I would like to thank members of the Legion, the Legion Ladies Auxiliary, B.C. Ambulance, R.C.M.P. and the Barriere Volunteer Fire department for all their hard work towards putting on a great barbecue, bike rodeo, entertainment and fun for the kids. MP Cathy McLeod came up to help start off Legion Week despite a busy schedule. These events are an important part of any community and many hours go into planning and running the events. Hats off to all those that helped as well as to those that came out to support their efforts.
The Economic Development Association of British Columbia (EDABC) put on its annual Summit this last week. People involved in economic development work from all across Canada attended. There was a good selection of training and information sessions, as well as an industry trade show. As usual with these events much of the information to be gathered is found at the social portions of the conference. It is a time to connect with others that are either struggling or doing well attracting business, tourism and investments to their regions. Many times it is as valuable to hear what did not work, as to listen to stories of success.
A good number of success stories were brought forward though, and some were given awards. Mr. Derek de Candole, Economic Development Officer for Logan Lake, was presented an award for his efforts in rejuvenating and further developing the community he represents.
When I asked what brought about his success, he mentioned that the support of his council played a major role. I suspect it was that, and long hours spent promoting the various projects that community has on the go. Everywhere I have been lately Derek has been there representing Logan Lake. None of these efforts come free, and it is critical for success that a council does support both the ideas, as well as the costs of having the work done around them.
Jennifer Moore, Regional Economic Development Officer, North Peace Economic Development Commission, and I spoke about the effects of having an economic boom happen in their region. Too many jobs and lots of money flowing carries a set of challenges that can be just as devastating to a community as a recession. Unless there is considerable effort put to directing development and providing both infrastructure and social programs, the problems will quickly get out of hand.
It appears that the provincial government and Mayor Lori Ackerman’s Fort St. John council are working hard to keep things on track.
Here in Barriere things are progressing. Work is ongoing around promoting Barriere to the world. We have advertised in InvestinBC, rejoined the Yellowhead Highway Association and joined in the efforts put forth by the EDABC and the province to attract investors.
Currently we are working on a presentation to the Provincial Nomination Program. This is the program that will fast track foreign investors should they qualify under the program rules. Previously communities our size were not included in the presentation process. By taking a regional view of things we will gain access to the program and the investors it draws.
We have also started the development of a web based presence directed at both investors and people looking to move to Barriere. This will dovetail with the current work being done at the TNRD.
The TNRD has funded an economic portal with each area and community featured at a high level within the web pages of the portal. The intent then is for communities to link to that portal with their own community based information.
The plan here is to work with local and area developers, business people, tourism operators, realtors, and the Chamber of Commerce to put together an up to date package of what there is currently, and what the plans for the future are.
Marketing is the key to attracting people and businesses to our community and surrounding area. Social media is currently the most cost effective method of doing this.
Speaking of social media, at a communication session recently on how to handle letters to the editor that offer various threats, the overwhelming consensus was that they were to be ignored. Sage advice and free.