The ‘DELVI’ (Deliver Vancouver Island) team hopes to expand from 15 to 40 businesses by the end of the year.
Two Vancouver Island MLAs stopped in Parksville on April 22 to check in on the progress at the temporary facility, which opened in October and functions as an online sales, warehouse and distribution solution. DELVI employs four people full-time and two part-time, according to Corry Gervais, project management and sales.
“Seeing this grow and seeing the huge potential we have on this site gives me huge hope for the future in our community for small and medium-sized businesses,” said Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum.
The team plans to move into a new, larger facility some time next year, according to Kim Burden, Parksville and District and Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce executive director and DELVI CEO. The new location, currently a gravel pit on Fairdowne Road and owned by the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation, will be roughly twice the size of the temporary facility at 30,000 square feet.
The project was developed by Oceanside Initiatives, the economic development function of the chamber and a recipient of a Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program grant in the amount of $620K, awarded by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
“Different problems and different solutions arise in different parts of the province. So strength in diversity is what’s going to get us out of problems like the pandemic,” said Sheila Malcolmson, minister of mental health and addictions and MLA for Nanaimo. “It’s great to have local businesses come together and work co-operatively like we see here. It makes our communities and our province stronger.”
Gervais anticipated DELVI could employ 10 to 15 people when it moves into its permanent location in 2023.