Special to The Valley Echo
After attending a three-day economic development conference in Victoria from October 26th to 28th, Councillor Karl Sterzer pitched the idea that Canal Flats’ current struggle with losing its primary industry could come with a silver lining.
“Although it’s brutal, you have a once-in-a-100-year opportunity to make your community,” said Sterzer of the Canfor mill closure, reflecting on knowledge he gleaned from the BC Economic Development Association (BCEDA) workshop. Sterzer produced a 28-page report for council to better understand the strategies and ideas encountered.
“It was fascinating that communities out there, which I would consider successful players in terms of attracting economy, all had their key players there,” he said of the conference, which emphasized reputation management as an important part of attracting business.
“Your community is a mouse click away; you can be put out of the game before the game even begins,” said Sterzer of the importance of a municipality having the right corporate attitude and media image. “Revelstoke is a great example. If you’ve noticed, Revelstoke, in last 15 years, it has changed dramatically.”
The BCEDA played a key role in Canmore and High River after severe flooding in the summer of 2013, Sterzer noted, adding it’s an organization that can help Canal Flats specifically in the wake of the mill closure. The conference took a closer look at the village by holding a workshop on Canal Flats’ challenges, including a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis.
The conference emphasized the importance of embracing local business. Taking advantage of a community’s own natural assets is often more cost-effective than trying to compete with neighbouring communities, Sterzer noted.
Water merging complete
After the recent completion of a 12-day water line flushing program, the Village of Canal Flats and its two newest subdivisions, Eagle’s Nest and Painted Ridge, are now on the same water system.
“Everyone is drinking the same water at this point,” said Councillor Paul Marcil, who chairs the village’s Water System Upgrade Committee. He clarified that “the water is being used, but it’s still not potable. We’re waiting for Interior Health to complete final testing for Eagle’s Nest.”
The villlage expected to have those sampling results by November 13th.
All construction work for the merged water system project is expected to wrap up by November 24th. Work on a booster station and water lines have been taking place this month.