Sooke Chamber wants council to resume funding

Sooke Chamber wants council to resume funding

Business registration fees were surrendered in 2016

The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce is making a pitch to district council to get back more than $28,000 it gave up in August 2016 after the chamber said it was ill equipped to be the lead driver of economic development in Sooke.

The chamber chose to withdraw from the community service agreement with the district which had been in place for 3½ years. Funds for the agreement came from business registration fees.

“The district attached economic development for the entirety of Sooke to the funding and the chamber just couldn’t deliver that so it terminated the agreement,” Britt Santowski, chamber president, said in a presentation to council.

“It wouldn’t have been ethical to take the money under those terms.”

RELATED: Business excellence

Santowski said the chamber considered that taking the lead for economic development was “out of scope” for the organization.

But now the chamber would like the money back.

Santowski pointed to some of the projects in which the chamber of commerce had taken a lead role in the 6½ half year, including a business strategies seminar, the candidates conversation (part of the pre-election program of activities), and the #ChooseSooke contest sponsored by the mayor.

RELATED: Chamber hosts seminar

She added the chamber also offers small business owners some insurance benefits, host regular “mixers” for businesses, and have contributed to some tourism-related research initiatives.

But not all of council was convinced.

“What I’m seeing happening is that we need to develop a strategy. There’s been interest in establishing an local economic development officer and the South Island Prosperity Project has become increasingly active,” Coun. Tony St-Pierre said.

“Giving the chamber this money now might be putting the cart before the horse.”

Coun. Al Beddows was equally incredulous.

“What I’d like to see is a budget. What are you going to do (if you get the money) that you don’t do now?” Beddows asked.

“The balance sheet (provided to council by the chamber) doesn’t tell me much. I want to know what you’d be spending the $28,000 on. What are the membership fees, for example?”

Acting Mayor Megan McMath had her own questions, wondering if the money would simply go to pay for a chamber staff position. She was assured that it would not but rather would be used for programming.

The chamber will now return to fine tune its request before the district finalizes its 2020 budget.

“I really came here (to council) to find out what it is you want from me and what you want to know,” Santowski said.

The matter was tabled with the promise from Santowski that she will return to council soon with more information.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

The orange parcel was bought by the CRD for $1.1 million to add to Mount Work Regional Park. (CRD map)
Capital Regional District expands Mount Work land for $1.1 million

Privately-owned 13.8 hectares in the Highlands is ecologcically valuable

North Saanich has received a report from the Urban Development Institute calling on the municipality to expand and densify its housing options in the face of demographic and environmental changes as the municipality continues its Official Community Plan review. (Black Press Media file photo)
North Saanich asked to create more affordable, diverse housing

Urban Development Institute says community faces demographic, environmental challenges

Dog trainer Sharon Labossiere at play with her dogs. AnimalKind, the BC SPCA’s animal welfare accreditation and referral program, has granted accreditation to Sooke's Hanging with Hounds. (Contributed - BC SPCA)
Hanging With Hounds digs its paws into AnimalKind accreditation

Local dog trainer earns special BC SPCA status

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Royal Bay pride crosswalk restored following graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Colwood high school

Protesters seen here rallying against the injunction order on April 1. (Black Press Media file photo)
RCMP enforce injunction at Fairy Creek blockade

Protesters can remain but police will ensure open access for loggers

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

More “strings of lights” were seen on May 15, 2021, in night sky over Vancouver Island. (File photo)
Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Nathan Zuk had left his mother’s residence in Whaletown on Cortes Island in mid-December 2020 in a 14’ skiff rowboat and headed to an unknown location near the Pryce Channel, Deer passage, or Toba Inlet. Photo courtesy RCMP
RCMP need help finding man who set off from Cortes Island in 14-foot rowboat

Nathan Zuk left in December, may have been last seen in Toba Inlet approximately three weeks ago

Emergency service workers at the collision scene along Highway 4 in Hilliers on Sunday, May 16. A motorcyclist was airlifted to hospital by BC Air Ambulance and later died. (Collin C photo)
UPDATE: Motorcyclist dies from injuries sustained in Mid-Island highway collision

BC Highway Patrol says impairment not a contributing factor in crash

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Most Read