 2014 CARE Awards. “These finalists demonstrate the range of possibilities through innovation and sustainable building practices.”

CARE Awards finalists are selected by a panel of industry professionals using criteria such as architectural design, quality workmanship, creative use of space, and energy efficiency. The categories are Residential Planning, Design & Construction; Interior Design; Commercial Planning & Design; Customer Service; Sales & Marketing; Special Achievement; and Special Interest.

The Gold winners will be announced at the CARE Awards gala on Friday, September 26, Fairmont Empress Hotel. The public will select the winner of the People’s Choice Award from finalist photos displayed at Tillicum Centre from August 25 – September 7, and online at www.careawards.ca until Sept 14. Voters are entered to win a stay at Long Beach Lodge Resort, 2002 CARE Awards Project of the Year.

“The People’s Choice Award offers the opportunity to view the very best in West Coast living,” says Casey Edge, Executive Director, VRBA. “From affordable family communities to waterfront dream homes, we invite the public to vote for their favourite."

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Ho Kim Selected as EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 Finalist

Jul 16, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – CAMACC Systems is pleased to announce that Ho Kim, President and Chief Executive Officer, has been selected as an EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 finalist in the Pacific region.

“I’m thrilled because this is a team accomplishment,” says Ho Kim. “CAMACC has a great product, but what really makes us successful is the support and service provided by every team member. In my experience, no entrepreneur can be successful without an amazing work family that embraces innovation and ‘can do’ attitude.”

EY Entrepreneur of the Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only global award of its kind, Entrepreneur of the Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities, in more than 60 countries.

The Canadian program is in its 21st year of honouring the country’s most impressive entrepreneurs from all areas of business. Award finalists are chosen based on their vision, leadership, financial success and social responsibility.

“The future of entrepreneurship in Canada — and here in British Columbia — is brighter than ever,” says Lui Petrollini, EY’s Pacific Entrepreneur Of The Year program director. “Our Entrepreneur of the Year finalists defy the odds, and the impossible, to reach new heights — for themselves, and their country.”

In a new survey, EY found that Canada’s 2013 program finalists recorded average revenue growth of 37% year over year in 2012. That’s above the global average of 29% for developed countries. Seventy-four percent also have an international footprint — compared to 41% in Australia.

“Our finalists continue to achieve incredible economic growth and make a name for Canada on the world stage,” says Petrollini. “But it’s their role in job creation that really makes us proud. Our survey shows that last year’s finalists created jobs at an average pace of 25% in 2012.”

High-growth entrepreneurs create new markets and industries, contributing job growth in the economy. This year’s 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year finalists in the Pacific region represent close to 5,000 jobs in Canada. Together with all other finalists coast to coast, that number grows to 37,000.

Of the 24 finalists from the Pacific region, only two entrepreneurs – including Ho Kim – are based outside of the Lower Mainland. “Victoria is a great place to live and run a successful technology company with an international footprint,” says Ho Kim. “From local manufacturing and customer service to North America-wide design, installation and service, headquartering on the West Coast has always been a good decision for CAMACC.”


The Pacific region award winners of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 will be revealed on September 30 at “the Academy Awards of entrepreneurship” gala in Vancouver. The overall Pacific winner will represent the region at the national gala held in Toronto on 25 November.

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Angel Investor Group Establishes Local Loan Fund

Jul 16, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — For the past eight years, a group of local investors has been lending money internationally through KIVA.org helping micro startups around the globe. Now, they’re bringing their money home to Victoria.

The Victoria Micro Lending Association – a group of local angel investors – is ending its global lending program and donating all cash that has been invested to date to Community Micro Lending to create a Local Micro Loan Fund. Local business leader and founding member of the lending group Cedric Steele says, “We have watched Lisa Helps over a number of years and we are impressed that her organization has grown and it has helped many local entrepreneurs.”

Vu Ndlovu, Community Micro Lending Executive Director is thrilled with the creation of the loan fund. “This fund will supplement our peer-to-peer lending process,” says Ndlovu. “And it will help ensure that the loans are filled faster and get more small businesses off the ground more quickly.”

As global loans are repaid over time, those monies will be added to the Local Micro Loan Fund to support micro-entrepreneurs in Greater Victoria.

The local investors will present a cheque to Community Micro Lending at a Golf Tournament this Friday July 18. Prospect Lake Golf Course is turning 40 and is holding a fundraising tournament in support of Community Micro Lending. Shawn Steele, Cedric and Dorene’s son and golf course manager is also a big supporter of small-business start-ups through micro loans.


Join Community Micro Lending and their supporters to golf this Friday. Spots still available. The 9-hole, best-ball “Texas Scramble” format starts at 3:00pm - no experience necessary! And, at almost every hole you'll get to meet one of Community Micro Lending's entrepreneurs also known as great community success stories! Register here: http://communitymicrolending.ca/events

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B.C. Welcomes New Flight Simulator Training Centre to Victoria

Jul 15, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond has released the following statement today to congratulate Pacific Sky Aviation Inc. and Viking Air Limited on their announcement of a new training centre at the Victoria International Airport:

“Pacific Sky Aviation and Viking Air are investing in B.C. and in the future with their state-of-the-art Twin Otter simulator training centre at the Victoria International Airport. This is great news for the local economy and it means 20 new jobs for the area.

“The Asia Pacific region is expected to see major growth in aircraft sales and flight traffic in the coming years and B.C. is a major hub for the aerospace sector. In fact, we are a preferred North American gateway for the industry. British Columbia’s aerospace and defence sector is recognized worldwide for delivering highly specialized products and services.”

"Aerospace is part of the Transportation sector in the BC Jobs Plan. The strategies in the BC Jobs Plan leverage B.C.’s advantages in eight key industry sectors to enable job creation and maintain investor confidence. In B.C., we are protecting our economy from global economic uncertainty through low taxes for families and business, controlled spending and balancing our budget, and our Skills for Jobs Blueprint.”


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Viking Delivers Twin Otter Series 400 at Farnborough International Airshow

Jul 15, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — In a delivery event held today at the Farnborough International Air Show, Viking Air Limited of Victoria, British Columbia, officially handed over the keys to MSN 898, the second of a total four Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft purchased by Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles.

Viking production serial number MSN 898, alongside MSN 899, underwent back-to-back aircraft acceptance procedures with Air Seychelles representatives at Viking’s corporate headquarters in the weeks leading up to Farnborough, and will be available for viewing on static display for the duration of the airshow.

The two new aircraft will join the first Air Seychelles Twin Otter Series 400 delivered in 2011 as 19-passenger regional commuters operating as pillars of tourism for the domestic carrier throughout the Seychelles archipelago.  The fourth and final Air Seychelles Series 400 Twin Otter is scheduled for delivery in mid-2015.

Manoj Papa, Air Seychelles’ CEO, said, “As fully backed by our shareholders - the government of Seychelles and Etihad Airways - Viking are without question our preferred supplier and partner in the 19-seat aircraft category.  This delivery of new Twin Otters to serve the inter-islands is a win-win for Viking Air, Air Seychelles and the thousands of passengers who fly on domestic services in Seychelles every year.  Island hopping by air in Seychelles is growing in popularity and the new aircraft will be a terrific addition to our fleet.  They are the right tools at the right time for Air Seychelles.”

David Curtis, Viking president & CEO, stated, “We believe that Air Seychelles’ selection of the Twin Otter Series 400 will not only positively impact their ability to service travelers throughout the island nation, but as a strategic partner to Etihad Airways, will help to expand the Series 400 brand presence throughout the entire Middle East / North African region.”


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Diversity Driving Major Project Activity to New Record Highs in B.C.

Jul 10, 2014

(News Release) VANCOUVER – Total capital cost of major projects in B.C. continued to rise in the first quarter of 2014, exceeding the record high set in the previous quarter, according to the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – British Columbia (ACEC-BC)’s BC MPI Review, released today. The BC MPI Review is a quarterly report that provides analysis on the Province of British Columbia’s Major Projects Inventory.

Total capital cost of major projects in B.C. were up 0.9 per cent to $311.8 billion in the first quarter of 2014, a 13.3 per cent increase over the same period last year. Total capital cost represents the combined value of projects identified as proposed, construction started, completed and on hold. Total capital costs have been on a steady upward trend since the third quarter of 2012.

The largest quarterly increase, at 140.7 per cent, occurred in the resort sector with the addition of the new proposed Valemount Glacier Destination Resort, tagged with an estimated capital cost of $800 million. In addition, there is the large upward re-estimation of capital costs for the Garibaldi at Squamish Ski Resort by $2.4 billion to $3.3 billion. On a year-over-year basis, the resort sector was up almost a third (27.9 per cent).

“Unlike the previous quarter, new proposed projects in the first quarter were not just dominated by large resource projects, but showed the wide diversity of projects that are coming down the line in B.C.,” said Sashaw. “The outlook for major project activity and investment in B.C. remains generally positive in the medium and long term, with improved global economic growth expected after 2014.”

Diversity was also highlighted by hospital projects such as the $300 million Penticton Hospital redevelopment; residential projects, including the $250 million Skaha Hills residential development; and utilities projects, especially the $240 million Port Mann Water Supply Tunnel, one of the Lower Mainland’s largest new projects.

LNG and mining projects in the North Coast and residential projects in the Lower Mainland-Southwest still remain significant contributors to capital cost totals. The North Coast region continued to be the location of the most major projects in capital cost at $117.4 billion in the first quarter, down slightly from the previous quarter though 35.3 per cent higher than one year ago. The vast majority of projects are in the proposed stage putting the region with the highest proposed total in the province at $101.8 billion, with the bulk of these proposals in LNG and mining. The Lower Mainland-Southwest region has the next largest project total at $82.4 billion, which was up 2.9 per cent from the prior quarter.  However, it continues to have the higher capital cost under construction at $40.3 billion, up 5.2 per cent from $38.3 billion in the fourth quarter. Residential and Residential Mixed-use projects were the largest category under construction as well as in the proposed stage.

Q1 2014 Major Project Inventory Highlights:

Project total capital costs by project status, Q1 2014 vs. Q4 2013:

  • Proposed: 0.8 per cent increase to $206 billion
  • Construction Started: 2.5 per cent increase to $84.2 billion
  • Completed: 58 per cent drop to $1.3 billion
  • On Hold: 4 per cent increase to $20.4 billion
Project total capital costs by industrial category, Q1 2014 vs. Q4 2013:
  • Accommodation/Food sector: 0.4 per cent increase to $4.7 billion
  • Arts & Entertainment & Recreation sector: held steady at $6.7 billion
  • Commercial sector: 7.7 per cent increase to $9.6 billion
  • Education sector: 3.2 per cent drop to $3 billion
  • Health sector: 10.3 per cent increase to $2.9 billion
  • Manufacturing sector: 0.2 per cent drop to $30.8 billion
  • Mining sector: held steady at $38.4 billion
  • Oil & Gas Extraction sector: 0.2 per cent increase to $46.5 billion
  • Pipelines sector: 1.1 per cent increase to $28.2 billion
  • Public Administration sector: 12.5 per cent drop to $1.3 billion
  • Residential sector: 0.9 per cent increase to $25.3 billion
  • Residential mixed use sector: 1.3 per cent increase to $26 billion
  • Resort sector: 26.4 per cent increase to $15.3 billion
  • Transportation & Warehousing sector: 5.5 per cent drop to $24.9 billion
  • Utilities sector: 1.1 per cent drop to $48.3 billion

The BC MPI Review is a quarterly report prepared by ACEC-BC that provides insight and analysis on the Major Projects Inventory, published by the British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour. The Major Projects Inventory, which is published quarterly, lists all major projects that are proposed, planned or underway in British Columbia. These are projects with a capital cost of at least $20 million each within the Lower Mainland and projects valued at $15 million or more apiece in the rest of B.C.



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SendtoNews Signs Worldwide Distribution Agreement with MLBAM for Digital Video Content

Jul 10, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA/NEW YORK - SendtoNews is pleased to announce it has signed a multi-faceted, multi-year agreement with MLB Advanced Media (“MLBAM”) for the global syndication of Major League Baseball (“MLB”) and Minor League Baseball (“MiLB”) short-form digital video content.

Under the terms of the agreement, SendtoNews will have digital distribution rights to MLB game highlights, interviews, top plays and other MLB-related video to local news sites throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, the agreement provides for expanded digital rights to distribute MLB video content globally, excluding certain territories where MLBAM has existing digital distribution partnerships.  The agreement also includes archived content, long-form original programming and global rights for the distribution of MiLB short-form digital video content.

“MLBAM has long been one of the most prolific sports content creators in the world and its vast library of content generated throughout the 2500 game baseball season is the holy grail of sports video highlights,“ states Greg Bobolo, CEO. “MLBAM is one of the most successful technology companies in the world and to become a global syndication partner is another huge market validation for SendtoNews and a strong statement about the capabilities of our syndication platform, our business model and our people. We are excited and honored to enter this partnership.”

“This partnership is reflective of our long-standing commitment to bring baseball content directly to fans across a variety of platforms, specifically leveraging the SendtoNews syndication platform to reach our fans through their preferred news sites,” states Alexander Pigeon, VP, International, MLBAM.

“There is an enormous wealth of highly sought-after content available to SendtoNews through these two properties,” continued Mr. Bobolo. “This inventory will prove invaluable to our publishing partners for attracting readers and developing readership loyalty.”


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A Good Time to Buy or Sell in Victoria as Steady Market Conditions Continue to Create a Balanced Market

Jul 02, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – The Victoria Real Estate Board today released its monthly report on real estate activity in the Victoria area for June 2014.

680 properties sold in the region in the month of June 2014 compared to 664 in June 2013 – an increase of 2.4% year over year. Compared to last month in May, there were 5% less sales, which follows a common seasonal trend as summer approaches. Compared to 2013, 2014 shows an 8.9% increase in year-to-date sales.

“We continue to see slow and steady growth in our overall sales numbers,” Victoria Real Estate Board President Tim Ayres says. “May and June represent the top two sales months we have seen since spring 2010.”

“Once again we see balanced market conditions in June – as we did in March, April, and May this year,” adds President Ayres. “Market conditions track the ratio of sales to available inventory and indicate supply and demand. A balanced market is advantageous to sellers and buyers – pricing is more stable and predictable and there is less pressure on price either way.”

The MLS® Home Price Index benchmark value for single family homes in the Victoria Core area for June is $556,200, which represents an increase in value of 1.8% over last year. The most common price range for single family homes in the entire region is $400,000 - $600,000. 48% of sales in June were in this range.

Victoria Real Estate Board President Tim Ayres is available for comment. More information on the June 2014 report and the MLS® HPI is available from the Victoria Real Estate Board.

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Victoria-based Beeswax-Wrap Takes Runner-up Prize in 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award Contest

Jun 25, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — BDC today announced that the turning point project Bee Wrapped, submitted by Toni Desrosiers, founder of Abeego Designs, Inc. in Victoria, British Columbia, has won $25,000 in BDC consulting services as the runner-up prize in the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest.

Toni’s reusable, biodegradable and anti-bacterial beeswax-coated fabric food wrap is the practical, environmental alternative to plastic. Her project involves actively pursuing distribution agreements with an environmentally conscious U.S.-based distribution company that will build sales channels by qualifying the best retail partners for the Abeego brand. Toni’s four-step plan includes developing a marketing and promotion strategy, securing a U.S. distributor, and investing in new equipment and manufacturing processes to boost production and quality control. The runner-up prize of $25,000 in consulting services offered by BDC will help move her plan forward.

“We’ve already proven there is a clear market need for Abeego. Now we just need to get our products onto more store shelves south of the border,” says Toni. “BDC’s advice and insight will definitely help our brand achieve our goal of 2,000% revenue growth by 2019.”

“Toni is ready to build on the momentum she has achieved in the Canadian market and firmly plant her flag in the U.S.,” says Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC. “The runner-up prize will be instrumental in positioning her company as a household name that will empower families to forego plastic and start to Abeego It.”

“I can’t say enough about the fantastic public support Abeego has received during the contest,” says Toni. “I’d encourage any young business owner to consider taking part in the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award. Becoming a finalist is a great opportunity to benefit from unparalleled business exposure and reach new customers.”

The contest’s $100,000 Grand Prize winner is the project Cheese Champs, submitted by Shep Ysselstein, owner of Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese in Woodstock, Ontario.

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