I would like to take this opportunity to inform the citizens of Trail as well as the citizens of the Lower Columbia Region about our regional commitment to economic development and the steps that we have taken to create a cohesive, comprehensive, region-wide approach to the challenges and opportunities of economic development in our region.
As a result of a partnership between Rossland, Warfield, Trail, Montrose, Fruitvale and Electoral Areas “A” and “B”, the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation was formed in 2010. The Lower Columbia Initiatives (LCI) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Lower Columbia Community Development Team whose mandate is to provide economic development services within the Lower Columbia Region and to serve as the “first point of contact” as opportunities develop. In addition, where appropriate the LCI also takes the lead on projects and initiatives that are deemed to be of economic benefit.
The Lower Columbia Initiatives has a Board of Directors comprised of 11 dedicated business and community leaders who willingly contribute their time and expertise for the benefit of the communities within the Lower Columbia Region. Some of the services provided by the Lower Columbia Initiatives include advice on such thing as business start-up, growth and relocation. The LCI also provides up-to-date information to assist existing businesses with their business planning and to potential new investors who are seeking information on such things as demographics, economic trends, transportation or emerging opportunities.
Marketing the Lower Columbia Region as a place to invest, relocate or visit is an important service provided by Lower Columbia Initiatives whose objective is to gain local, provincial, national and international exposure on the business and lifestyle opportunities that exist in our region. Visit the recently developed LCIC website (www.lcic.ca) and take a look for yourself at what our great region has to offer.
We are very fortunate to have the degree of economic diversity in our region and there is significant potential for future economic growth by building on our existing assets and knowledge. Opportunities exist to expand our tourism sector as well as in emerging industries such as recycling and metals reclamation. The Lower Columbia Initiatives is mandated to get the word out to potential investors who are seeking business opportunities in a region where lifestyle is one of its greatest strengths.
While attracting new businesses to our region is a key objective of the Lower Columbia Initiatives, we recognize that the economic well being of our region is based upon our existing businesses and in recognition of this the Lower Columbia Initiatives is spearheading a regional economic development project that focuses on the retention and expansion of existing business in our region.
The Business Retention and Expansion project will be underway in March and we encourage businesses throughout the Lower Columbia region to participate in this initiative so that we may identify the needs, concerns and opportunities of existing businesses in order that, where appropriate, local action can be taken to respond to the businesses’ needs or development opportunities.
The LCIC has been a very positive addition to the region. While the office has a regional focus, it also provides assistance with localized projects that could provide a regional benefit if further developed. One example of this is the feasibility study that the LCIC spearheaded to look at the benefits of developing a Columbia River Interpretive Centre and Museum somewhere within the City. The comprehensive study will consider other potential uses for the facility, the economic spinoff benefits and returns as well as the construction and operating costs. This information will greatly assist in making a decision on whether to pursue such a development and also can be used to attract funding partners and make applications for grants in the future.
While the LCIC is still in its formative stages as a new organization, the benefits to the area of a regionally coordinated office such as this cannot be understated. Further, as the organization continues to grow and mature it will become increasingly more effective. Therefore, we must as a City provide the organization with our full support in recognition of the value that it adds to our area now and for the foreseeable future.
Dieter Bogs is the Mayor of Trail. Community Comment is written by elected officials from municipal councils in Greater Trail.