Tuesday, October 14, 2014

VBOT surveys business community on civic election issues

VANCOUVER, B.C. - With only one month remaining before Vancouverites head to the polls, The Vancouver Board of Trade has released results from its 2014 Municipal Election Survey, giving insights into some of the top priorities and concerns of Greater Vancouver's business community.

The survey was launched last month as part of The Vancouver Board of Trade's efforts to inform and engage local businesses in the lead-up to the Nov. 15 election. The survey results will now be used to shape the conversation at two upcoming Vancouver Board of Trade events with Mayoral candidates Kirk LaPointe on Oct. 15 and Gregor Robertson on Oct. 21.

"As the civic election enters its final stretch, we felt it was important to take the pulse of Greater Vancouver's business community," said Iain Black, President and CEO of The Vancouver Board of Trade. "It was crucial that we hear directly from our Members - the business owners and job creators of our region - about their priorities, so that we have a clear mandate to bring those issues to the forefront."

As a policy-focused, but non-partisan, organization The Vancouver Board of Trade has worked to positively engage both of the leading candidates for mayor and council, noted Black. This has involved productive and ongoing discussions with both leading parties, and will culminate in two breakfast events with the candidates in the coming days. Both Mayoral candidates will also have the opportunity to answer an unedited Q&A in The Vancouver Board of Trade's monthly business publication, Sounding Board.

"We're looking forward to hearing about their personal priorities, and specifically their plans to bolster B.C.'s economy and support the business community," said Black. "We're going to pose some tough questions to both candidates about economic issues, stemming directly from the survey results," said Black, noting that 66 per cent of survey respondents said they want the City of Vancouver to pursue ways to champion the development of energy, natural resources and Port facilities.

In the survey, Vancouver Board of Trade members were asked to pick the top three issues that were important to them - and their businesses - in the coming election. Of the respondents, 68 per cent chose public transit and infrastructure, 50 per cent chose real estate development, increased density and long-term planning, and 40 per cent chose community engagement and government transparency.

When asked what changes they wanted the next municipal government to pursue in regards to transportation, 49 per cent chose "Properly fund transportation and transit development without shifting the burden further on to business." A total of 46 per cent chose "Better traffic management during development / construction," while 34 per cent chose "Remove existing bike lanes."

Eighty-one per cent said it is either "important" or "very important" to them that the City of Vancouver expands on its economic strategy.

In terms of how local government can help small businesses, respondents suggested reducing red tape, reducing business taxes, reducing parking restrictions and/or parking rates, increasing benefits for small businesses, and increasing green initiatives.

Of the survey respondents, 93 per cent said they plan to vote in the upcoming municipal election.

View the full survey results here.

For more information, email .

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