Looking forward while remembering what we have endured will serve each of us well. The last two years have been extremely challenging for both businesses and residents on the Saanich Peninsula.
Going into the summer of 2021 we assumed the pandemic would ease and we would return to life as normal, but in fact it was only a temporary reprieve on our way to our final destination.
I am extremely proud of the businesses on the Peninsula that have continued to find ways to serve our residents during this crazy time.
Our entrepreneurs and owners have endured rapidly changing orders from the B.C. government and have been expected to shift entire business models with little to no notice. They rose to this challenge even though it has not been easy.
Some sectors were hit harder than others and we even saw a few members flourish during this time, but regardless, the overall sentiment was it was a huge challenge for all Peninsula businesses.
I encourage you to support and show your appreciation for the local businesses that continue to provide you with your needs, despite the challenging position they have been put in, and are still dealing with.
On the verge of the new year, a spike in cases with a new variant and new restrictions are upon us. It is hard to know what 2022 will bring, but I am hopeful and confident in our local businesses. They are more prepared than ever to take on this new normal and are working hard to bring you the services and products you need.
I am sure they are up for the challenge, but I’m also sure that we will feel the repercussions of the last two years as we cycle our way from pandemic to endemic.
We are already seeing a shrinking labour force causing employee shortages for over 50 per cent of our local businesses, and supply chains forcing less availability in our stores and increased prices due to source materials scarcity.
We are seeing a choked housing supply leading to exorbitant housing prices and living costs, which is driving younger workers away from the Peninsula.
While I am not sure exactly what 2022 will bring, my greatest hope is that it brings us together by teaching us to look outside our own needs and work together to meet the needs of everyone on the Peninsula.
If residents, businesses, councils and organizations work together with an unselfish focus on our humanity, we will truly make the Saanich Peninsula the most amazing place on earth!
Al Smith is the executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.