In West Shore community-style, the WestShore Chamber has a lot going on and is moving ahead quickly. We receive a lot of calls and inquiries from people asking about some of our community-based partnership projects – what stages they are in as well as their completion dates. Although there is a lot of detail that goes into each of these, I’m going to do my best to summarize three of the current projects to give you a better picture of how we’re not only concerned about business needs, but about the entire community’s needs as well. They are all designed to identify community trends that affect the quality of our lives along with our business successes on the West Shore.
Our newest community project takes on something rural; a look at helping to create a Sustainable Farming Economy in Metchosin. This great partnership with both the Mayor of Metchosin, John Ranns and local farmers through the Metchosin’s Agricultural committee will look at ways in which we can keep local small farms alive, affordable and profitable.
The research that comes out of this study will benefit the entire community from family-owned farms, to farmers markets, to our dinner tables. It’s about focusing on local sustainability. We now have two Royal Roads University masters students to work on this project with us. It is expected to go into the fall of 2013 and hopes to identify ways and means in which both farm succession planning and the creation of new agricultural amenities such as mills and abattoirs could be accomplished.
For the past few months we’ve also been working with another master’s student, Debbie Nussbaum from RRU to take a close look at commercial real estate on the West Shore. The result of this study will give us detailed information about businesses, landlords and tenants, land ownership and trends in development especially in our urban centres. With more than 20 key stakeholder interviews, we’re expecting to be able to make sure best practices are in place for future growth in our community.
The passenger ferry study is one of our largest community partnerships to date. Working with both Black Ball Ferry Line and RRU’s Faculty of Management, master’s student Jonathan Calderwood, it takes a look at the feasibility of having a passenger ferry between Royal Bay and downtown Victoria. Not only could this attract shoppers to the West Shore, it could also lighten the amount of traffic in the “Colwood crawl”. Like the commercial real estate study, the partnership will wrap up this month. For more information and to complete a survey, visit www.westshoreferry.ca. Both this study and the commercial real estate study are expected to conclude with findings and recommendations presented to the Chamber board.
We wouldn’t be able to undertake these projects if it weren’t for the people and organizations on the West Shore. Community partnerships thrive because those of us who work and or live on the West Shore love our community and work hard to see it grow and evolve in healthy successful ways.
Dan Spinner is the CEO of the
West Shore Chamber of Commerce