July 31, 2013 Sooke News Mirror Chamber Chatter
A recent business survey done by the Mayor’s Advisory Panel on Economic Development had 60 Sooke businesses respond with a large majority indicating they were doing as well, if not better, in the past four years than they did in the years previous. There was also a very high level of optimism expressed that they will see further revenue growth in the next few years.
This promising outlook is supported by the number of new businesses recently opened (True Clothing, London Fish & Chips, You Had Me at Woof, The Geek Store, Kelz’s Bake Shop, The Candy Pit, Picker’s, etc.) which certainly leaves the impression that things are moving in a positive direction regarding business growth in Sooke.
There is also quite a bit of new development and infrastructure support going on in town (two separate car washes, HeronView Phase 2, Sooke Point at Silver Spray, Woodland Creek, Two Yews Development, Harbourside Co-housing Project, etc.), as well as recent announcements by the mayor regarding road dedications for the connector between Church and Otter Point Roads, and two others south of Sooke Road for the future town centre road network.
Sooke is poised for exponential growth in the coming years, and the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce is positioning itself to be the main leader and advocate for future economic development in the area.
As presented at the July 22 regular council meeting, the chamber has a very comprehensive work plan laid out for the balance of 2013 that will sync its direction with the evolving needs of our business community. The District of Sooke and the chamber acknowledged each other as partners and will enter 2014 with a mutually beneficial four-year strategic plan to take Sooke along its future steps for economic development.
A number of interesting new portfolios were presented by the chamber at the council meeting, including the proposed relocation of the chamber office to a more visible and accessible location, the recruitment of a qualified administrative staff person, development of a newcomers club, the creation of a large employers committee, facilitating a management plan for conventions, conferences and festivals, and the idea of basing the chambers core funding on something other than community grants.
Mayor and council unanimously supported the chamber in its changes and new direction, and provided glowing feedback in endorsement of its vision for economic development in Sooke on a go-forward basis.
The archived video stream of the chambers presentation to Regular Council on July 22 can be viewed online at http://www.sooke.ca/EN/topnav/online/council_video.html and lasts 35 minutes.