The results are in!
The Creston Valley-Kootenay Lake Economic Action Partnership (CV-KL EAP) has officially released the outcome from the Economic Action Partnership Strategy Survey to the public.
In October 2017, the communities from Yahk to Yaqan Nukiy to Riondel were invited to participate in surveys on improving the local economy. Overall, about 1000 locals participated – which included approximately 700 individual responses and 300 open-ended questionnaire completions from community groups and associations. The surveys were open to all ages and stages in the community.
Consultants from EcoPlan International (EPI) studied variations between the five areas (Area A, B, C, Lower Kootenay Band, and Town of Creston). Though there were differences in top priorities, every area’s top three rankings were a combination of the overall top five rankings, which included: attraction of more families/young people, improving services, job creation, protection of the region’s character/peacefulness, and attraction of new business and investment.
Similar to area variances, respondents who identified as business owners had slight differences in priorities for improving the local economy. Both groups identified ‘attraction of families/young people’ as their top priority. However, more importance was given to ‘building a thriving local business sector’ and ‘attracting new business and investment’ by business owners, managers, self-employed, artist, and freelance respondents.
The business support survey, which has an extended deadline to January 31st, asks the business community specifics regarding their identified priorities. The CV-KL EAP feels there are many resources available right now to support these individuals. The goal is to educate and steer the business community in the direction they’ve identified, while preparing key support systems in the future.
In November 2017, EcoPlan and the CV-KL EAP hosted over 40 members from the region; which included businesses, community associations, and other key community organizations. The group reviewed survey feedback, determined the priorities, and identified where they can help implement economic actions.
Similar to the survey results, there were slight differences in priority focuses. When considering goals and feasibility, the top rankings from the steering committee included: workforce development and attraction, training and support for new/existing businesses, agriculture, tourism, and increased business collaboration.
The rank differences are not surprising, as each area and citizen group hold strong and unique identities. However, it appears there is common ground – which is great indication regional collaboration around any economic strategy chosen will be successful.
The CV-KL EAP is currently in its’ last stages, Phase 4: Implementation. The partner areas, along with Eco Plan and the CV-KL EAP team, are determining the governance model, structure and most promising ‘strategy’ areas to focus on for the region. Their decisions will be based on overall community feedback, Eco Plan research and recommendations, and collective agreement.
Right now, the objective is to find a model and strategy that works for the entire region. Where there are only winners, and everyone feels supported towards a stronger economy.
To view the survey results and economic snapshot of the Creston Valley-Kootenay Lake region, please visit eap.kes.bc.ca.
Published in the Creston Valley Advance, January 25, 2018
Published in the The Eastshore Mainstreet, February 2018