COLUMN: Dispatching the old dog patch biases on West Shore

West Shore is no longer the Dog Patch; it’s the Cat’s Meow, says chamber CEO

The West Shore is a vibrant and thriving community, outshining its Victoria and Saanich neighbours in spite of the insistence by some still giving it the old, nasty and unkind “Dog Patch” label. Jealously and envy are probably what drives those views, but what those people should be focusing on is collaboration and cooperation amongst all our municipalities.

Marketing lesson 101: Trying to strengthen your own brand and convince yourself you are still great by putting down others, is in fact, a sign of a decaying and weakening brand. Those who still quietly snicker about the West Shore in the back rooms of fancy downtown private clubs have probably not visited the West Shore in 20 years. That’s a shame because they are missing out on an extraordinary community full of life, expansion, growth and vitality coming into its own.

With an average age of 38 and the fastest population growth in B.C., the West Shore is in fact rapidly becoming the economic engine of the Capital Region. Stay tuned for big news on high tech industries coming to the West Shore. High tech and other industries are coming to take advantage not only of lower commercial real estate costs, but also the attractive lower cost of family homes and the multiple new family amenities. Whether it is marine tech, defence tech or the many other kinds of high tech, staff retention is crucial and the West Shore presents a sure opportunity for these firms.

Bursting with new businesses and new facilities especially for families and youth, the West Shore is an inviting and welcoming place. It’s a place where we all want to see one another succeed and where we are all committed to a healthy community – be it the wilderness pleasures of the Highlands, the rural peacefulness of Metchosin or the booming urban centres of Langford, Colwood and View Royal. In fact, the smart money is investing in the West Shore, starting businesses and moving out to a better lifestyle, while others still hang on to outdated views and are missing out on tremendous opportunities.

It’s time to give up the old downtown biases about the West Shore and come and participate in the healthy success, creativity and innovation of one of Canada’s fastest growing regions. And, hey, you might even make some money and enjoy yourself at the same time.

It’s no longer the Dog Patch; it’s the Cat’s Meow.

Dan Spinner is CEO of the WestShore Chamber of Commerce