Victoria mayor seeks economic resurrection downtown

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins are looking into ways to spur economic development in their communities.

Esquimalt and Victoria are eyeing major plans to spur on economic development.

Following the lead of Langford, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps is considering tax exemptions for property owners downtown, while Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said Esquimalt is ahead of the curve.

Esquimalt is looking into policy options to encourage business and new development align Esquimalt Road, she said.

“We completed our economic development strategy last fall, and one of the things that has been identified and is already being worked on is that tax revitalization strategy for Esquimalt Road.”

Desjardins said there is not a clearly defined plan yet, but it could involve a combination of tax deferrals and fee reductions.

“Those are the things that are within our powers, and so those are the things that we’re looking at,” she said. “Within the community charter, there’s only so much we can do.”

Esquimalt council has already discussed what a future policy might look like, and decisions will be made from budget discussions in February and March, said Desjardins.

“We’re hearing very clearly that Esquimalt Road needs an upgrade. There needs to be an attraction of new people to the community,” she said. “You need more people in order to provide more opportunity for more business.”

Besides looking into tax exemptions for property owners, Helps said she would also like to look into simpler strategies such as improving public spaces downtown.

“I think we need to work with the [Downtown Victoria Business Association] and others to say, what capital expenditures could the city make that would have a big difference in making the public realm more welcoming, more vibrant,” said Helps.

“I think we can make some small changes that have a big impact while we’re looking for those longer term, more complicated things like tax exemptions.”

While her initial feeling is to start with a revitalization of Government Street, Helps said that is not her only focus.

“I shared one idea, which became the idea, which is never the intention,” she said, of her plan to look at tax exemptions on Government Street.

“I’m going to look to our staff and business leaders and community leaders in the downtown to say, what are the areas that need the most care and attention?”

No matter what area council decides to focus on, Helps said a plan needs to be put in place to stimulate economic revitalization in the city.

“One of the things I’m not going to be ok with is if we just sit around and talk about it forever,” she said. “Now is the time for taking action to create prosperity in our downtown.”






Just Posted

Esquimalt café cooks up connections for all abilities

A Kinder Cup focuses on positivity, inclusivity and connection

Free bike exchange program available to Greater Victoria kids

The Re-Buy-Cycle Shop in Langford offers free bikes for young learners

Central Saanich sparks up new opening burning bylaw

New bylaw offers ‘balanced approach’ between status quo and tougher provincial regulations

Oak Bay father’s testimony at murder trial like plot of ‘bad low-budget movie:’ Crown

Crown alleged Andrew Berry’s ‘entire story of Christmas Day is a lie’

PHOTOS: Hundreds gather in downtown Victoria for Extinction Rebellion climate protest

The rally is the kickoff to the Global Climate Strike Week of Action

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

All parties expected to be back on the campaign trail Sunday

Possible Canadian cases of vaping illnesses being investigated: health officer

‘I think that will be really important to address the overall trend of youth vaping’

Area 51 events mostly peaceful; thousands in Nevada desert

Three more people were arrested Friday on the remote once-secret military base

B.C. First Nation signs agreement to return its land on Vancouver Island

The land on the east coast of Vancouver Island will be returned to the We Wai Kai Nation

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

Most Read