The Cottages on Willow in Chemainus is one of 45 finalists from Vancouver Island in the 14th annual Commercial Building Awards, which are hosted by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. (File photo)

The Cottages on Willow in Chemainus is one of 45 finalists from Vancouver Island in the 14th annual Commercial Building Awards, which are hosted by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. (File photo)

Five finalists from Cowichan Valley in building awards

Business notes

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a near record 45 buildings, including a number in the Cowichan Valley, have been named finalists for Vancouver Island’s 14th annual Commercial Building Awards, which will be announced May 7.

For the second straight year, the event, hosted by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, will be virtual through a Zoom presentation.

Commercial, industrial and revenue-producing projects, including renovations, from the Malahat to Port Hardy are up for these awards, and must have been completed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.

The finalists from the Cowichan Valley include The Cottages on Willow and the new Vancouver Island Regional Library branch in Chemainus, BC Transit’s new building just south of Duncan, The Aria in Duncan, and the Ladysmith Thrift Store.

“We are very pleasantly surprised and absolutely thrilled by the number of nominations and finalists this year,” said Mark MacDonald of the Business Examiner, which coordinates the event.

“We knew construction continued at a very strong pace last year, but didn’t think we’d get more than the 43 we had the previous year.”

For information, contact Sue Lessard of VIREB at 250-390-4212 or visit


The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Black Tie Awards, presented in partnership with Island Savings, in a virtual format on May 4.

The ceremony will be hosted from the Chemainus Theatre and will be available to the public for online viewing on the chamber’s YouTube channel at 7 p.m.

The chamber postponed the 2020 Black Tie Awards last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three Finalists have been selected from each of the nine award categories, which include: Customer Service; Volunteer of the Year; Non-Profit Organization; Art In Business; Green Business; Young Entrepreneur, and; Business Achievement Categories for 1-5 Employees, 6-19 Employees and 20+ Employees.

The 27 finalists in the nine categories were listed in a centre spread in the April 22 edition of the Cowichan Valley Citizen.

“As many may recall, 2020 was a record year for nominations, but even more exciting is the cross-section of individuals and sectors that have been recognized throughout the Cowichan Valley,” said chamber president Julie Scurr. “This diversity is represented in our 27 finalists who are from communities across our region, including Cobble Hill, Mill Bay, Lake Cowichan, Chemainus, Ladysmith and, of course, Duncan. Each of our finalists represent excellence in business and volunteerism, and have also demonstrated tremendous resiliency, a word all of us have become very familiar with this past year.”

For more information visit or call 250-748-1111.


The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada has awarded the City of Duncan the Canadian Award for Financial Reporting.

The award was presented to the City of Duncan for its 2019 Annual Financial Report.

This is the ninth consecutive award presented to the City of Duncan for surpassing the requirements for generally accepted accounting principles and clearly communicating the city’s finances in the annual report.

The Canadian Award for Financial Reporting Program was established to encourage municipal governments throughout Canada to publish high-quality financial reports and to provide peer recognition and technical guidance for officials preparing these reports.

“I am pleased to congratulate staff on producing award-winning reports year after year,” said Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples.

“I would like to recognize the dedication and excellence of the whole finance team for their continued excellence.”


Island Savings is helping to bring $1 million of community support to B.C. communities in 2021 as part of an effort to celebrate and encourage local economic and individual resilience.

The Simple Generosity program will grant money to recipients in four key areas of family, community, education and business, with a separate focus on each from May 25 to Nov. 29, staring with families from May 25 to July 31.

Applications for the family category remain open until May 17 and people who would like to participate can do so by commenting on the Simple Generosity posts on Island Savings’ Facebook and Instagram accounts.

To enter, commenters will be asked to tell Island Savings about the good things that their family does to thrive together.

Comments that are selected throughout the campaign as “inspiring ideas” by a review panel will receive a surprise for their family, valued at up to $2,500.

Plus, their idea will inspire more donations to community organizations.

“Throughout our organization’s history, we’ve been able to find unique ways to support our communities and the people who call them home, just as we do,” says spokeswoman Angela Brown.

“On the heels of one of the most challenging years in recent memory, we feel this program is an evolution of this support and another way that we can continue to use our financial cooperative’s organizational strength as a catalyst to help our communities thrive.”

For more information, visit


Dozens of volunteers and key partners are being recognized for their hard work recently to help address illegal dumping on Mosaic forest land.

Volunteer cleanup efforts have been taking place in communities throughout Vancouver Island in connection with Earth Day and the Great Global Cleanup, one of the world’s largest cleanup initiatives.

Mosaic private forest lands on Vancouver Island are popular destinations for recreationalists.

While the majority of visitors appreciate the access opportunities, the increase in illegal dumping in some areas is a significant, and costly, problem.

“We’re very thankful for the efforts of these hardworking volunteers to help address the problem of illegal dumping on Mosaic forest lands,” said Mosaic’s director of sustainability Molly Hudson.


Paper Excellence, which owns the Crofton pulp mill, has announced the creation of a new scholarship for Métis students who live in the communities where it operates.

The $1,000 scholarship is available to Métis high school graduates who are living in the company’s operating communities in B.C. and Saskatchewan and are entering their first year at a public university, community college or institute of technology.

“Paper Excellence understands the importance of being good neighbours and greatly values its relationships with Indigenous communities,” said Paper Excellence spokesman Graham Kissack.

“In addition to this, investing in education continues to be a key focus for us. So, this scholarship makes sense on a lot of levels.”

Applications for the Paper Excellence’s Métis Scholarship are available on its website at

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