The Downtown Duncan BIA placed this large Christmas tree on Station Street Park as part of its modified Christmas kick-off celebrations this year. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

The Downtown Duncan BIA placed this large Christmas tree on Station Street Park as part of its modified Christmas kick-off celebrations this year. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: Downtown Duncan BIA kicking off Christmas differently this year

Find out what’s happening in Cowichan’s business community

The Downtown Duncan BIA kicked off the Christmas season a little differently this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The DDBIA had a 12-foot Christmas bulb assembled on the stage in Duncan City Square, and a Christmas tree the height of the adjacent totem pole set up in Station Street Park.

Amanda Vance, executive director of the DDBIA, said the association couldn’t hold its regular Christmas kick-off because of the health crisis, so a decision was made to invest the money into the large ornament and tree.

She said the idea is based on Vancouver’s annual Lumiere event, which is a series of interactive art installations that light up Vancouver during the festive season.

“We’re hoping that on Festive Fridays, in which many businesses downtown will be open late for the Christmas season, people will enjoy their shopping experience that much more with these art installations,” Vance said.

“We’re planning to include the art installations as part of our regular Christmas kick-off ceremonies next year.”

••••

Two businesses in Chemainus owned by the Yeagers were temporarily closed until Dec. 2.

Ward and Kathy Yeager made the difficult decision pertaining to Hansel & Gretel’s Candy Company and Christmas in Chemainus amid rising COVID-19 cases on the Island.

“This decision was out of our safety consideration for our elderly parents whom we are supporting, our staff and our community,” noted Kathy Yeager.

“Case numbers are just getting too close for comfort and we hope a two-week circuit breaker close will assist in bending the curve down.”

Yeager thanked all customers for understanding.

“We appreciate your continued support of our small businesses. Stay safe everyone.”

Hansel & Gretel’s did the same thing previously in March, closing the business at the outset of the pandemic.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a mandatory mask requirement Nov. 19 for all indoor and retail spaces in the province.

••••

Duncan’s Made to Last Custom Homes took the popular People’s Choice Award for its Mountaincalm project at the first online 2020 Construction Achievements and Renovations of Excellence Awards of Vancouver Island, held on Nov. 28.

The 29th annual CARE Awards, sponsored by the Victoria Residential Builders Association. showcased 37 categories this year.

The awards showcase outstanding projects by Canada’s leaders in sustainable West Coast design and construction.

“The CARE Awards represent Canada’s finest West Coast homes and the skilled people behind them,” said Casey Edge, executive director of the VRBA.

••••

Small business leaders issued a dire warning last week that a majority of local businesses may be facing closure if British Columbians don’t make a strong effort to buy local this holiday season.

The ninth annual BC Buy Local Week kicked off on Nov. 30 to encourage consumers to do their holiday spending at locally owned businesses, to keep businesses open after being severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Local businesses are just hanging on, and really need our support at this time,” says Amy Robinson, founder and executive director of LOCO BC, which coordinates Buy Local Week in the province.

“Retail sales this year have plummeted, while online shopping with multinationals has soared. BC Buy Local Week is a great time to start shifting your shopping towards local businesses when making your holiday purchases, including buying gifts, gift cards, food or drinks.”

BC Buy Local Week 2020 runs until Dec. 6 and is a partnership of leading B.C. municipalities, business groups and businesses across the province.

Local businesses employ eight times more people per square foot than multinationals, and keep 63 cents of every dollar in the community, creating up to 4.6 times the economic impact over any money spent at a non-local business.

“Local businesses keep our friends and neighbours working, helping the B.C. economy recover more quickly,” said Robinson.

••••

Building permits are beginning to rebound across the Island.

The total value of building permits issued on Vancouver Island during the third quarter of 2020 rebounded to $681.6 million, or 40 per cent above the second quarter of 2020.

This gain came mainly from non-residential permits which rose 252 per cent to $254.5 million with commercial permits jumping 416 per cent to $210.5 million.

Institutional-government permits rose by 66 per cent to $28 million in the quarter, while industrial permits fell 31 per cent.

Residential building permits edged three per cent higher over the second quarter but decreased 13 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2019.

“Interest in communities across the Island has been strong during the last number of years, and despite the coronavirus pandemic, shows signs of continuing,” said Rory Kulmala, CEO of the Vancouver Island Construction Association.

The Island’s construction rebound was evident in all regional districts and was broadly based in most instances.

The Comox Valley surged 123 per cent, Strathcona was 52 per cent higher and the Capital Regional District saw a 42 per cent jump.

Leading in residential building activity was the Powell River Regional District with a 363 per cent increase, followed by Mount Waddington Regional District with a 216 per cent increase and the Comox Valley Regional District with a 123 per cent increase.

“Smaller communities continue to experience a significant amount of residential building as demand for housing increases,” said Kulmala.

“We suspect retirees are continuing to come here in search of affordable housing options. As well, as more employees in urban areas shift to working from home, rural towns and villages are becoming more popular because of their lower home prices and increased livability.”

Local Business

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The Downtown Duncan BIA had this 12-foot Christmas bulb assembled in Duncan's City Square as part of its modified Christmas kick-off celebrations this year. (Amanda Vance photo)

Just Posted

City of Duncan considering an average 3.51 per cent tax increase for 2021. (File photo)
Duncan considers average 3.51% tax increase for 2021

Homeowners would see a $43 increase over last year

North Cowichan councillor Kate Marsh. (File photo)
North Cowichan postpones decision on cell tower placement

But cell tower policy may be developed soon

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

CVRD offices on Ingram Street will remain closed for another 14 weeks after flooding last month. (File photo)
CVRD headquarters closed for another three and a half months

Building significantly damaged during water leak

Victoria police are asking for help locating high-risk missing man Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria April 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Police searching for Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria

Whittaker believed to be driving 1994 red Volkswagen Golf

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

The city asking the public if they want to pursue legal action against the province and their decision to override the city on the Victory Church issue. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton to sue province over homeless shelter

City council voted unanimously to go forward with legal action

Club Phoenix Fitness in Langford is the first Island business to be ordered closed by the provincial workplace closure order put into effect April 11. It will be closed until at least April 29. (Google Streetview/Screenshot)
Langford gym first Island business to be closed by public health order

Workplace closure order can now close businesses with three or more COVID-19 cases

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial into 2016 Campbell River killing underway in Victoria

Ricky Alexander is charged with the first-degree murder of John Dillon Brown

Most Read