Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce Priorities for the Town of Qualicum Beach Council
The Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce congratulates the new Council on their election and looks forward to working with Council and others to support initiatives creating sustainable economic development in our Town.
It is the job of the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce to act as the Voice of Business for the business community of Qualicum Beach and ensure that the interests of small business and our members are reflected. To that end the Board of Directors gathered suggestions from our membership as to what they wanted the new Council to hear that were their priorities.
The OCP encourages economic development initiatives. The Digital Media studio is a good incubator for sustainable economic development and the Chamber will support further initiatives such as this within the context of a progressive economic development strategy. The Chamber would encourage the Town to further invest in the Digital Media studio to attract a skilled entrepreneurial work force as well as younger families to the area.
The Oceanside Initiatives project has identified some ways and means to foster economic development. The Chamber and the Town are partners in this initiative. We welcome the opportunity to further support this initiative but would also suggest the Town work toward facilitating private sector investment in affordable attractive housing for people with young families.
The Towns economy is closely tied to the tourism sector. The downtown core is an attractive destination for tourists, especially during the many volunteer driven and Town supported events. However, if by default, we send many of our visitors out of town to overnight somewhere else, we are failing at leveraging the full potential of the visitor service industry.
The Chamber suggests that the Town develop a forward thinking economic strategy that aligns with the trends in tourism and leverages many of the qualities that make Qualicum Beach an interesting, vibrant place to visit. That strategy should align itself with the OCP and small business interest.
It is understood that retail store and service industry markets will drive themselves but the Town should take some time to consider how policies and practices can assist with business development in our tourist sector.
The Chamber encourages Council to support initiatives that would expand and diversify our economy in ways that are complementary to our retirement tourism economy. Retirement is a growing industry with many opportunities.
The Chamber suggests changes to policies and development costs might encourage development of employment generating downtown supportive housing that would be accessible and affordable. Zoning that allows ground floor commercial/residential flexibility with residents above might be a good first step.
There is a lack of serviced land zoned for light industrial uses with the result that new industries are locating outside our Town. A recent example, among others, is the School District relocation of its bus facilities to Errington rather than adjacent to our Airport. The Chamber encourages Council to adopt policy that would attract new light industrial facilities to choose to locate within our Town.
Urban Containment Boundary
The Chamber requests the Town align its urban containment boundary with its municipal boundary.
It is clear from the responses collected from our membership that one theme was woven throughout. Whether it be a request for improved services such as parking and or better recycling opportunities for small businesses, the membership overwhelmingly support, as one downtown business owner expressed: a vision for the future that understands and encourages the business community. The Chamber therefore respectfully suggests the first priority of our new Council should be:
Core Area Densification and Revitalization
The OCP envisions a diverse, vibrant and walkable core area. The Chamber is concerned that the built infrastructure in parts of our core area are deteriorating and in need of renewal. The Town has several policy based tools that it could use to encourage private investment in new buildings to replace existing structures. We encourage Council to implement policy that encourages core area redevelopment as part of its strategic plan.
The Chamber of Commerce appreciates having the opportunity to clarify its position and that of its members. We offer to work together with the Town to assist in keeping Qualicum Beach an attractive vibrant community into the future.