Happy Spring, Creston Valley-Kootenay Lake residents! Along with birds singing and flowers blooming, the Creston Valley-Kootenay Lake Economic Action Partnership (CV-KL EAP) is entering a season of growth and action – the emergence of our regional economic strategy.

At the beginning of April, the last of six stakeholder meetings was completed – which wrapped-up all community engagement activities for the project. In total, 125 participants took part in the series of stakeholder meetings. These meetings reviewed emergent priorities and collaboratively created action items to be included in the regional economic strategy – which is set to be released this May.

Since the stakeholder meetings, the CV-KL EAP team has worked closely with strategy consultants, EcoPlan International, to develop the written strategy. Five pillars have been identified – which include tourism and recreational access, local business, agriculture, quality of life and resident attraction, and exploring new markets. Within each pillar, priority actions have been organized in a ”tiered” scale – which provides a suggested timeline and work plan for when action items can commence.

To support the pillars, distinct foundational actions are recognized – which are consistent activities that will support the success and advancement of priority actions. Examples of foundational actions include facilitating business-to-business collaboration, liaising, linking and supporting industry groups, and being a single point of contact for economic inquiries. Ideally, the foundational actions will be overseen by one (or two) entities to ensure the strategy is well supported in the region.

As the written strategy concludes, the CV-KL EAP team continues to work closely with project partners to determine governance, structure, ongoing funding and implementation of the regional economic strategy. The partners agree – a combination of government and community direction is needed for economic development to be successful. However, choosing a model that best works for our area is not an easy task. Many successful models exist, but ensuring the function is reflective and supportive of our regional values is important to the partners. Even though careful steps are being taken, there is a sense of confidence as the team strides towards determining next steps of the project.

In the meantime, the CV-KL EAP has updated their project website to support the community in various ways. Through the project, a few documents have been created to analyze the regional economic landscape. Documents include a regional economic snapshot and community engagement report. These can be accessed by the public by visiting eap.kes.bc.ca/project-documents/. As well, a business resource page was developed to provide the public with informative material – which includes market research and past community studies. Resources can be accessed by visiting eap.kes.bc.ca/resources/.

Anticipating the release of the economic action strategy? Stay in the loop by visiting our project website eap.kes.bc.ca, Facebook page @crestonvalleykootenaylake, or email economy@kes.bc.ca to be included in the email subscription list for updates.

Article published in The Creston Valley Advance Newspaper.