In 2016, the Chamber took steps to refocus public policy and advocacy efforts through restructuring our policy committee structure. The introduction of the Policy Council and three issues committees allows for greater member participation in the policy process and more in-depth conversation on specific issues addressing our membership. The Chamber completed its first 2016 Provincial Budget Survey that will shape policy over the next year and become an annual assessment of members’ needs. This year has also seen the opening of the Evergreen Line Skytrain extension—a key investment the Chamber has been advocating for since 2002.
After receiving near unanimous support for a BC Chamber resolution entitled “Promoting Innovation in Regional Solid Waste Management,” The Chamber successfully advocated for the rejection of Metro Vancouver’s Bylaw 280 that would have severely limited access to solid waste services for business by limiting the market. The Chamber also joined 180 organizations in the Better Transit & Transportation Coaltion to advocate for a YES vote in the transportation plebiscite. While this unprecedented collaboration did not yield a successful outcome, our participation in the BTTC has laid groundwork for advocacy for future transit and transportation investment in the Tri-Cities. The Chamber also engaged in the Federal Election by running the first PigeonholeLive All-Candidate’s Debate which engaged a record number of voters across the Tri-Cities. In anticipation of the Evergeen Line opening in 2016, the Chamber successfully championed for a second office building in Suterbrook Village, steps away from the Inlet Centre Skytrain Station.
The Chamber created a public policy staff position for the first time, allocating resources for advocacy to all levels of government. As 2014 was a municipal election year, the Chamber hosted its first ever “Candidate School” to help business owners connect with candidates to better inform their platforms. The Chamber also submitted four guiding principles to the Renewing Riverview process, outlining the need for a renewed and expanded mental health campus on the Riverview Lands.
The Chamber saw the completion of the Port Mann Bridge and Highway 1 expansion which will better connect the Tri-Cities with the rest of the region. The Chamber also participated in a study outlining the economic significance of the Fraser River. The introduction of the Tri-Cities Intermunicipal Business License was a huge win for the elimination of red-tape across the Tri-Cities, allowing mobile Tri-Cities businesses to purchase one business license instead three.