Barriere Mayor says to plan carefully for business revitalization strategies

It is imperative that we not lose sight of the businesses that are here now in our growth plans

You may have noticed there is quite a bit of activity around town.  The Communities in Bloom committee have been hard at work sprucing things up and building planters in Fadear Park. The Community Garden has been straightened up, sprinkler lines are going in and the garden plots filled and planted.

At the Bandshell the curbs have been installed on the ramps, the handrail is mounted, planters are placed and filled, the garden along the walkway weeded and planted. We all should give a big round of applause for all the volunteers and District staff that have been working hard to complete this project.

Speaking of the Bandshell a Worldwide knit day was held there on June 10. I managed to get there at the end. I got to pet the sheep and speak to a few of the knitters though. Cindy and Melanie Stutt from 4 Bar S Ranch were good enough to take the time to show me how a wool picker and a wool carder worked. The items on display were one of a kind and beautiful to see.

I was privileged to hear a very talented young lady sing. The Campbell family from Clearwater were in Barriere for the day and their daughter asked Charlie Kibble if she could use the microphone.  I must say it was a wonderful impromptu performance. Ms. Lisa Lee Campbell you are a talented young lady. I hope to hear more from you.

Mr.  Myles  Bruns from the Jobs Tourism and Innovations Ministry stopped by this week to catch up on what was happening in Barriere and see how he could help us succeed. Mr. Bruns was on his way to Clearwater then to Prince George for the International Bioenergy Conference and Exhibition. To quote the BC Bioenergy Network website this conference “provides opportunities for bioenergy experts, existing businesses and organizations, and new entrants to come together to explore leading-edge concepts and current applications in the bioenergy sector globally.”

Since the focus of our economic expansion here in Barriere encompasses the bioenergy sector it may have been useful to attend the conference. I have every confidence though that Mr. Bruns will be willing to share the knowledge he has gathered as well as promoting our area to those present at the conference. Barriere needs champions in all orders of government and areas of the business sector.

When investors come to our area they see not only the economic potential but also the lifestyle that attracts people to make their home here in the valley. All things being equal it is the latter portion of the equation that can be leveraged to sway a developers mind to locate here.

Diversification is the key to success. Long past are the days when we can rely on a single industry to provide employment. We must explore all aspects of business opportunities in tourism, health and seniors care as well as industries such as mining and forestry.

Innovative ideas like the tourism plan recently unveiled by Glenn Mandziuk from the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association are working to encourage tourism providers to partner together and create an experience that is unique to our area. The plan includes going beyond our borders and presenting these one of a kind experiences to the world.

It is imperative that we not lose sight of the businesses that are here now in our growth plans. The District must provide careful planning around bylaws and zoning to enable local entrepreneurs to prosper and grow. Too many times local governments fail in their obligations to those businesses that are already established within their jurisdiction.

We must strive to attract more customers for these business establishments through careful planning and revitalization strategies.

Barriere sits at the gateway to a wonderfully diverse valley full of history, adventures to be explored and economic opportunities that will allow all of us to prosper and grow. We can and will seek out stable sustainable solutions to enable economic growth.

June 17 is Fathers Day. Make sure to give him a hug. For those of us that have had our Dad pass on, take some time to remember what he meant to you.

By Mayor Bill Humphreys