By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Feb. 23, 2013
There are some bright minds working to spur economic development in the District of Squamish.
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.