Two views: Economic development

Invermere Mayoral hopefuls Gerry Taft and Al Miller will weigh in on issues affecting the district each week leading up to November 19.

Question: What is your vision for economic development in the district?


GERRY TAFT: We don’t need economic development and jobs — we need economic diversification and careers. We need to use the information we already have about the economic strengths/weakness, opportunities/threats in our area and work with valley local governments, business leaders, and residents to develop action items and clear strategies to implement on the ground projects.

Some of the key strategies I see coming to the surface include: increasing the amount of light industrial land, encouraging more office space (potentially creating a business incubator to increase our white collar and technology industries), developing a backcountry management plan and developing consensus on locations for new and expanded bike trails, hiking trials, areas for snowmobiling and other recreational amenities, staying firm on zoning that requires a hotel before or instead of condominiums, support for and increasing the number of festivals and events in the “off seasons,” exploration for local co-generation and energy production —  especially if it could help the Canfor Mill in Radium re-open.

What we should not do is continue to only zone more land for second homes, or hire an overpaid economic development officer and try to offer tax breaks to call centres and other businesses to relocate here.

We need to focus on the creation of careers, go for quality versus quantity, and recognize that economic trends go in cycles and the worst thing we can do now is panic and give away our valley and destroy our opportunities for the future in the attempt to see some short term gains.

AL MILLER: We as a community need to focus our energies and deliver the message that we are open for business. A strong community feels sustainable practices and a solid supporting role in culture and recreation will enhance tourism which is now the largest contributor to our current economy. We need to keep pushing this viable sector while looking for new opportunities in other areas.

Unfortunately the forestry business has had several knocks over the years, mainly due to our overall world economy. My hope is that a renewed vision for the forestry sector along with possible value-added products can ignite the once-vibrant lumber industry.

We also need to invest time in individuals and groups who bring their investment ideas to the table and provide guidance and structure so as to meet and fit our Official Community Plan. And talking about the OCP, we need to bring it to the table for review and discussion in order to keep it relevant as time goes on. With proper planning and decision making developers are the district’s opportunity for growth and revitalization. By supporting and encouraging the arts, culture and the recreational growth we will create a community where people will want to live and work. This is our opportunity to build a diverse and strong economy.

To help facilitate all of these actions, we need to employ an enterprising individual with the skill set and energy focused on economic development. A great economy will help balance our environmental and social well being.


Just Posted

The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read