John Wilson

Economic plan jumping ahead

Application process underway for SVIEDA following support from district

The region’s new economic development group made a huge step forward on Friday, laying the constitutional groundwork.

Friday’s South Vancouver Island Economic Development Association meeting drew unanimous votes for every motion said Dan Dagg, a lead on the SVIEDA plan.

“Friday was a pretty critical meeting in which we needed agreement on the constitution and bylaws which can hang an organization up, we had unanimous approval on the critical pieces,” Dagg said. “The public and private sector is working together to make this happen, it’s been great progress in a short period of time.”

SVIEDA is currently in the process of accepting applications for the nine-person board of directors, which will be strictly reserved for members of the business community. The board is scheduled to launch April 1. SVIEDA will employ five full time staff to deliver its projects.

To date, 26 private partners are on board on as well as 12 of the 13 municipalities in the region (only Metchosin has abstained).

Wilson’s Transportation is one of those initial 26 companies. On Monday Dagg accepted cheques from CEO John Wilson of Wilson’s Transportation and Coun. Fred Haynes on behalf of Saanich.

“Our growth is related to the economic growth of Greater Victoria and we want to be part of that, breaking the boundaries of the municipalities to create a strong economic format for the whole community,” Wilson said.

Saanich has joined SVIEDA’s Founding Partners Council to support the collaboration with $847,000 in support for core funding over the next five years. The target for annual core funding is $675,953 from the region’s 13 municipalities [there is hope Metchosin will join yet].

The target is $9 million over the next five years.

Saanich anchors the northern end of the Douglas Street Corridor, which hosts some 32 per cent of the regions economic activity within the 80-meter strip running on either side of Douglas Street from Uptown to Fort Street, Haynes said.

“The amalgamated economy features daily return trips of 29,500 residents traveling out of Saanich and back home. This represents some 50 per cent of Saanich’s working population of 60,000.”

There are about 4,500 companies in Saanich, of which many are international and national leaders in their sectors, Haynes added.

“From the municipality’s side, this is a call to action for the business community to get involved.”

The SVIEDA plan will focus on eight initial sectors: agriculture, agribusiness and aquaculture; clean technology; ocean technology and marine space; aviation and aerospace; advanced education; advanced manufacturing; sport and culture and construction.

reporter@saanichnews.com