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Spring Sales Continue to Rise in the Victoria Market

Jun 03, 2014

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

714 properties sold in the region in the month of May 2014 compared to 659 in May 2013 – an increase of over 8% year over year. Compared to last month in April, there were 7.5% more sales.

“We are pleased to see sales numbers continue to rise,” Victoria Real Estate Board President Tim Ayres says. “The last time we saw this many sales in a month was in 2010, which was also the last time we saw a busy market. The increase may be attributed to the extended period of low mortgage rates we are seeing, and to the great diversity of properties currently available. We saw 19 single family homes sell for over one million dollars this month, and we saw 29 single family homes sell for under $350,000. The market has something for every home buyer right now.”

In May 2013 the MLS® Home Price Index benchmark price for a single family home in Greater Victoria was $493,600. This year in May the benchmark home value reached $498,500 – a modest 1% increase year over year. The Peninsula benchmark home value saw a 0.7% increase while the Westshore saw a very minor decrease of 0.1%.  Townhouses in Greater Victoria show the most noteworthy change with an increase of 4.2% year over year.

“We’re seeing a modest increase in property values overall in the Victoria area” adds President Ayres, “and the balanced conditions we talked about last month are still in place, which means a steady, predictable market.”

More information on the May 2014 report and the MLS® HPI is available from the Victoria Real Estate Board www.vreb.org

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Victoria Business Puts the Buzz in Food Wrap

May 30, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA —BDC announced today that the turning-point project, “Bee Wrapped,” submitted by local businesswoman Toni Desrosiers, will represent British Columbia in the finals of the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award (BDC YEA).

Toni’s project will see her company, Abeego Designs Inc., expand into the U.S. market to develop a solid, easy recognizable brand for her “beeswax wrap that keeps food fresh”. To claim the $100,000 Grand Prize and actively expand her brand into the U.S. market, Toni needs votes from Canadians coast-to-coast.

Abeego has people buzzing about food wrap. This all-natural product is a quality alternative to conventional plastic food wraps. Whereas plastic wrap has been around since the 60s, cultures around the world have been relying on beeswax, jojoba oil, tree resin, cotton and hemp for thousands of years to store food and preserve its freshness.

“We are inspired by nature, and we believe natural materials are ideal for keeping food fresh,” says Toni. “This is not a second-rate natural version of plastic. Abeego is versatile, flexible, reusable and biodegradable. Unlike plastic, it allows food to breathe, keeping it fresh and preserving natural flavours to create less food waste.”

Abeego is a natural solution to a natural problem. This message has resonated with consumers, particularly middle-class mothers in search of environmentally sustainable alternatives who have been early adopters of the brand. Demand for the product is constantly increasing—Abeego is now responding to three to five wholesale requests a week from independent stores and small retail chains.

Toni has plans to make Abeego part of our pop culture with the phrase “Abeego It” by actively pursuing distribution agreements with larger retail chains across North America. She has a four-part plan to make this expansion happen, including a marketing and promotion strategy and investments in new equipment and manufacturing processes that will see the company quadruple production and reduce product defects.

“Each of this year’s finalists has shared a compelling story about how their business stands at that crucial crossroads where the right mix of vision and action can secure future growth and success,” says Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC. “Toni has proven how an entrepreneurial vision supported by a passion for sustainability can carry a startup a long way. Her business is now ready to take its next big step.”

“I’ve never talked to a single person who’s happy about using plastic food wrap,” says Toni. “Whenever we can get in front of people and demonstrate Abeego, they realize they do have a better choice. Please vote for our project—a vote for Abeego is a vote for a sustainable Canadian invention that uses all natural materials to reduce our reliance on plastic.”

Voting for the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest runs from May 29 to June 12 at noon EST. To support your favourite project, log into the contest website and vote once a day. Follow the contest through updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Visit bdc.ca/awards to learn other ways in which BDC recognizes Canadian entrepreneurs. The BDC Young Entrepreneur Award winner and runner-up will be announced on June 18. The runner-up will receive $25,000 in consulting services offered by BDC.

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Seaterra Program will not proceed with Wastewater Treatment Facility at McLoughlin Point

May 27, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – The Seaterra Program will not be proceeding with the implementation of a wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point, following a decision today by Minister of Environment Mary Polak and Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Coralee Oakes. The treatment plant was to be part of the Seaterra Program, established to bring the region into compliance with the Federal and Provincial regulations for sewage treatment.

“It is regrettable that the province has made this decision,” said CRD Board Chair Alastair Bryson. “The Capital Regional District is now unable to implement the provincially approved Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan and our funding agreements with the federal and provincial governments are contingent on the implementation of this plan.”

The Capital Regional District (CRD) sought direction from Minister Polak and the Provincial Government in April, when the Township of Esquimalt Council rejected the CRD’s revised McLoughlin Point rezoning application.

In May 2011, the CRD adopted the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan, which identified McLoughlin Point as the location of the wastewater treatment plant. Under the direction of the Provincial Government, the CRD established an independent Commission to deliver the major components of the program and took significant steps to advance the program including developing a funding agreement outlining the methodology for the construction of a wastewater treatment facility, payment and terms.

The CRD believes that after extensive and exhaustive studies and analysis it developed a program that would have met the needs of the core area municipalities and residents for several decades to come at the least cost to the taxpayers, while meeting the Provincial and Federal regulations.

“Federal funding requires a satisfactory outcome that meets the regulation,” said Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee Chair Geoff Young. “It is unfortunate that the provincial government would order, agree to fund and then not assist us as they could in carrying out this program.”

The CRD is now faced with the challenge of determining how it can satisfy regional priorities and meet the Federal government deadline of having a wastewater treatment facility in place in the capital region by 2020. It is unclear at this time whether the Provincial government direction will put access to federal funding at risk.

In light of this significant decision, the CRD Board and committee will be meeting on June 4 to discuss next steps and the future of the Seaterra Program.

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Students, Institutions Asked for Input on Private Career Training Legislation

May 27, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Government is inviting written submissions from students, the private career training sector and the public to guide the development of legislation and supporting regulations needed to regulate the sector in British Columbia.

As a result of a core review, government announced its intention on April 17, 2014, to directly regulate the private career training sector. Before that can happen, legislation is required to dissolve the Private Career Training Institution Agency and transfer its functions to the Ministry of Advanced Education.

A two-phased consultation process is underway. The first phase is seeking input from students and sector representatives on legislation that could be introduced as early as this fall. Two days of in-person consultations have taken place in Vancouver with sector representatives. The second phase of the consultation, expected in fall 2014, will focus on the development of regulations with respect to fees, education standards and other process issues.

Written submissions will be accepted until Friday, June 20, 2014. Forms are available at: www.aved.gov.bc.ca/privatecareertraining/pctia-phase-one.htm

Completed forms can be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or mailed to:

Ministry of Advanced Education
Sector Strategy & Quality Assurance - Core Review
PO Box 9157 STN PROV GOVT
Victoria, BC V8W 9H2

The private career training sector is an important and vital part of British Columbia’s post-secondary system. It provides training over a broad range of important skills for British Columbians as well as attracting international students to the province. Given its critical role, it is important that regulation of the private career training sector promotes and upholds high standards for students from Canada and from abroad.

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Public Invited to Experience Waterfront Activities

May 27, 2014

(News Releases) VICTORIA — Locals and visitors to Victoria are invited to get to know their harbour on Saturday May 31, 2014. Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA), Point Hope Maritime and Dockside Green are joining forces to invite the public to GVHA’s annual spring open house showcasing the vibrancy and activity of Victoria’s harbour neighbourhoods.

The family-friendly events include:

  • GVHA Spring Open House: Ship Point, 11 am – 2 pm: Experience Victoria’s inner harbour at GVHA’s 5th annual spring open house. Activities include the opportunity to paddle a First Nations oceangoing canoe, live buskers performances, an artist market, and a kids zone. Over 14 events will be represented at the open house to celebrate all the activity that takes place in the harbour including Swiftsure, the Dragon Boat Festival, and the Lighted Ship Parade.
  • Free Victoria Harbour Ferry Tours from the Belleville Dock to Point Hope Maritime and Dockside Green.
  • Shipyard Tours:  Point Hope Maritime, 10 am – 4 pm:  For the third consecutive year, the public is invited for a behind the scenes tour conducted by shipyard professions to experience this working harbour facility that is British Columbia’s first shipyard built in 1873.  Today’s Point Hope Maritime is a modern industrial shipyard that operates under the most recognized international health and safety standards in the world. Locally owned and operated by the Ralmax Group of Companies, the shipyard is set for expansion over the coming years – a $40-million investment that will double the workforce and ensure well-paying jobs in the community, and a vibrant, responsible industry for the next generation.  Please enter through the north gate and wear appropriate footwear (no heels or open-toed shoes). We kindly request that children be accompanied by an adult.
  • Dockside Green Neighbourhood Design Workshop: 543 Harbour Road, May 31, 10 am – 4 pm, and June 1, 11 am – 4 pm (across from Point Hope Maritime adjacent to the district energy facility.) As Dockside Green moves ahead with plans to complete the award-winning Harbour Road neighbourhood, the development team invites the community to participate in two Neighbourhood Design Workshops on Saturday May 31st and Sunday June 1st. This interactive event is part of a five month series of community meetings, briefings and feedback opportunities designed to re-engage the citizens of Vic West and surrounding communities in an important opportunity to refine and reinvigorate Victoria’s most sustainable development in the context of the emerging needs and wants of the neighbourhood in 2014 and beyond. People interested in participating may simply drop in or participate for the day.  www.docksidegreen.com

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Oversight of Product Stewardship Organizations and Regional Governance Lead Victoria Chamber Policy Wins

May 26, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — The Greater Victoria Chamber celebrated two policy wins at the BC Chamber AGM, held in Richmond, BC this past weekend. The policies address issues that are of significant importance to the business community and were endorsed by over 200 delegates from over 120 chambers as provincial policy.

The Chamber’s Ensuring Affordable Product Stewardship Programs policy addresses the need for regulatory oversight for product stewardship programs in BC. The Chamber’s policy on Regional Governance Models in Urban Areas calls for an independent study of urban and regional governance models to identify best practices and efficiencies to determine the feasibility of implementing those in BC.

“We are proud to get provincial support for our policies on product stewardship organizations and regional governance models,” said Frank Bourree, Chair of The Chamber. “The Chamber is actively involved in the policy process that ensures our local business views are heard and understood at the provincial level. It enables our community to actively shape business advocacy in BC.”

“Our membership has seen first-hand the costs that product stewardship organizations such as Multi Material BC put onto BC businesses. Our policy calls for better oversight of this type of organization to ensure that any costs put onto businesses are fair, clear, and manageable,” said John Winters, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce.

The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, with over 1,500 members, is the voice of business for the Greater Victoria region and has received Accreditation with Distinction from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

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UVic Business Prof Wins National Award for Innovative Teaching

May 23, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — A pioneering teaching professor from UVic’s Gustavson School of Business, Dr. Brent Mainprize, has won the national 2014 Desire2Learn Innovation in Teaching and Learning award for his fresh ideas in curriculum development and delivery.

Mainprize’s creative approach for teaching entrepreneurship has been put into use as web-based software for evaluating business risk, called the Venture Intelligence Quotient, that is used in academia, innovation “hatcheries” and community economic development initiatives in Canada, Italy, Australia, Denmark and China.

“Brent brings a wealth of experience as an educational leader, dedicated scholar and successful entrepreneur,” says Dr. Saul Klein, dean of the business school. “The admiration and respect of his colleagues and students speaks to his accomplishments in promoting learning and successful businesses.”

Mainprize is deeply committed to using his creative skills and teaching talents in Aboriginal communities to design and deliver culturally appropriate entrepreneurship training, such as the Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs program, a partnership with First Nations financial service provider, TRICORP. Mainprize, one of five winners from across Canada, will receive his award from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and Desire2Learn Incorporated at a celebration June 18 in Kingston, Ontario. To view more about the award and its recipients visit http://stlhe.ca/awards/desire2learn-innovation-award/2014-recipients

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Victoria City Council Approves Rezoning of Fisherman’s Wharf

May 23, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Over the last three years, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) has worked with clients, users, local community and the City of Victoria to determine the long term vision for Fisherman’s Wharf. The Fisherman’s Wharf plan preserves the eclectic nature of this unique marine facility. The associated rezoning submission aligns current and future potential uses with the City bylaws. Live-aboards and float homes have been recognized as permitted uses while the marine industrial activities, including commercial fishing vessels, fuel dock and fish offloading, continue to be an integral part of the facility.

With the approval of the rezoning, GVHA can now advance the Fisherman’s Wharf Plan. Next steps include identifying infrastructure needs, defining the commercial mix and going to market for new commercial activities.

The Fisherman’s Wharf plan aligns with the City’s vision for the harbour-wide pathway—the David Foster Way—which envisions a bridge over Heron Cove, joining Fisherman’s Wharf to the path in front of the Coast Harbourside Hotel.

View the Fisherman's Wharf Plan here.

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Alpha Sales Looking to Shake Up Traditional Sales Industry

May 23, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – A new Victoria startup, Alpha Sales, is looking to shake up the traditional sales industry. Alpha Sales will be offering local businesses a way to outsource various sales needs. Sales outsourcing allows companies to attract and maintain a sales force, without incurring the additional costs associated with hiring and managing sales employees.

Two Victoria graduates, Alistair Vigier and Matt Vaillant, have partnered to bring Alpha Sales to the Victoria business community. Alistair Vigier is a former member of the Canadian Forces, where he was medically released as the result of a friendly fire incident. After leaving the Forces Alistair enrolled in University, and is a 2013 Bachelor Arts, Psychology graduate from the University of Victoria.

“I believe there is a void in the current sales industry, and Alpha Sales is looking to fill it,” says Alistair. “We have a great team behind this, I am excited to get things moving.”
Matt Vaillant is a Victoria business graduate, having just completed his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Marketing Communications Management. Matt is very excited about the opportunity, and will manage all aspects of Alpha Sales’ marketing.

Alpha Sales currently represents Fotoprint, LimeSpot (a local tech company), and Royal Victoria Security. If you would like more information on Alpha Sales they can be found at alphasalesforce.com, as well as on Facebook and twitter.

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Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society Acquires Gorge Paddling Club

May 23, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — While the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival brings paddlers together for three days in August, the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society works to bring them together every day of the year and, as a result of a recent acquisition, will now be bringing even more paddlers together throughout the year. The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society, through an innovative financing and sponsorship arrangement, has acquired the Gorge Paddling Club. Now called the Fairway Gorge Paddling Club, it has a renewed emphasis on paddling, including dragon boating, kayaking and outrigger canoeing, and is committed to raising the profile and expanding access to paddling sports on southern Vancouver Island.

GO Rowing and Paddling Association of Canada was looking for a steward to take the Gorge Paddling Club activities to the next level. With an already established commitment to the paddling community, the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society was a natural fit. The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society formed the Fairway Gorge Paddling Club Society, acquired the assets of the club and has taken over the Centre’s management responsibilities. Fairway Market sponsored a portion of the acquisition with the remainder financed through Vancity.

“We approached this opportunity the way a business would. We made a strong business case for the acquisition, we looked at the growth potential for paddle sports and we leveraged strong partnerships in the community,” says Glenys Haskins, General Manager, Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society. “It is an avenue for us to support paddling sports at the grassroots level and build the paddling community on several levels.”
Twenty years ago, Dragon Boating was showcased in the Victoria Inner Harbour as part of the Commonwealth Games. Fairway Market’s contribution of $3,500 to the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society three years later secured the future of the festival which is celebrating its 20th year this August 15, 16 and 17th. By sponsoring the acquisition of the Fairway Gorge Paddling Club, Fairway Market is again a founding sponsor of the next phase of paddling sports in Victoria.

“My dad watched dragon boating in China as a young child and this contribution not only honours his love of the sport but also shares it with people in our local community,” says Doug Yuen, CEO, Fairway Market.

“Building on this generous contribution, we are realizing our vision to bring communities together through dragon boating, Outrigger Canoeing, and Kayaking,” says Mark Mawhinney, Chair, Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society.

The Fairway Gorge Paddling Club supports over 800 paddlers belonging to 20 local teams. Activities at the Club include Dragon Boat, Outrigger Canoe and Kayak classes and events, youth paddling sessions for children as young as six years old, group events and team building experiences. The Club is a home for recreational paddlers as well as serious athletes training for national and international events The Centre also hosts several race events through the year. The Fairway Gorge Paddling Club Society is developing a strategy to grow paddling sports on southern Vancouver Island and will be planning a series of outreach events. Details will be posted at fgpaddle.com.

The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society brings communities together through Dragon Boating through a series of strategic actions and activities. The Society hosts the annual Victoria Dragon Boat Festival which celebrates 20 years of dragon boating in 2014. The Festival attracts more than 80,000 people to the Inner Harbour, more than 500 volunteers and up to 2500 paddlers on 90 teams for three days every August.
The Society, through its partnerships, programs, committed volunteers and Fairway Gorge Paddling Club activities, continues to build and develop the sport of Dragon Boating and Outrigger Canoeing on Vancouver Island. See victoriadragonboat.com and fgpaddle.com for more information.

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B.C. Amends Recycling Regulation to Help Small Producers

May 23, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Coinciding with the new recycling program, which began in most B.C. communities this week, B.C. has updated the Province’s recycling regulation to ensure small producers of packaging and printed paper are exempt.

This means the vast majority of businesses and organizations that put packaging and printed paper into the residential waste stream are exempt from any reporting or recycling costs associated with the program.

An exemption is granted if any one of the following four criteria is met:

  • Under one million dollars in annual revenues.
  • Under one tonne of packaging and printed paper supplied to B.C. residents.
  • Operate as a single point of retail sale and are not supplied by or operated as part of franchise, a chain or under a banner.
  • Is a registered charity.

As well, where a typical franchise has locations in B.C., the reporting and financial responsibilities for recycling paper and packaging, which end up in residential blue boxes, lie with the parent corporation, not with the individual franchise owners.

Less than 3,000 businesses in B.C. are affected by this program. This is less than 1% of the total number of business in the province.

The Province also has successfully urged Multi-Material British Columbia (MMBC), the industry-led stewardship organization responsible for the new recycling program, to give small- to medium-sized businesses the option of an annual flat fee if the business is a low-volume producer of packaging and printed paper. Businesses producing between one and five tonnes can pay a pre-determined recycling fee, saving the administrative burden of detailed reporting.

These initiatives respond to requests from B.C.’s businesses for creative solutions to meet the intent of the regulation, while avoiding inadvertent costs or administration.

For more information visit B.C.’s product stewardship site for packaging and printed paper: http://ow.ly/x9ufs

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Nanaimo and Tofino Now Closer Than Ever to Seattle

May 21, 2014

(News Release) NANAIMO – Kenmore Air, a Seattle-based seaplane and wheel-plane airline today announced a special ½ off companion ticket on round-trip flights from Seattle to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island in British Columbia:

Buy 1 round-trip ticket from Boeing Field to Nanaimo Airport (gateway to Tofino) and get a companion round-trip ticket for 1/2 OFF*! Book your trip for two by Friday, June 6 for travel through September 30, 2014. Just enter the promo code VAN ISLAND when making your reservation to save!

“Nanaimo Airport’s central location on Vancouver Island makes it an ideal gateway to explore Nanaimo and Vancouver Island, including Tofino on the rugged west coast”, says Todd Banks, CEO of Kenmore Air.

About a one-hour flight north from Seattle, Nanaimo is Vancouver Island’s 2nd largest city, which offers a lively and unique urban experience that includes hiking, boating, kayaking, biking, world-class scuba diving and snorkeling off the bustling waterfront.

Tofino and neighboring Ucuelet are a 2.5-hour drive west from Nanaimo on a road that winds you through the spectacular Cathedral Grove, historic Port Alberni and by the Old Country Market where goats feed on the grass-covered roof.

On the west coat where the road ends and the Pacific Ocean begins you’ll find waves big enough to surf on, old growth forests, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Pacific Rim National Park and magnificent properties like the Wickaninnish Inn and The Long Beach Lodge Resort.

Kenmore Air offers two non-stop flights a day from Seattle’s Boeing Field to Nanaimo Airport, gateway to Tofino on the west coast. Book online at KenmoreAir.com or call 866.435.9524.

Kenmore Air also offers exclusive lodging and car rental specials in Tofino and Nanaimo for their customers. Additional information at KenmoreAir.com/Seattle-to-Tofino

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2014 Commuter Challenge Confirms 2011 Canadian National Household Survey Results

May 21, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – The 2014 Commuter Challenge rocked the streets once again this morning in Greater Victoria! Twenty- three cyclist/driver duos took to the road seeing who could get downtown to the finish line following all of the rules of the road and parking legally.

Of the 23 teams, 17 cyclists outclassed their motorist by 1 - 10 minutes, with an average commute time of 15 minutes. Teams came from all parts of the community including: Uptown Mall, Saanich, Colwood, View Royal, Cadboro Bay and Oak Bay to the Starbucks downtown on Fort and Blanshard St.

For the most part, cyclists traveling from further reaches of the community still beat their car-counterparts! These results confirm the 2011 Canadian National Household Survey findings:  commuters who walked or bicycled spent the least time travelling to work (on average, 12.7 minutes for walkers and 20.0 minutes for cyclists).

Today’s message is clear - cycling is a viable, efficient way of commuting to work, offering great health benefits, loads of cost savings and most of all, it’s FUN!

 

The 2014 20th Annual Greater Victoria Bike to Work Week is officially underway Monday May 26, 2014. As of today, 555 teams are participating. Register your workplace team on-line at www.biketowork.ca/victoria.

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