Editorial: Attracting and keeping residents is key

The valley may be a fantastic spot, but it’s not always easy for everybody to live here.

The valley may be a fantastic spot, but it’s not always easy for everybody to live here.

Invermere and the other Upper Columbia Valley communities have many things going for them (spectacular location, friendly people, top-notch amenities) but they simply do not have the same job opportunities that larger cities such as Calgary or Toronto do. And while some local residents quite enjoy things as they are, if Invermere and the rest of the valley communities are to continue offering the many great services and programs they do  — let alone enhance and expand them —  more people need to come live (and pay taxes) here.

All of which makes the Columbia Valley Directed Funds Committee’s recent move to create a Permanent Resident Retention and Attraction Plan (see Kevin Nimmock’s story on page two) a smart decision.

The plan, as proposed by Invermere mayor Gerry Taft, seeks to lure location-independent individuals (those whose jobs are not tied to a specific place and who can work from wherever they please).  The valley gets more residents, but doesn’t have to figure out how to create the jobs needed to bring them in.

Certainly the valley can be appealing to such ‘locationless’ people — what digital entreprenuer wouldn’t enjoy being able to shut down her or his laptop mid-morning to go for a swim in the lake, or hit the local trails, before resuming work in the afternoon?

But the valley isn’t the only place to offer this potential and a formal plan is just the thing the valley needs to get the jump on all the other beautiful Kootenay towns that might have similar ideas.

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