In December 2013, the Columbia Valley Community Priorities Plan was completed. This plan was created with broad community input, and a total of 181 people from up and down the Columbia Valley participated in stakeholder consultations.
The plan identifies five top priorities:
• Branding, Marketing and Promotion
• Economic Development and Business Growth
• Affordable Housing
• Arts and Culture
The Columbia Valley Advisory Committee (formerly the Columbia Valley Community Directed Funds Committee), which is supported by Columbia Basin Trust, has taken the lead or partnered with other groups to work on many of these initiatives. The Committee is comprised of the five RDEK Columbia Valley Directors along with three to five community members. As the Committee Chair, it is wonderful to see projects move forward that are a result of this plan.
The Branding, Marketing and Promotion initiative has had some recent developments. In January and April 2015, we hosted workshops targeted towards the tourism sector. As a result of those workshops, a steering committee was created and tasked with the development of a governance model to support valley-wide marketing for the tourism sector. The goal was to see if the tourism players could find a common ground on which to work together.
There is support from the large tourism resorts as well as small operators, restaurants and attractions.
This process has highlighted that many people from different backgrounds and perspectives can work together, recognizing that when we do work together we can achieve more than working independently. Pooling our resources and skills, as well as leveraging other funding sources, is proving to be a key to success.
I would like to thank everyone who has been part of the process thus far and I look forward to continuing to work on this project and others for the benefit of the valley.
Wendy Booth is the Regional District of East Kootenay Director for Area F and the RDEK board’s vice chair. She can be reached at email@example.com or 250-345-6155.