Government Street (highlighted in yellow), which runs past the legislature and the Empress Hotel, has come upon hard times.

Downtown Victoria hits hard times and the new price of water

Government Street's last stand
Government Street, Victoria's historic shopping corridor, has fallen on hard times. Pushed out by high rent and low levels of local traffic, the city and business owners are concerned that the eight empty storefronts along a four block stretch are turning the street into a retail dead zone. "There are a lot of missing teeth," said Dave Ganong of Colliers to CTV

One proposal, to convert Government Street into a pedestrian mall, has drawn ire from a handful of business owners, who have labelled its as misguided. "It is absolutely the worst idea I've ever heard," said Maura Fitzergerald Lamb, owner of Irish Linen Stores, to the Times Colonist

Another proposal, a $40-million redevelopment of a former federal government office building, where government meets the harbour, could address the area's core problem: Government Street retailers depend on seasonal cruise traffic. New residents would be natural new customers. (via the Times Colonist)

Mining for talent
The C-suites at Vancouver's big mining firms are creeping toward retirement, creating a need for executive talent at some of B.C.'s biggest companies. That's the rationale behind a new executive MBA program to be launched this year by UBC's Sauder School of Business and Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering. The 21-month program, targeted at mining professionals with hectic travel schedules, will be offered in online modules and week-long workshops in Vancouver, London and Santiago. 

No free water
Interested in bottling B.C.'s pristine, glacier-fed water? Starting in 2016, that will cost you. Companies like Nestle, farms and municipalities will be charged for well water at a rate of $2.25 per million litres (think a large swimming pool). Household wells, however, will not pay fees or requires licenses. The new rate schedule, introduced by the Ministry of Environment, is intended to cover the costs of the Water Sustainability Act, introduced last May. "The new fee structure will ensure that fairness and affordability are cornerstones of our modernized water legislation," said Environment Minister Mary Polak in a statement.