Looking ahead while remembering what we have been through will be of great benefit to each of us. The past two years have been extremely difficult for businesses and residents of the Saanich Peninsula.
As summer 2021 approached, we thought the pandemic would subside and we would resume normal life, but in fact it was only a temporary reprieve on the 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 undergone rapid changes in orders from the BC government and are expected to change entire business models with little to no notice. They took up this challenge even if it was not easy.
Some sectors were hit harder than others and we even saw a few members thrive during this time, but regardless, the general feeling was that it was a huge challenge for all businesses on the peninsula.
I encourage you to support and show your appreciation for the local businesses that continue to meet your needs, despite the difficult position they have been placed in and still face.
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 to face this new normal and work hard to give you the services and products you need.
I’m sure they’re up to the challenge, but I’m also sure we will feel the fallout from the past two years as we move from pandemic to endemic.
We are already seeing a shrinking workforce causing employee shortages for over 50% of our local businesses, and supply chains forcing lower availability in our stores and increasing prices due to the scarcity of raw materials.
We are witnessing a stifled housing supply leading to exorbitant house prices and living costs, pushing young workers away from the peninsula.
While I’m not sure exactly what 2022 will bring, my greatest hope is that it brings 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 concern for our humanity, we will truly make the Saanich Peninsula the most amazing place in the world!
Al Smith is the executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.
Year in review 2021