It appears the problems facing us here in Barriere are very much the same as in other parts of the world. Recently I met a number of Trade and Investment Representatives that work all across the globe. The conversation topics ranged from seeking better green energy options in Japan to finding sources of wood products for industries in Asia.
The whole world suffers from failing infrastructure. Things like potholes, outdated water systems and community buildings long past their prime are to be found in any country on the globe. A number of people asked about Barriere. I responded as I always do. Barriere is a friendly and safe small town with a big heart. We welcome those that want to live here, work here and enjoy what our area has to offer.
It may not sound like a strong pitch to promote Barriere but it seems to work. Each time I mentioned that there were all sorts of different housing styles available, commercial space to rent as well as residential, industrial and commercial land for sale I was asked for my business card.
As Mayor, it is part of my mandate to promote Barriere to the world. As well as working with other orders of government to keep our local needs known, I meet with groups of people that include investors, people looking to relocate, various commercial interests and a host of other groups. As the Mayor, I am not expected to be a Real Estate professional, land developer or investment consultant. My role is to create interest in our area. Once an interest is expressed they are directed to local experts that handle the actual business end of things.
It is my opinion that for Barriere to grow and prosper, we need to attract both industrial interests and small commercial enterprise. It is far more likely that we can attract small businesses willing to locate in our District than it is to hope that a multi-million dollar enterprise will open its doors here in Barriere. There will be a number of very large projects coming online here in the valley in the near future. I fully support that happening. I am working with all the leaders of government here in the valley to provide the best chance of success for these regional based projects. If they succeed we will all succeed.
Here in Barriere there is an extremely limited amount of funds that can be used to promote growth. It is my opinion that these funds should be used for the promotion of growth within the District for the benefit of the community as a whole.
Small business is the backbone of the Canadian economy. Stats from 2005 indicate that 48.3% of Canada’s total workforce worked for small business. In addition 41% worked for businesses with 20 employees or less. This cannot be ignored. We have a number of small businesses in our area. Through good business practices combined with a focus on customer service, these businesses have managed to grow in size year after year.
There are a number of small business operations, sometimes called “Mom and Pop” businesses, that are willing to relocate to areas like the North Thompson Valley. Barriere is well suited to attract these operations. Our southern location in the valley provides for easy shipping to other markets. Affordable housing and land development opportunities are abundant within our District and the surrounding area. Along with the rising costs of doing business, such as rents and property taxes, combined with increasing crime rates and pollution in the more populated centres, the move to Barriere will be an easy sell.
Over the next while, with the help of knowledgeable people in and around our community, I will work to build a network of contacts that will allow further promotion of our community as a great place to live and do business. Following a path with the best chance of success, with the least cost, is the best way to go, or at least that is how I see it.