The Town of Golden and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District have plans underway to strategize economic development in the area.
Promoting local business and employment has been a task of the Town and the CSRD, and was an important area of concern for the Kicking Horse Country Chamber of Commerce during the last election. Together, the CSRD and the Town have been working toward implementing new strategies around economic development in the area.
The Town of Golden Mayor Ron Oszust, CAO Jon Wilsgard, and CSRD Area A director Karen Cathcart have been working on a plan to promote economic development, and discussed the implications at the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference.
“We talked about the value of this function,” Cathcart said, adding that she and town council are moving forward with an economic development function.
Earlier this month, the Chamber of Commerce requested $45,000 from the economic opportunity fund (EOF), which requires the support of town council and the Area A director. Both town council and the Area A director affirmed to not support the application for EOF.
“We will not be pursuing other funding for economic development,” Chamber president Magi Scallion stated, adding that the chamber is interested in being a part of the economic development planning and execution that will be brought forward. “We’re very interested in seeing ho that all plays out.”
The Chamber wanted to utilize the funds to identify community priorities and how an economic development function could support the priorities. They had planned on hiring a consultant to engage with local businesses, seasonal and permanent residents, community leaders, and political leadership, which would be used to create an action plan for the future of an economic development role.
For funding applications to be approved for the EOF, both levels of government need to support it before it is sent to the CSRD board.
“The two local governments are presently discussing the potential for a renewed economic development function,” stated Oszust, adding that the Town communicated with the chamber president and discussed the letter they presented to council. “As a council, we are expecting a report from director Cathcart in the near future that will set the foundation for our discussions going forward.”
The funding application was ultimately not supported because both levels of government are in the midst of discussing what the economic development function will look like.
“We are one community here. We have two local governments, and collectively between the Town and the CSRD… We’re moving forward with the two local governments on economic development,” Cathcart said.
Cathcart is expected to make a presentation to town council in December to move forward with economic development in Golden and the surrounding area.