District of Barriere votes to enroll in PNP Immigration Pilot Program

District of Barriere Deputy Corporate Officer, Tasha Buchanan presented the following report at the Feb. 19 meeting of mayor and council.

“At a previous District of Barriere Council meeting, Council directed staff to explore the feasibility of enrolling in the newly announced BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot Program. This new Provincial program is open to communities having less than 75,000 in population and at least 35km away from a larger center. Eligible entrepreneur applicants wishing to immigrate to a participating BC community, must have a net worth of at least $300,000 and be willing to start a new business in the community with a minimum investment of $100,000 and hire an equivalent of at least 1 FTE (a member of their family does not count towards the FTE).

“Bill Kershaw, Barriere Chamber of Commerce President, and I attended the required, no-fee training in Vernon hosted by the Province. Both Mr. Kershaw and I left feeling excited about the potential for Barriere to attract business and industry that will help stimulate our economy. During the training, the Provincial Program Coordinators encouraged communities to reach out to their active residents, organization/group leaders, and professionals having knowledge of the services/accommodations/facilities available to assist newcomers to town as well as knowledge of what types of industry/services/businesses/recreation that our community could benefit the most from under the constraints of this program.

“In consultation with Mr. Kershaw, staff reached out to Lindsay Arcand, Branch Manager of our local bank, Rhonda Kershaw, Local School Trustee, both local real-estate offices (Debra Fennell/ Maureen Chester and Kathy Campbell), and resident Tanya Gagnon to discuss the potential of the program and gain their insight and recommendations on what they believe the three NAICS categories the District should indicate in our enrollment application.

“Staff arranged a meeting on Feb. 12 with those stakeholders including Bill Kershaw and Colleen Hannigan, CAO.

“Each of the participants expressed interest in sitting on an Ad-Hoc committee that would help identify the three categories, participate in entrepreneur tours of the community, and assist in the identification of which entrepreneurs (who request a referral) to refer to the Province to immigrate to Barriere as part of the program. This Ad-Hoc committee would also assist the immigrant and his/her family into settling into Barriere as needed.

“In the pre-enrollment form submitted to the Province as reported to Council at the last meeting, the initial three categories chosen by staff were preliminary until further detail was obtained throughout training and through consultation with community stakeholders. After a lengthy and thoughtful discussion, the committee indicated that they felt the following three categories would be most likely to succeed in Barriere under this program: • 321 Wood product manufacturing • 541 Professional, scientific and technical services • 713 Amusement, gambling and recreation industries.” Council has approved the three NAICS Categories as indicated in the report and have authorized the CAO to formally enroll in the BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot Program.

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