Penticton residents get a first look at the city’s new economic development strategy at city council’s meeting on Feb. 6.
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said the city has been trying to refine its focus on economic development over the past year, and the new 2018-2022 strategic plan is the result.
City staff engaged with business leaders and reached out with a business retention and expansion survey to help identify key priorities. Alongside the staff work, the Economic Development and Prosperity Task Force began meeting.
Jakubeit said 100 different businesses were visited to get their feedback and the task force interviewed community stakeholders to identify key issues.
The key result areas identified to be addressed over the next five years are:
- Communication: developing key messaging and reporting to internal and external stakeholders.
- Collaboration: identifying strategic partnerships and working towards common goals.
- Retention and expansion: focusing on businesses currently within the community.
- Attraction: focusing on bringing businesses, investment and labour to Penticton.
- Organizational excellence: continually improving the economic development department.
“I think the retention expansion is probably our number one priority for our economic development strategy moving forward. And I think that’s going to get elaborated on a bit more on Tuesday,” said Jakubeit.
Jakubeit said the city’s economic investment zone program, which is winding down, will also be a subject of discussion in 2018.
“The EIZ have worked and now they are actually coming to an end. Do we continue or modify?” Asked Jakubeit.
Jakubeit feels the city is doing a good job balancing economic development with other community issues, noting the parks and rec. master plan and the official community plan review, along with reviewing outdated policies.
“We’re really talking about all those sorts of pillars that add to a community, add to the quality of life,” said Jakubeit. “We’re trying to balance the and concerns of residents and the concerns of businesses.”
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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