A recently survey shows 44 per cent of businesses in the Qualicum Beach are say the state of their operations is good or increasing, though finding labour and affordable housing for workers remains a hindrance.
The information is based on data that was collected from 61 businesses on Nov. 14 during the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce Business Walks 2019 in Qualicum Beach, Qualicum Bay and Bowser. The walk was hosted in partnership with the Lighthouse Country Business Association and the Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association.
Anne Dodson, CEO of the chamber, has been doing the walk since 2014 and said it’s important to do the walk every year so they can find trends in the business community.
“Everybody is still feeling really positive, they feel the businesses are going well, but perhaps not as positive as they were going in 2016,” she said. “We know that tourism is still growing in this region, but it’s not growing as quickly as it was a couple years ago.”
Dodson said the limited amount of affordable housing as a concern year after year.
“It’s a big concern for employers in the region. You know they find good people and factors such as those may not allow them to hang on to valuable employees,” she said. “Always a concern.”
The survey collected information about businesses’ successes and struggles to get an idea of what the Qualicum Beach Chamber and other levels of government could do to support them.
Other things found during the survey that concern local businesses: the lack of street parking available in town; the increase in crime; the availability of labour; closed businesses; construction and road closures.
In terms of what could help ease concern, businesses pointed to training opportunities in sales, advertising/marketing and social media. In addition, 40 per cent of businesses said less “red tape” would make it easier for them to succeed.
“Predominantly in terms of municipal regulations such as signage, zoning and parking. ICBC regulations, policies around merchant fees, and a lack of co-operation between different regional governments are also a source of frustration for local businesses,” says the report. “Only 10% of those surveyed indicated that financing and access to capital are a concern.”
Dodson said a combination of the feedback from businesses combined with what they say would help support them, helps guide decision making and ideas for change in the community.
“It means we know what kind of supports our members are looking for,” she said. “We know where to focus our efforts.”