As local population declines in the wake of Canfor’s Canal Flats mill closure in November, the village is adding its presence to the valley-wide Resident Attraction and Retention Advisory Committee to seek some new residents.
“This is a valley-wide program; we should be at that table,” said Coun. Paul Marcil, who has been appointed as Canal Flats’ alternate representative on the committee. Mayor Ute Juras has been appointed as Canal Flats’ main representative. The Village of Canal Flats currently has 715 residents, though that number has likely already decreased as a result of the Canfor mill closure in November. (The 2006 census — the most recent official measurement of the population of Canal Flats — puts the official population at 700 people.)
In November, a $50,000 implementation contract for the resident retention plan was awarded to Calgary companies MDB Insight and Splash Media Group, who previously created a Resident Attraction and Retention Plan for Salmon Arm, which helped that municipality’s growth go from being static to increasing by nine per cent.
The resident retention plan arose from the now-defunct Columbia Valley Directed Funds Committee of the RDEK. Though the committee is finished, the valley-wide initiative to increase the region’s full-time population has been funded so far with leftover money from the committee, meaning taxpayers in valley municipalities and rural areas are financially off the hook for it.
The Resident Attraction and Retention Advisory Committee will meet once more under local government direction, before it is turned over to the valley’s business community to continue the project.