MLA REPORT: Peninsula businesses power the local economy

Adam Olsen is MLA for Saanich North and the Islands

MLA Adam Olsen. (BC Green Party)

By Adam Olsen

Over the past couple of years, I have been touring businesses on the Saanich Peninsula and Southern Gulf Islands and sharing my experiences on my blog in a series called “Championing Local Business.”

The idea came from the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and their annual Tour of Industry. For about a decade they have been organizing busloads of local business and political leaders and touring them through some of the Peninsula’s incredible businesses.

I was on Central Saanich council when they first started the tour and I believe the initial premise was that decision makers did not have a good enough idea of the quality and quantity of innovators and change-makers who employ thousands of people and power the local economy. At least from my perspective they made a correct assumption.

READ ALSO: MLA Adam Olsen pushes for changes to BC Ferries

Over the years I have made sure to attend the tour to learn about what is behind the many non-descript doors in the Keating and Sidney/North Saanich business areas. Since my election as MLA it has been increasingly difficult to attend a full day tour so I have attended the luncheon keynote address, and had there not been a scheduling mishap I would have been there in January for the latest episode.

The value was so great that I decided to continue the tour in my current role so as to never forget the critical importance of the entrepreneurs who are investing in the local economy and contributing to the fantastic quality of life in our riding. Also, I need to hear firsthand how the provincial government can better service those areas to improve business retention and attract new businesses.

If my memory serves me well, on that very first tour we stopped at a company, perched above the Keating gravel pit, called Quester Tangent. It was the latest stop on my most recent tour.

K.D. Singh opened the doors to me at their new location in Keating on Bertram Place. The rapidly growing company has expanded substantially in the past decade supplying custom-built train electronics, display systems to train builders in the international marketplace.

READ ALSO: Can’t see the forest for the trees

They work with a majority of train building companies in the world like Bombardier Transport, Toshiba, Kawasaki, Hyundai, Alstom and China Rail, who are building state-of-the-art transit systems in major centres across North America. From their headquarters in Central Saanich this hidden gem holds an estimated 30 per cent market share of their train electronics market in North America.

With about 50 engineers, a full complement of administrative staff and a team of employees designing, developing and manufacturing their products on site, in total Quester Tangent employs 86 highly skilled professionals.

They have just made a large investment in state-of-the-art equipment that allows them to build their electronic circuit boards. This allows them to control their intellectual property, save time and lower production cost by as much as 30 per cent.

An important aspect of their business is after-market support and obsolescence management, serving their customers for up to 20 years. On the manufacturing floor are dozens of new monitoring and control units processing through their stringent testing sequences to ensure reliability and quality. There are also malfunctioning units that have been returned for repair, all part of the quality assurance they offer their clients.

While Quester Tangent is a glowing success story on the Saanich Peninsula, they are in a difficult and highly competitive business. They are surrounded by businesses who are also competing locally and globally. This is where local, provincial and federal politicians need to pay close attention.

READ ALSO: Sidney company tastes sweet success with sugar kelp

As with many of the other businesses I have visited, the main challenges for the local business community is housing affordability, access to reliable transportation and the availability of a skilled workforce. These are areas that I remain committed to focus my effort with colleagues in all governments.

I am thankful for the opportunity to visit Quester Tangent again and for their continued investment in our community. I raise my hands to the Chamber of Commerce for continuing their efforts to tell these stories through their annual Tour of Industry, and look forward to the next stop on my monthly tour.

Adam Olsen is MLA for Saanich North and the Islands.

Green PartySmall Business

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Woman arrested for hit and run that left another vehicle in Colwood front lawn

The woman was issued a 24 hour driving prohibition and a ticket

Sooke jumps on board to ban use of rat poison

City staff will educate residents on harmful effects of rodenticides

VicPD looking for 17-year-old girl, believed to be in downtown Victoria

Circumstance under which she has gone missing are considered to be high-risk

New urgent, primary care health centre opens in Saanich come November

North Quadra area facility to provide same-day, ongoing care for folks without family doctors

McKenzie interchange project drives towards completion

Motorists asked to continue following construction zone signage as crews will be on site into the fall

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Man sentenced to 7 years for gas-and-dash death of Alberta gas station owner

Ki Yun Jo was killed after Mitchell Sydlowski sped off in a stolen cube van without paying for $198 of fuel

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

One person dead in two-vehicle accident in North Island

Highway 19A was closed for several hours north of Courtenay following the crash

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read