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Posted: August 4, 2020

Summit focuses on strategies to strengthen regional economy

Mayor Lee Pratt

Understanding the economic climate post COVID-19, and the creation of regional economic development strategies is behind a collaborative strategic planning session held in Cranbrook last week.

The roundtable, held on July 29 at the Cranbrook History Centre, was led by City of Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt, City of Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick and Village of Canal Flats Mayor Karl Sterzer and designed to help develop a series of recommendations on investment attraction for the city and the region’s economic development programs.

The session focus was on understanding the current state of the energy, forestry, mining, aerospace and defense sectors in Cranbrook and region.

“This was one of many steps we are taking to determine what type of investment in the region is best suited to attract,” said Mayor Pratt. “Meetings like this and others will help us target realistic economic development goals.”

“Creating real economic impact in a rural region is difficult; the leadership from this group is strong and determined to make things happen,” said Mayor McCormick.

“We are looking forward to the continued collaboration with all forms of business, other local governments, First Nations, and the RDEK to bring to pass jobs and economic success in our region,” added Mayor Karl Sterzer.

Other participants in the summit included: College of the Rockies, the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST), the Columbia Lake Technology Centre, the Columbia Broadband Corporation, the Canadian Rockies International Airport, and several regional business leaders.

Mayor Don McCormick

The City of Cranbrook received over $113,600.00 in additional funding for economic development Initiatives in 2020 highlighted by an $80,000 award from the Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (MFLNRORD) for Economic Resiliency Initiatives – Post-COVID and $33,600.00 from CanExport for the creation of a foreign direct investment strategy.

“While COVID has been a challenge for all of us in the valley, it’s not all bad news. For example, the City of Cranbrook Building Permits over the last five years is over $210 million compared to $133 million the previous five years. We are on pace for the best year in a 10-year period with 2020 estimated to be at over $55 million,” said Darren Brewer, Business Development Officer for the City of Cranbrook.

“We are lucky to have had this wave of momentum, our downtown is looking better, and the Tembec lands project holds a lot promise. Our future looks bright and this Summit was a great first step in our planning post COVID.”

City of Cranbrook photo

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