An aerial view of downtown Sidney. (Black Press Media file photo)

An aerial view of downtown Sidney. (Black Press Media file photo)

CHAMBER CHAT: Businesses the lifeblood for vibrant Saanich Peninsula community

CHAMBER CHAT: Businesses the lifeblood for vibrant Saanich Peninsula community

By Al Smith

Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce

The Saanich Peninsula remains one of the most beautiful locations to live and work on the Island and I am sure that you are as proud as we are to be fortunate enough to live here. We all love to go for walks, drives, or bike rides with stops at our favorite shops, parks, and attractions along the way.

With vaccinations rates rising, the border about to open to fully vaccinated travellers, and the end of the world-altering pandemic potentially in sight, it will be interesting to see how the landscape of our Peninsula will change. As we move through an economic recovery period, the biggest challenges that face businesses in our community will be finding staff, local housing for that staff, and the affordability of running or starting a business here. Everything we can do to build a community that is attractive and affordable for staff to live and work in will have a direct benefit to our quality of life here on the Peninsula.

Residents of the community may not be aware of how important these businesses are to our quality of life. They help keep our property taxes lower, give us access to things we need like medical, food, and professional services while also giving us the little gems of restaurants, shops, and events that make our peninsula an amazing place to live.

We are extremely proud of the hard work that our community business owners have put into staying open and battling through the challenges that have arisen over the last 16 months. A big part of the charm and desirability of the Peninsula is because of the unique businesses and the culture that they have created. Those local businesses are now tasked with helping to build the economic stability that we need for the future here on the Peninsula to continue to enjoy and maintain this magical unique place.

We want to congratulate all the nominees and winners of this year’s Readers Choice Awards. You have overcome a challenging time and built an amazing business that contributes positively to its community.

We would also encourage the residents of the Peninsula to support these businesses by shopping local and keeping that money here to help build the future. When you spend your money at a local business, 72 per cent of that money goes back into supporting local people, charities, parks, and community projects. So let’s celebrate these cultural builders and together we can maintain and create an amazing, thriving, healthy community.

Al Smith is the executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

Saanich Peninsula