TRU economic geography class studies Barriere

Thompson Rivers University economic geography class studies Barriere

TRU economic geography class students Will George

TRU economic geography class students Will George

Dr. Ross Nelson, professor at Thompson Rivers University in the geography department, has been working with a group of students that have made a number of trips to Barriere as they study economic geography.

Nelson says he decided early in the year that the class should focus on economic development, and as Barriere was a young municipality thought it would be ideal to use as a case study.

Nelson noted that the Mayor and Council for the District were more than accommodating in their assistance to the class’s information gathering and questions.  A number of trips were made to the community, including a visit to the Provincial Winter Fair (PWF) at the Fall Fair grounds in September.

Most recently, the class made their presentations to Mayor, council members and community members on Nov. 25, at the District office.

The professor attended and thanked the District for all of their assistance, especially for making their economic development person Andrew Hayward available to the students, which included a number of trips to the TRU campus in Kamloops to speak to the class.  He also thanked North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association president Jill Hayward for also meeting with the students at the PWF and again at TRU.

He noted that the students were divided into two groups, both with the charge of investigating options for community based rural development within Barriere, including sustainability and development.

The student’s Nov. 25, presentation at the District office was their report and findings pertinent to the community of Barriere.

One group of students called themselves ‘Down to Earth Consulting’, and were comprised of Andrew Hill, Kris Gunderson, Steven Lee, Thomas Waithe, and Marc Zuccaro.  They reported their mission was; To support community-based rural re-development through simple local actions.

They noted their community objectives and relevant case studies had involved the communities of Naramata (Cittaslow and Slow Food movement, rural Michigan (regional branding), NorthDakota (getting in touch with former residents), Vulcan, Alberta  (create a theme), and Black Mountain (community centre).

They stated  long term goals for the community should be:

• Beautification – update older buildings in the community with more modern themes.

• Attract seniors through creation of low maintenance, elderly friendly housing.

• Expansion of “the Barriere Brand” to envelope the whole of the North Thompson

• Work towards achieving Cittaslow certification.

Short term goals included:

• Consider incorporating Barriere into Thompson Shuswap Chef & Farmers Collaborative.

• Establish the Barriere Brand.

• Post Cards to Past Connections “Come Home to Barriere”.

• Create a gateway to the North Thompson.

• Develop an improved presence on the web.

They stated their vision was to:

• Expand tax base through a growing population to fund continued growth in Barriere’s tourism sector.

• Expanding existing industries to provide employment in the community.

• In 20 years Barriere will have wide brand recognition and will be the major agritourism destination in B.C.

The second group was comprised of Obed Masege, Simon Braun, and Will George, calling themselves Community Initiatives Incorporated (CII).

Their Mission; Helping communities achieve their goals.  “We emphasize best practices in sustainability and community living.  We work mainly in small towns in resource settings.”

Their vision for Barriere:

To attract residence through the maximization of the North Thompson Agriplex, working with the city of Kamloops, and improving the look and function of the downtown core.

Their Community Objectives for Barriere: Marketing, Community, Boardwalk

• Creating an attractive image for Barriere through marketing, media and advertisements.

• Improving the lifestyle and activities within Barriere.

• Construction of a network of trails and boardwalks that would include interpretive areas on Barriere’s culture and heritage.

Case Studies – bringing outside examples to the town of Barriere.

• Chimney Rock

• Clinton

• Maple Ridge

The student’s presentations were well received by the District, and the class’s follow-up stated, “We are very interested in Economic Geography, so any suggestions you have will help us for future projects in this field.”