BUSINESS ON THE SUNSHINE COAST -
LANGDALE TO EARL'S COVE
Our region is primarily divided into three main business regions:
Gibsons, from Port Mellon to Roberts Creek
Sechelt, from Roberts Creek to Halfmoon Bay
and Pender Harbour, from Halfmoon Bay to Earl's Cove
COMMUNITY FUTURES SUNSHINE COAST
5500 Wharf Avenue
PO Box 128 Sechelt, BC
(above Wheatberries Bakery)
CFSC offers financing, training, and advisory services for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the Sunshine Coast community. Community Futures organizations have been dedicated to promoting rural economic development for over 20 years.
Our Community Futures office is a non-profit organization guided by a volunteer Board of Directors and staffed with business professionals. We work with community partners to help foster entrepreneurship and economic development in our region.
We provide a variety of different support services to people wanting to start, expand, franchise or sell a business in the community.
In addition we offer facilities rentals to local groups and businesses, as well as state-of-the-art video conferencing technology.
We also work in partnership with other business lenders, educational institutions, not-for-profits and community governments to grow and diversify our local economy. We are completely focused on the needs of our clients, our local businesses, and our area’s economy.
For more detailed information about all we do, please see our services page.
Community Futures is funded in western Canada by Western Economic Diversification Canada.
- Community Economic Development
- Non-Traditional Lending
- Counselling and Advisory Services
- Board Room Rental
- Video Conferencing Facility
- Small Business BC Seminars
CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE
These three business zones are served by Community Futures Sunshine Coast, and their local Chambers of Commerce:
Sechelt & District Chamber of Commerce
102 5700 Cowrie
Gibsons & District Chamber of Commerce
900 Gibsons Way
PO Box 1190
Pender Harbour Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 265
Madeira Park BC
These sites offer business, economy and some tourism information for their appropriate service region.
In addition, Chambers of Commerce serve their membership off-coast by:
- participating in province-wide information and marketing campaigns through the larger BC Chambers of Commerce organization promoting their member businesses through Tourism BC publications distributed province-wide, Canada-wide and internationally through a variety of distribution channels
- The lower Gibsons business area is also served by the Gibsons Landing Merchants Association. The Merchants Association markets and promotes the lower Gibsons area through brochures, publications and sponsorship and fundraising events throughout the year.
- The downtown core of Sechelt is served by the Sechelt Downtown Business Association (SDBA), whose members consist of all the business and property owners within the downtown commercial core. The SDBA office can be reached at (604) 885-9611, or fax (604) 885-2733.
DOWNTOWN BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONSSechelt Downtown Business Association
5710 Teredo St
The SDBA is responsible for the Business Improvement Area (BIA) in Sechelt. This is a non-profit society; its function is to:
- improve, promote and market the downtown core
- generate and raise funds to cover costs incurred for advertising and promotion for administrative services of the society
- develop and encourage communication, understanding and common interests among the downtown Sechelt businesses
- actively encourage interaction with all societies, organizations and governing bodies for the common good of the District of Sechelt
Additionally, the SDBA co-ordinates various special events throughout the year, including:
- murals & street art
- Christmas special events, Shop & Win
- Secretary's Day
- Canada Day Celebrations
- Coasters Car Club Show & Shine
- The BIA Business Beat is the SDBA newsletter, published quarterly.
Through management by volunteer directors and a paid co-ordinator, the SDBA has created a concept plan for future growth, planning and development. The SDBA, District of Sechelt, Urban Systems Consulting and members of the downtown village community recently completed a report detailing goals and implementation for the development of the downtown core. The vision agreed upon by the community will go before the District Council this year in report form as an amendment to the Official Community Plan. You can request more information about the Sechelt BIA by calling (604) 885-9611.
Gibsons is also currently in the process of forming their own Business Improvement Area.
The Sunshine Coast economy
Although resource industries make up a large part of the economy on the Sunshine Coast, in the last few years our region has been undergoing a shift to greater participation from the tourism and cultural arts sectors.
Sunshine Coast Arts:
The Sunshine Coast is getting internationally known for our sheer number and diversity of artists, artisans, and crafters. We are home to world class events such as the Festival of the Written Arts and the Fabric Arts Festival, and on any given weekend and many week nights there is a wide variety of gallery exhibits, musical events, theatre productions, coffee houses, classes, studio openings or dance recitals to attend. See the Annual Festivals Calendar for more information.
Several high tech companies make their homes on the Sunshine Coast, from web development to software programming, connectivity and even aerospace modelling. The area offers close proximity by sea and air to the major Vancouver metropolitan area (with connections through Vancouver International Airport to any destination in the world) yet our semi-isolation and fabulous recreational opportunities provides the right kind of R&R for people looking to maximize hard-to-come-by leisure hours. The buffer of Howe Sound also runs great interference on companies trying to "cherry pick" employees from competitors, and our way of life is a strong attractant to young families, making the Coast a natural destination for small to medium-sized technology companies.
Retailers on the Coast are in competition with the cornucopia of buying delights just a short ferry ride away in Vancouver (a city of millions), so many merchants work hard at developing niche markets in the community. Though for the most part they can not compete on price with the large warehouse-style stores in the city, they offer an amazing range of unique items in this limited geographical area. For example, in one block of shopping you can find clothing imported from India and South America, holistic goods from tribal Africa, sheepskin slippers and seat covers, and coffee beans from Kenya. That's along with locally produced arts, crafts, clothing and foodstuffs. Art galleries literally abound, offering both local and off-coast paintings, sculpture, jewellery and more.
Once one of the mainstays of our region, is undergoing serious changes in the economy of the 90s. Reduced allowable cuts, stringent Forest Practice Codes and steadily improving forestry methods mean a leaner industry for the region. Those still working in the industry work to changing standards and pride themselves on an excellent record of meeting the new Forest Practice Code. Other forest workers, laid off or on reduced hours/contracts, are going back to school and retraining programs. Forest Renewal BC is working with forest companies operating locally to develop new programs designed to help displaced forestry workers make the transition from the woods to the office or school.
Mining is also a big employer on the Coast. Construction Aggregates operates the largest open pit sand and gravel mine in North America out of Sechelt. The pit has a load-out capacity of 3,000 tonnes per hour, and is pioneering a soil reclamation project involving applying bio-solids from waste treatment plants to regenerate the mined soils. Construction Aggregates hosts an open house every September (mid-month), with tours of the pit and an opportunity to climb through mine vehicles parked on display. Call (604) 885- 7595 to inquire about the open house or tours by reservation.
Light manufacturing is a growing sector on the Sunshine Coast. Hapi Foods creates the popular and renowned 'Holy Crap' cereal food in Gibsons, having undergone exponential growth after an appearance on The Dragon's Den.
SideStix, started by Sara Doherty and Kerith Perreur-Lloyd, is an award-winning and highly innovative company creating incredibly rugged custom forearm crutches for amputees. Awards include Sara's 01/13 Diamond Jubilee Medallion, 2011 Davinci Award
Howe Sound Pulp and Paper operates out of Port Mellon on the edge of Howe Sound. The first wood-fibre based paper made in BC was produced in the Port Mellon mill a century ago. Today Howe Sound Pulp and Paper leads the industry in product quality and environmental protection. The mill blends different combinations of softwood fibres to produce distinct kraft pulp varieties, designed to meet their customers’ different strength and brightness requirements. Howe Sound also produces newsprint, which is shipped to newspaper presses on the west coast of the US and into Southeast Asia. With nearly 600 employees, the mill is the largest employer on the lower Sunshine Coast. Construction and value-added milling and forest products make up the bulk of the remaining manufacturing jobs, with creative arts products adding to the mix.
Fishing continues to be a driving force for life on the Coast - if not in the fiscal economy, then certainly in the hearts and minds of those who live here along the shores of the Strait of Georgia. The Pender area and Gibsons Harbour are home to fleets of boats fishing for salmon, halibut and prawns. Aquaculture has slimmed down as a major player after the heydays of the 80s, and only the most successful salmon and oyster farms remain. There are two salmon hatcheries on the coast, one operated by the Sechelt Indian Government District, the other by the Sunshine Coast Salmonid Enhancement Society, and volunteers up and down the coast regularly donate their time rebuilding habitats and installing fish ladders.
To visit the Chapman Creek Hatchery, open year round, turn right off Hwy. 101 at Field Road in Wilson Creek, then left on Parkway and follow the signs. Call (604) 885-4136 for more information.