Chamber Strikes New Economic Development Commitee

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Feb. 23, 2013

There are some bright minds working to spur economic development in the District of Squamish.


Jeff Cooke is the new interim chair of the chamber economic development committee.

Now, they will be joined by some new and old friends.

The Squamish Chamber of Commerce has struck a new economic development committee, with Jeff Cooke as its interim chair.

Squamish Chamber of Commerce president Chris Pettingill said the committee hasn’t met yet officially.

Its broad purpose, however, would be to ‘define’ and ‘figure out’ how to stimulate and propel economic development in town.  

He said it would be a collaborative effort, and the committee hopes to work with the district and other stakeholders.

The chamber committee would like to create a concrete, more measurable framework for economic development in Squamish.

“We all want to move things quickly,” he added.

The last economic development committee and its findings were lost in a swirl of personality conflicts, resignations, allegations and counter allegations.

This would mark a fresh start, Petingill added.

“We have all learned from all that has happened.”

Former Mayoral candidate Auli Parviainen is a member of the new chamber committee.

Speaking as a citizen who has attended the district economic development committee, she said while the district is making an effort to stimulate economic development, it seems to lack clear direction.

She said it was important to set clear terms of reference and objectives with very specific timelines and benchmarks for execution.

“I am not sure if I have missed those but so far I don’t seem to recall seeing them,” she said.

She said it would have been money well spent to understand what approach and format the economic development should take.

“Economic development is a very significant challenge for Squamish and the trouble is that we don’t know if our approach is working,” she added.

 Meantime, the district of Squamish has launched four short videos, each focusing on the themes of Workforce, Growth, Lifestyle, and Location.

Titled ‘Squamish – A Place for Business’ provide an overview of all four themes. Mayor Rob Kirkham said the videos were created to stimulate external business interest and excitement.

He said the Economic Development Officer will work over the coming few weeks to share these videos far and wide.

“They tell our story to potential investors in a way that is authentic and captivating,” said Mayor Kirkham.


  1. moe says:

    To clarify a few untruths here. The last SCOC Ec Dev. Committee was not lost in a swirl of conflicts of any sort. The group worked well together all in all , however at the time the board definitely had personality conflicts. Just like all boards in a democracy. Unfortunately emotions and personalities in the end out weighed the very proactive objectives set out by the ec dev committee and previously approved by that same board. ” election year ”

    Part of the issue I see is we always want a fresh start, why not continue to complete the work of the last group. I am sure The DOS and The RD could use the information gathered in the 100 + surveys towards some great economic development initiatives.

    -Time lines and bench marks not being set in government comes as no surprise, or should I rephrase government not hitting bench marks and time lines is no surprise.The structure of local government does not allow for the private sector lack of performance implications “dismissal” . Elected officials employ 1 person. The remaining bureaucracy is employed by that one person. Think of it as a closed loop chain, get rid of one link and the chain is broken, add a link and everyone has to be brought up to re connected.

    Staff often sets time lines as very few elected officials are in the same professions as people employed by a local government and therefore may not have the resources to do comparisons. However this is where taxpayers get the bang for the buck. As some elected officials will seek out those comparisons and hold The CAO to account.

    Others will play nice and ask you to pay more to buy more time to complete what should already be done.

    As far as what Squamish has done and the direction they have indicated they would like to head in, it is far better than a one party democracy we had that tended to meddle in the day to day business of The Chamber past. So SCOC see this as your opportunity to get done what you need to get done, we are waiting with open eyes and ears, and look forward to moving forward.