Looking ahead while remembering what we have been through will serve each of us. The past two years have been extremely difficult for businesses and residents of the Saanich Peninsula.
In the summer of 2021, we assumed the pandemic would subside and we would return to normal life, but in fact, it was only a temporary respite on our way to our final destination.
I am extremely proud of the businesses on the Peninsula who have continued to find ways to serve our residents during this crazy time.
Our contractors and owners have endured rapidly changing orders from the BC government and are expected to alter entire business models with little or no notice. They rose to this challenge even though it was not easy.
Some sectors were hit harder than others and we even saw a few members prosper during this period, but regardless the general feeling was that this was a huge challenge for all businesses on the peninsula.
I encourage you to support and show your appreciation for local businesses that continue to serve your needs, despite the difficult position they have been placed in and still do business with.
As the new year dawns, a spike in cases with a new variant and new restrictions is upon us. It’s hard to know what 2022 will bring, but I’m hopeful and confident in our local businesses. They are more prepared than ever for this new normal and are working hard to bring you the services and products you need.
I’m sure they’re up for the challenge, but I’m also sure we’ll feel the repercussions of the past two years as we move from pandemic to endemic.
We are already seeing a shrinking workforce resulting in employee shortages for over 50% of our local businesses, and supply chains forcing less availability in our stores and higher prices due to the scarcity of raw materials.
We are witnessing a throttling of housing supply resulting in exorbitant housing prices and living costs, which drives young workers away from the peninsula.
While I’m not sure what 2022 will bring, my greatest hope is that it will bring us together by teaching us to look beyond our own needs and work together to meet the needs of everyone on the peninsula.
If residents, businesses, councils and organizations work together with a selfless focus on our humanity, we will truly make the Saanich Peninsula the most amazing place on earth!
Al Smith is the CEO of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.
Review of the year 2021