Employers report that new workers entering the workforce often do not have the skills required to fulfill the terms of their employment. In addition, much of the existing workforce requires retraining to update their skills so companies can continue to compete in the changing economy. Educational institutions and local employers would benefit from a closer working relationship. We are pleased to participate in organizing is the EduTech trade show, scheduled for the fall, which will do exactly that – provide a direct link between Peninsula employers, educators and students. Research proves that the higher educated a population is, the more attractive a community will be to potential new businesses. We have tremendous educational assets in our region and we would do well to highlight them in our promotion and marketing of the area.

It is also important we examine the extent to which current legislation at the federal and provincial levels impacts how easily business can be conducted in this area. We could look at improving access to capital funding, creating tax structures that are fair and competitive and building transportation systems that move people easily. At the local level, municipalities can support growth by means of flexible zoning bylaws and approval processes that are streamlined, less complicated and swift. Regional development goals could be further supported if zoning and approvals processes across the municipalities on the Saanich Peninsula were more closely aligned. Government at all levels, as well as organizations such as ours, play a central role in fostering an environment of entrepreneurialism that creates the solid footing for economic stability.

Businesses consider the assets of a region when making important investment decisions. When you consider your own movement throughout the area, it becomes clear that none of us live, work, shop, socialize, and play in one municipality. If we, as community institutions, don’t recognize the benefit of working and acting as a region, there is a risk we are not considering the same issues that people or businesses do when making location decisions and we might therefore not present compelling evidence for them to choose this place.

Denny Warner,
Executive Director

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