Top 4 Priorities for Tri-Cities Businesses
With the Provincial Election set for May 9, 2017, the candidates for our four electoral ridings are hitting the pavement and talking with voters. In Fall 2016, we surveyed our membership on the top priorities for the Provincial Government so that we could inform the Province about the needs of Tri-Cities businesses. Here are the top four key priorities:
1. Housing Affordability and Cost of Living.
With surging real estate prices, record low rental vacancy rates, and a growing cost of living, Tri-Cities businesses are looking for solutions to help manage the cost of living. To remain competitive and relevant in the job marketplace, it’s imperative for the provincial government to take the lead in engaging the municipalities in dialogue that creates and implements policies that support businesses by providing a long-term strategy to address housing affordability and the cost of living in the Tri-Cities.
2. Long-Term Investment in Transit and Transportation.
While recent commitments from both the Provincial and Federal governments on public transit expansion and improvement has heartened the Chamber, we remain concerned about negative economic impacts should the Province’s dedication to meaningful and timely investment in transit falter. Over 60% of the Chamber membership supports mobility pricing to continue long-term investment in transit and roads. Members also identified upgrades to the Highway 1-Brunette Interchange as one of the most important investments in our region, second to expanded regional bus service and bus-rapid transit connecting Port Coquitlam to the Evergreen Line along Lougheed Highway.
3. Tax Competitiveness and PST Reform.
Provincial corporate tax rates continue to be a priority amongst our members, as in our recent Member Survey, 50% of our respondents have indicated that cumulative taxes paid by BC businesses are too high. One of the areas where we believe the BC government can improve upon is the current Provincial Sales Tax structure. Amongst our Survey respondents, over 56% believed that British Columbia’s Provincial Sales Tax should be reformed. An accommodative reform in the PST can incentivize capital investment spending to improve the productivity and competitiveness of British Columbian companies within in the global marketplace.
4. Support for New Businesses.
Our members have indicated Incentives and Support for Entrepreneurship as a major rising concern. The Chamber urges the Provincial Government to look at new and creative ways to support new businesses by potentially exploring new incentives for angel investors or venture capital investors, employment grants for new hires, cost-effective supports for entrepreneurs, and an expanded Grant Finder program.
Find out how your Provincial Candidates stand on each of these issues on the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce All Candidates Debates prior to the election on May 9th. These debates give you a chance to hear directly from your candidates.
If you can’t make it to your local meeting, we will be streaming the debates live via the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.
Those watching both in-person and via Facebook will have the opportunity to ask the Provincial Candidates questions in real time via slido.com. You will be asked for a passcode before you are able to submit your question. See passcodes below.
All Candidates Debates Dates
Tuesday, April 18 | Coquitlam – Burke Mountain Candidates
Evergreen Cultural Centre
1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Event passcode: ACD1
Thursday, April 20 | Port Moody – Coquitlam Candidates
100 Newport Drive, Port Moody
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Event passcode: ACD3
Thursday, April 27| Coquitlam – Maillardville Candidates
Best Western Coquitlam Inn Convention Centre
319 North Road, Coquitlam
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Event passcode: ACD4