The District of Saanich was named the Open for Business Large Community Award winner at the 2020 Small Business BC awards gala on Friday.
The annual awards program recognizes communities that have cultivated a welcoming environment for small businesses.
A community reaping the benefits of their highly successful South Island Prosperity Partnership, the District of Saanich is your 2020 Large Community Award Winner! #OpenForBusinessAwards pic.twitter.com/D0mh8zWiWA
— SmallBusinessBC (@SmallBusinessBC) February 22, 2020
In January, the top three finalists for the Small, Medium and Large Community Awards categories were announced. The District of Saanich was nominated for the Large Community Award – municipalities with more than 25,000 residents – alongside Coquitlam and Campbell River.
The winners were announced at the 2020 awards gala which took place at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Feb. 21. Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes was presented with the plaque.
“It was a delight to be recognized by the province,” he said. “Saanich is definitely open for business.”
#Saanich wins first place in the BC Small Business award as the best Large Municipality Open for Business. A tremendous recognition of five years of amazing collaborative work starting in 2015 with foundation of the @SIProsperity. #soproud pic.twitter.com/KRuAACADQ5
— Fred Haynes Ph.D. (@HaynesSaanich) February 22, 2020
Haynes pointed out that the District’s economic success has been a “collaborative effort” to focus on benefiting the community. He feels that partnering with the South Island Prosperity Partnership – a Greater Victoria-based economic development organization that fosters sustainable economic growth and job creation – has played a significant role in Saanich’s success.
He noted that other mayors have approached him hoping to mirror Saanich’s collaborative and sustainable economic practices in their own municipalities. The District is focused on “success for all” not in-fighting and others have taken notice, he explained.
“We can achieve so much more together,” Haynes said.
The City of Colwood was shortlisted for the Medium Community Award – 5,000 to 25,000 residents – but the Township of Spallumcheen was declared the 2020 winner.
Haynes feels Colwood’s nomination is indicative of the South Island region’s collective economic success and was proud to attend the gala with Mayor Rob Martin.
The District of Saanich won’t be pausing to celebrate the big win as there are plans in place for continuing to make improvements for the 4,500 small businesses already in the municipality and for those yet to set up shop, Haynes explained. He highlighted intentions to bring movie studios, tech companies, more family doctors, daycare centres and affordable housing to Saanich.