Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce cancels service agreement with district one year early

Chamber serves notice to the district its cancelling the contract which undertook economic development.

The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce is ending a $140,750 community service agreement with the District of Sooke one year early.

On Friday, the chamber served notice to the district it was cancelling the contract which undertook economic development for the municipality, citing lack of financial resources and volunteers.

Each year the chamber receives $28,150 from the municipality, roughly half of its annual budget, to promote economic opportunities in Sooke.

“While the community service agreement was an adequate solution to address Sooke’s economic development requirements in a depressed economy, the chamber board of directors believe it is time for the assistance of a dedicated professional or group that has the knowledge and expertise to justly guide and shape the development of our beloved town,” said the chamber in a statement signed by president Kerry Cavers.

“Sooke is at a critical point in its growth and in order to successfully advance in a manner consistent with its small town charge and character the chamber is proactively removing itself from this relationship with the district.”

Over the last 3½ years, the chamber has implemented many economic development initiatives including the Town Centre Design Guidelines, Newcomers Club, Resident Relocation Package and an Economic Development Symposium, Cavers said.

In its realignment of priorities , the chamber will also cancel its involvement with the Sooke Salmon Festival and Sooke Santa Parade and put in abeyance its own events: the chamber golf tournament and Sooke Sunday Car Lot.

Cavers said the chamber will now refocus, putting more resources towards growing the chamber and servicing its members.

“We need to hear what our members need,” she said.

“We have some work to do with some businesses and that’s part of the reason we wanted to refocus as well.”

The chamber is urging the district to use the remaining money from the contract to become a member of the South Island Prosperity Project and to retain the services of an economic development officer.

Earlier this year, the district was one of only three Greater Victoria municipalities, who decided not to join the SIPP, a regional economic development group.

Mayor Maja Tait would like to open up discussions again about SIPP membership and admits the district has to take a more focused look at economic development.

“I think council needs to define what economic development looks like for Sooke,” Tait said.

“We do want to look at attracting appropriate development to our town. We’re hitting a point where it needs to be focused.”

Tait said the cancellation of the contract is timely for both the district and chamber.

The chamber is heading into its fall elections and the district is reviewing its strategic plan and beginning budget talks soon.

When asked if Sooke needs a full-time economic development officer, Tait acknowledged the district is at a point where it needs more expertise, but she wants to wait until after she sees a Royal Roads University study on Sooke’s economic development and new Census numbers, both due next year.

The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce has 172 members.

 

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

A sketch of the multi-use path that will connect Lagoon Beach and Royal Beach in Colwood. (Sketch courtesy of the City of Colwood)
Concepts for Colwood beach connector coming to council June 21

Major infrastructure project includes gathering places, public amenities and pathways

The District of Sooke is looking to revamp its business licence bylaw. Council agreed recently that all businesses must hold a business licence to operate in the community. (Kevin Laird – Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke pushes ahead with new business licence bylaw

Proposal calls for all forms of business to require licensing, but bylaw can stil be tweaked

Victoria police are asking for witnesses who might have information about this tricycle that was stolen in downtown Victoria on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek witnesses after downtown Victoria company’s tricycle stolen

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on Thursday

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

OPINION SIG
SOOKE HISTORY: A brief history of Bear Creek Camp

Malahat Logging Company began both Beach Camp and Bear Creek Camp

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read