Voice of Business

strength of our network

the voice of business

As the voice of business in Squamish, the Chamber believes in partnerships and collaboration. Together we are stronger – both in terms of the size and strength of our network, and in having our community and provincial partners recognize us as a trusted partner; one who makes evidence-based decisions with the shared goal of a stronger Squamish. #squamishstrong

Through our annual member survey, the Squamish Chamber membership has identified a number of key issues for 2018:

The Squamish Chamber is a proud member of the Squamish Economic Steering Group (SESG). The SESG consists of key community partners, including the District of Squamish, Tourism Squamish, Community Future Howe Sound, Women’s Enterprise, WorkBC, BackinMotion and the Downtown Squamish BIA.

The SESG is part of a collaborative model for economic development, helping create an evidence-based understanding of our people, business and place needs, and developing new and innovative programs, tools and resources for the local business community.

The SESG strategic pillars and goals are:

Employment and Training More people are trained and locally employed

Business Intelligence and Growth Plan:  There is sustainable and diverse business growth

Soft and Hard Infrastructure:  Infrastructure meets the needs of employees and employers.

The Squamish Chamber represents the business community in the following working groups:

Data and Website: Squamish local open data project and consulting on the new economic development website.

Connect Place Plan: Implementation plan to address key business infrastructure needs in Squamish. Housing, transportation, employment lands and space.

Brand and Marketing: Managing and continuing to enhance and revitalize the Squamish brand. This group will also work on marketing our collective services to Squamish businesses.

Workforce and Skills: Skills assessment work and creation of plan to address issues.

Future Forward Group: Visioning for what Squamish will look like in the future. Creation of a sector strategy, accelerators, and exporting services.

Talent Development

In the 2017 member survey, nearly two in three respondents (61%) stated they had faced challenges with recruiting or retaining staff in the last 12 months. Housing affordability (to rent and own) and lack of skilled candidates applying were cited as the key challenges.

Working in partnership with the District of Squamish and Tourism Squamish, the Squamish Chamber will be developing a training and educational program to improve the skills of the Squamish workforce and help businesses grow.

A talent development program can:

• Demonstrate investment in staff, resulting in improved staff engagement, increased employee satisfaction and higher retention levels.

• Grow knowledge and skills, thereby improving customer satisfaction, productivity and fiscal strength.

• Improve the skills of the workforce and talent pool in Squamish.

The Squamish Chamber is very grateful for funding from the Province of BC which has allowed us to develop many tools and resources to help businesses grow (including this website) and to create the talent development program

Housing affordability is a commonly cited concern, not just for Squamish, but across the province of BC. In our recent member survey, housing affordability was confirmed as a key issue for members.

Some Chamber initiatives:

The Squamish Chamber hosted a Housing Affordability panel with experts from the Province of BC, developers, social organizations and businesses. Together, we are generating a better understanding of the issue.

The Chamber is a participant on the Squamish Economic Steering Working group, Connect Plan Plan, which will address key infrastructure needs.

For developers seeking to connect with the Squamish Chamber, please download and complete the PDF version of the Residential Development Form. Access to affordable employee housing, amongst other factors, is a consideration for the Chamber’s support.

> More information on the Squamish Housing Task Force

The Squamish Chamber is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the community by actively supporting business, economic growth and diversification. Growth and development should be based on rational, well planned and thought-out decisions. Growth management seeks to accommodate growth rationally, not to prevent or limit it. Growth management provides consideration of the impact of future developments on the economy, the environment, socially and fiscally.

The District of Squamish is in the final stages of a thorough process in developing the draft 2040 Official Community Plan. The Squamish Chamber hosted a working session for businesses, and also sought feedback on growth management.

Read the Squamish Chamber letter here:

> Read the community feedback here (see page 39 for Chamber feedback)

> Read the full draft Official Community Plan

> Growth Management Study, 2005

For developers seeking to connect with the Squamish Chamber, please complete the attached form. A number of factors related to Growth Management are considerations for the Chamber’s support.

Regional transit and transportation have been identified as key issues by our membership. We’re currently conducting consultations on transit/transportation to help us understand the issues and options available. Consultations include meetings with various transit suppliers, elected officials and neighboring communities. The Squamish Chamber policy committee will consider all the research and insight before creating a position on this important matter.

In the meantime, we will upload reports and research for your consideration:

> Sea to Sky Regional Transit Study, 2017

> Downtown Parking Study, 2017

> Squamish Active Transportation Plan, 2016 Update

> Downtown Truck Route Study, 2017

Access to elected officials

The Squamish Chamber provides members with opportunities to engage with our elected officials at lunches with the Mayor of Squamish, MLA West-Vancouver-Sea to Sky and MP West Vancouver-Sea to Sky.

From left to right:

Pamela Goldsmith-Jones
MP West Vancouver – Sea to Sky

Jordan Sturdy
MLA, West Vancouver – Sea to Sky

Patricia Heintzman
Squamish Mayor

consultation and collaboration

The Squamish Chamber makes your voice heard in a number of forums:

Participation in various community engagement initiatives, including the Official Community Plan, Downtown planning, Squamish Marine Strategy and engagement with various sector associations.

Submission to public consultations, including the Sunshine Coast Fixed Link, the Official Community Plan and proposed changes to business tax .

Destination Development – a collaboration of local, regional and provincial agencies, First Nations, destination marketing organizations, tourism operators and business associations working together to strategically vision and plan for the future of tourism in the region.

Collaboration with the BC Chamber of Commerce, Whistler Chamber, Pemberton Chamber, Gibsons Chamber and North Vancouver Chamber to identify collective issues and ways of working together to achieve our goals.

By working together, we can achieve so much more.

Destination Development Squamish Chamber

Please let us know if there are any opportunities or issues we should be aware of by emailing admin@squamishchamber.com 

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