A recent conference was held in Sparwood to begin the discussion of creating economic diversity in our community and the entire Elk Valley. The meeting was initiated by Diana Brooks, Regional Manager and Rural B.C. Secretariat for Economic Development as well as Corien Speaker, District of Elkford.
A popular website was mentioned as being a first step in having the Elk Valley and it’s businesses showcased accurately and allowing the Elk Valley to gain regional, national and worldwide recognition. The B.C. Business Network (https://trade.britishcolumbia.ca) is an online resource for businesses hoping to expand their international market. For businesses in the Elk Valley who are not in the market of exporting items or goods, it is still important to be listed on the site, as local business listings will allow the Elk Valley to be correctly portrayed, show each individual communities style and to possibly show the area as one united booming economy. As well, as businesses are listed on the site it will also allow the Elk Valley to target some of the needs that are unique to the area. In most other communities throughout B.C. there are issues with unemployment. In the Elk Valley, businesses are looking for employee’s. “We need to showcase our communities, so that they are attractive enough that people want to not only work here but stay here,” says Speaker. “Currently on the site, our local area is not adequately represented. It is up to us to populate the site so we are represented the way we want to be, analyzing our assets and being able present them is key, “ noted Speaker.
From the discussion of becoming recognized on the B.C. Business Network website the group attending spoke of how to drive businesses to our area allowing the Elk Valley to become more economically diverse. To do this will require an investment attraction strategy, something that Fernie, Elkford and Sparwood are currently lacking. This starting point will allow the Elk Valley communities to come to a solid plan of what the future economic goals are, and what will have to be done to keep people in the area.
In the weeks and months coming a Committee will be established to begin further discussions on economic diversity within Elkford, Sparwood and Fernie. Black Rock News/The Free Press will be keeping you updated on this focus of our community.