Council corner: Moving on economic development

Connie Brothers, chair of the city's economic development committee, writes about the pressing issue of economic development in Revelstoke

Councillor Connie Brothers is the chair of the city's economic development committee.

By Connie Brothers, Revelstoke city council

One of my responsibilities on city council is chair of the Economic Development Committee. As a result I would like to write about where we are, currently, from an economic development perspective and where and how I am anticipating we will continue to move forward.

Overall, Revelstoke is moving in a positive direction in terms of economic growth. Over the past year, the number of business licenses has increased and we have seen several businesses open up or which are scheduled to open shortly. Downie Timber, one of our largest employers, gave a presentation to council last week and indicated that over the last several years it has increased the size of its investment and operation in Revelstoke and now provides 300 full-time jobs and an annual payroll of $25 million, including benefits.

Tourism dollars continue to rise, and this is evident from the number of skiers, sledders, mountain bike riders and other visitors coming to town. The Business Retention & Expansion Strategy, which came out in the fall of 2015, indicates that our predominant businesses are small and medium-sized, independently owned businesses, most of which report being in a growth cycle and are planning to expand within the next three years.

This is good news, as positive economic growth improves the overall strength and social fabric of our community. However, we can always do better, and I view one of the important roles of city council is to shepherd economic development in a way which is good for all aspects of the community and makes it stronger.

Economic development crosses over into many areas of city responsibility such as planning, labour and housing. One of the things that council needs to do in order to effectively do its job in this regard is to engage in more planning so that we understand and know what growth is best for the community, and we so that are ready to create opportunities and meet those that come our way. Here are some of the issues we need to deal with:

1. We need to determine what businesses Revelstoke should attract for positive growth, which will complement the existing businesses we have. Given the incredible lifestyle we have in Revelstoke and which is so attractive to people coming to the community, we need to use this to our advantage. In today’s Internet society, where people can work for companies throughout the world using a home base, Revelstoke can be marketed as an attractive home base for these individuals. Other similar opportunities and strategies need to be worked on and developed.

2. The city commissioned a Revelstoke Retail Strategy Report in August 2006 which needs to be updated and actively used in drawing appropriate and needed retail businesses to Revelstoke.

3. The city needs to hire someone to assist our current Economic Development Officer, Alan Mason, to actively coordinate and seek out new business opportunities to come to Revelstoke.

4. The Revelstoke Labour Market Survey, prepared in 2015, confirms what most businesses already know — that we have a labour shortage in Revelstoke. As a result, we need to develop labour attraction and retention strategies in order to be able to attract the businesses who need to employ this labour pool. Coupled with that, we will need to develop better housing strategies to assure that Revelstoke has good and affordable housing for the labour force.

5. We need to take a better look at our Official Community Plan and various land bylaws to be sure where and what type of business growth we want to see in Revelstoke.

These are just a few of the areas that I believe we need to address sooner rather than later. It involves a tremendous amount of creativity, energy and work over the next several years. Revelstoke is seen by many others outside of our community as a strong and vibrant city, a “jewel” where people want to live and work and raise their families. That is evident by the number of young people who have come to live in here in the last few years.

The number of volunteers who already devote time and energy in this regard will no doubt allow us to accomplish the goals we set. The strength of Revelstoke has always been in knowing who we are, and working together to make our community the best that it can be.

 

Just Posted

Revelstoke Museum and Archives to host special presentation on Sinixt Nation

As part of National Indigenous Peoples Day, the Revelstoke Museum and Archives… Continue reading

Listen to classical with your libary card

Stream classical music now with your Okanagan Regional Library account with the… Continue reading

Revelstoke Council continues support of chartered flights for 2019

Chartered flights between Revelstoke and Vancouver will again be offered come winter.… Continue reading

Multi-Media Marketing with Myles-the new guy at the Revelstoke Review

The above alliteration has been a common joke floating around the office… Continue reading

Falkland artist favours, fights for fish

Lottie Kozak does all kinds of art; one of her favourite subjects, fish, is dwindling

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

Most Read