COVID-19 has impacted each of us as individuals; from our personal lives to the global economy. As we work to navigate the realities of what it means to live and work in this next phase of “life with COVID-19” until a viable solution is available, families, businesses and industries are constantly looking to pivot and adjust in this ever-changing environment.
One of those concerns has been that of food security, knowing that the supply chain of the basic staples of everyday life are available for us. In Delta, we are fortunate to have such a rich farming tradition; with over fifty percent of all British Columbia’s green beans and potatoes grown right here! From local blueberries, bell peppers and tomatoes to locally, ethically raised dairy and beef from family farms, Delta is a suburban community setting an example for the province of a whole community ecosystem. Over the past number of months our member businesses have reported a significant increase in consumer interest and participation in personal home vegetable gardening; growing their own fruits and vegetables or intentionally buying more often from farm markets.
To continue to promote the establishment and development of the agriculture technology (agritech) sector, the Delta Chamber of Commerce has been hard at work advocating for support from business organizations across the province. In May, the Delta Chamber put forward a policy resolution to the BC Chamber of Commerce Virtual AGM, which includes recommendations on how the provincial government can ensure food security and a reliable local supply chain and consumer base for food and beverages in B.C.. This resolution was adopted at the B.C. Chamber of Commerce virtual AGM. This resolution was adopted, and as a result is now part of the province-wide network’s advocacy agenda with government.
By promoting agritech, we are encouraging innovation to bridge the gap between our rich farming history and the next generations’ involvement in continuing the growth of the industry. We are encouraged that there is bipartisan agreement to recognize the importance of supporting our farmers through innovation, education, and policy development which will sustain and enhance our agricultural lands and maintain our efforts to mitigate climate change.
As new generations of farmers grow up in our community, the Delta Chamber is excited about education programs that instill the value of locally grown and sustainable food in students.
Click here to read the editorial and more in the Delta Optimist.
The Delta Chamber of Commerce has gained support from business organizations across the province in its work to promote the establishment and development of British Columbia as a global leader in the agriculture technology (agritech) sector.
Over this past weekend, a Delta Chamber policy resolution entitled INVESTING IN BC’S GROWING AGRITECH SECTOR was adopted at the B.C. Chamber of Commerce virtual AGM. As a result, the resolution will now become part of the provincial chamber’s advocacy agenda with the provincial government.
The resolution includes recommendations on how the provincial government can ensure food security and a reliable local supply chain and consumer base for food and beverages in B.C. through specific action steps; consistent with the recommendations outlined in The Future of B.C.’s Food Systems report.
“By harnessing the innovative thinking and technological advancements we see in our private sector and by working in partnership with the best minds in agriculture, Delta will be on the forefront in ensuring a strong and vibrant economy,” said Yvonne Anderson, Chair of the Board of the Delta Chamber.
“Delta is already playing a key role in developing the agri-tech that will allow our province to be an agricultural world leader,” said Ravi Kahlon, MLA, Delta North in a March 6th, 2020 column on agritech in the North Delta Reporter. “Helping farmers, addressing climate change and increasing food production are top priorities for our government, and Delta can continue to build on the momentum we have created to drive the success of the agriculture sector in our province.”
The Delta Chamber of Commerce is encouraged that there is bipartisan support for the need to recognize the importance of supporting our farmers through innovation, education, policy development which will sustain and enhance our agricultural lands and maintain our efforts to mitigate climate change.
“Now is the time to consider bold ideas rooted in new technological developments,” explained Delta-South MLA and local farmer, Ian Paton, in an April 23rd, 2020 column in the Delta Optimist. “Recently, B.C.’s new Food Security Taskforce recommended a certain amount of ALR land be set aside specifically for agricultural-industrial use. This will be critical if B.C. is to bolster our packing and processing industries, as well as to provide local cold-storage facilities to help keep produce fresh, retain its value, and increase its shelf life.”
“We thank our fellow B.C. Chambers for their support in this policy resolution and were encouraged to have full endorsement of it by our network. This level of support shows us that the matter of food security and the key role of developing agritech solutions is not only key for communities like ours here in Delta, but for many others across B.C.” said Garry Shearer, Executive Director of the Delta Chamber of Commerce. “We’re calling on the provincial government to support the innovation pathway of the growing agritech sector through taking action on these recommendations.”
The BC Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most broadly-based business organization in British Columbia. Representing more than 125 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade, and 36,000 businesses of every size, sector and region of the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce is The Voice of Business in B.C.
Categories: Policy, BC Chamber of Commerce
We understand that the uncertainty of these times can be overwhelming. We want you to know that your Delta Chamber of Commerce remains here as a resource to your business and the community of Delta.
The Delta Chamber of Commerce will be cancelling all events requiring the physical attendance of our members and the public for the next 30 days. We care about the health and safety of all those in our network, and we plan to assess next steps for future events at the end of the 30 days.
With the suspension of Parliament until April 20, we will be cancelling the Chamber Budget Luncheon on April 7 with the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, PC, MP. Due to recent restrictions on large gatherings, our Annual General Meeting on April 30 will also be cancelled. If you have registered for either of these events your registration fee will be refunded.
On February 24th, 2020 the Province announced proposed interim property tax relief legislation with the intent to empower “local governments to provide immediate relief to the small businesses and organizations most affected by skyrocketing property taxes in their communities.”
In a recent interview with Stephen Quinn on the CBC Radio British Columbia’s Early Edition, Delta Mayor George V. Harvie suggested that the one potential future land use for the Vancouver Landfill, which will reach its maximum capacity within the next ten years, would be “for a major transit hub.”
STATEMENT | Delta Chamber Pleased Delta is Ready To Welcome Ride-Hailing Services & Looks Forward to Service Expansion
On Thursday, January 23, 2020, the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) approved the Uber and Lyft applications to operate in the Lower Mainland and Whistler. While this approval covers operations across the Lower Mainland and in Whistler it will not immediately cover this entire area.
Lyft’s initial service area includes the Vancouver International Airport, the Pacific National Exhibition and the City of Vancouver core. Uber’s initial offering includes a core area surrounding Vancouver – including North Delta and Ladner, but excluding Tsawwassen, Tsawwassen First Nation, and the BC Ferries Tsawwassen terminal. Uber riders are currently able to be dropped off in these locations, however the app will not allow for pick-ups.
The City of Delta has an existing business licensing process in place for ride-hailing companies, like Lyft and Uber, with a base annual business license fee of $110 plus $25 per car; with a cap per company of $1,500, which is consistent with the business license fees paid by taxis that operate in Delta. In December 2019 Delta’s Mayor, George Harvie, explained in a press release on the topic that the City has “established a simple and reasonable business licensing system for ride-hailing to ensure that we are treating ride-hailing companies and taxis fairly while allowing our residents to access improved transportation services. We look forward to ride-hailing companies operating in Delta as soon as the Province allows them to.”
STATEMENT | Delta Chamber Looks Forward to More Details on Upcoming Provincial Legislation for Interim Business Property Tax Relief
On January 17th the provincial government announced that it plans to introduce interim legislation during the 2020 Spring Session which would give municipalities the ability to exempt a portion of the value of a select number of commercial properties from the full effects of property taxation; easing the tax burden for their tenants responsible for property taxes through their commercial leases.
The current practice of assessing properties on their highest and best use for potential future redevelopment as designated in a municipality’s official community plan, versus their current use, and of assessing total potential future property at a business rate can create a challenging situation for independent property owners who do not have the available capital to re-develop their property to its highest and best use now; nor to wait out the often multi-year municipal development approval process.
2019 was a growth year for your Chamber and I am grateful for the opportunities over this past year to meet many of you and learn about your businesses and how they contribute to the well-being of our community. I appreciate your trust and commitment to work with your Delta Chamber and help us grow a stronger business network and create positive changes for Delta.
news release | Delta businesses identify commute as top challenge to recruiting and retaining qualified workers in province-wide survey
According to a recent province-wide survey of 1,555 business leaders, conducted by the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the issue of commuting (defined as: “the ease by which workers can commute to your business”) was identified as a “big” or “very big” challenge in recruiting and retaining qualified employees for 71 percent of Delta businesses polled.
Additionally, “finding enough workers with the specific skill set you need” came in as a major concern for 49 percent of Delta businesses and “housing affordability” as a major concern for 60 percent of Delta respondents.
On behalf of the membership of the Delta Chamber of Commerce, Board Chair Yvonne Anderson congratulated & thanked Delta Mayor George Harvie for his leadership on brokering an agreement with the regional mayors to replace the George Massey Tunnel.
She went on to say that "while the process and the ultimate solution has been an issue and the subject of many debates, the Delta Chamber and our members have been more concerned about the lack of certainty and timeline for this project to be completed. With your actions and leadership to get the regional Mayor’s decision back to the province, we have the certainty that it is now the provincial government’s responsibility to take action and deliver a solution to replace this critical piece of infrastructure for Delta and all British Columbians."
Click here to read the full letter.
Category: Advocacy, Chair of the Board, Local & Regional Government, Member News, Transportation