We are delighted to contribute to this issue of the Cowichan Valley Citizen. The timing is great as May is Membership Month at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce. This month is jam-packed with events and special promotions, all focused on welcoming new members and celebrating existing ones.
We look forward to our May Luncheon on the 16th with presenter Ian Baillie, VP of Corporate Communications for Harvest One, the parent company for Cowichan’s United Greeneries operation. Ian will be presenting plans for the company and will speak to their commitment to the local economy and how legalization of marijuana will impact horticultural facilities. Non Members welcome, contact the Chamber to register.
The Chamber’s mandate is to strengthen local business through networking events, professional development activities, mentorship and other unique programming focused on empowering our member businesses to succeed.
We are also very active advocating for Cowichan businesses. The Chamber is often the only organization where businesses can have a voice with provincial, federal and municipal policies that impact their business.
This is certainly the case with various taxes proposed in the recent provincial budget. In particular, we are hearing significant concerns from Cowichan businesses regarding the financial impact and unintended consequences of the proposed Employer Health Tax.
Chamber President Julie Scurr recently met with MLA Sonia Furstenau to relay concerns of this health tax, as well as an issue which could have significant impact on destination marketing dollars in the Cowichan region. The Provincial Government announced its intention to amend the Provincial Sales Tax Act so that municipalities, regional districts and eligible entities such as tourism-focused non-profits that receive revenues from the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) will be allowed to use revenues to fund affordable housing initiatives. This change has the potential to greatly impact the continued success and future growth of the tourism sector. While our Chamber actively supports and advocates for affordable housing, we feel it should not come at the expense of promoting tourism and hospitality across our region and on the Island.
The four Cowichan Chambers of Commerce are taking action on the proposed changes to MRDT by writing a letter to Finance Minister Carol James. Due to the importance of the tourism sector to our economy, our Chamber will also be supporting this policy at the upcoming BC Chamber of Commerce AGM.
The BC Chamber AGM is the largest annual business policy-building forum in the province and an excellent opportunity to have our region’s voice heard at the provincial level. Three delegates from the Duncan Cowichan Chamber will attend the AGM in Kamloops later this month.
For more information about Cowichan’s most active business networking organization, contact Sonja Nagel, Executive Director, Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce at 250-748-1111 or visit the website at www. duncancc.bc.ca
Duncan Cowichan Chamber recently welcomed a diverse group of businesses to the network: Ampersand Distilling Company, Island Equipment Rentals, Helmsman Cruise and Learn, World Financial Group, Forty Oaks Tree Service, Country Chic Paint, Jeff Quinton – Royal LePage, Juniper Community Solutions, Sober Coach and Interventionist Michael Walsh, Cobble Hill Farmers Market Society, Ironworks Café and Creperie, Inspired Woman and Smart HR.