Julie Scurr, right, president of the Duncan/Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, with Warren Goulding, publisher of the Cowichan Valley Citizen. (File photo)

Many issues discussed at chamber’s AGM

Passed policies will be part of chamber’s policy agenda

The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce participated in passionate debate and discussion during the BC Chamber AGM and Conference in Kamloops on May 24-26.

The event was the largest annual business policy forum in the province, attended by 200 business and chamber leaders from across B.C.

The local chamber was represented by its president Julie Scurr, first vice-president Chris Duncan, and executive director Sonja Nagel.

During the two days, 54 resolutions were passed including several policies strongly supported or voted in favour by the local chamber on issues impacting Cowichan businesses.

They include protecting funding for tourism marketing programs and projects.

It was recommended that the province consult with tourism sector stakeholders before implementation of amendments to the provincial sales tax act to allow uses of the MRDT other than tourism marketing, programs and projects.

As well, they should work with sector stakeholders to identify a process for a separate housing funding mechanism that would not displace existing tourism funding.

Another resolution called for minimizing undue negative impacts of the employer health tax.

Chambers from across B.C. are concerned about the impacts of this tax to small businesses.

The recommendation is that the province eliminate the proposed employer health tax and to await the final report from the task force before implementing any changes.

Pressing the pause button on B.C.’s proposed speculation tax is another passed resolution.

It was recommended that the province eliminate the tax altogether until they can clarify how housing will be made more accessible and affordable as a result of this type of taxation policy.

Another resolution was for reform in the Agriculture Land Commission’s regulations.

It was recommended that the province review the current ALC land-use policy framework to investigate existing issues with the current prescriptive land use regulations and to determine methods for increasing flexibility of the ALC Act to enable and support agri-tourism, and other agri-products and services.

A further resolution is to stop the harmful federal tax changes on private corporations.

The recommendation was to set aside the current proposals for income splitting, or “sprinkling”, and passive investment in order to allow for meaningful and fulsome conversation, and to implement a non-partisan tax commission to review the current tax policy, and strategies to arrive at a greater level of fairness and competitiveness.

“The Duncan Cowichan Chamber is proud to see these policies pass and receive support from our peers across the province,” said Scurr.

“We believe that the continued layering of taxes and other fees and regulations are creating a real hardship on our businesses. Our chamber is committed to creating a more business-friendly Cowichan.”

These passed policies will become part of the BC Chamber’s policy agenda and advocated to the appropriate levels of government over 2018-19.

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