Busy is an appropriate word to use for Golden’s Community Economic Development.
In January, the organization presented its 4th Quarter Report to Golden Town Council, outlining efforts that have been made in implementing the Golden Area Community Economic Development Strategy. It is a strategy that forms the basis for the group’s annual work plans.
In 2022, Community Economic Development partnered with Work BC, Child Care Resource and Referral and Interior Health to calculate a living wage in 2022.
“The living wage for Golden is $25.56 per hour for a family of four with each parent working 35 hours per week,” noted the report.
Golden CED is working with the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute to create profiles for developing economic sectors, including clean technology, agriculture and light manufacturing. And quarterly meetings are held with local stakeholders to support inter-agency communication, identify emerging trends and opportunities, and work on planning and supporting the business community of Golden and Area A.
CED has been in contact with Town of Golden staff to begin talks around signage, wayfinding and beautification of the downtown and businesses on the south side of the Kicking Horse Bridge.
Business retention has also been a priority. The organization continues to analyze and improve the online finditingolden.com site and added nine new businesses in the fourth quarter of 2022. A “New Location Spotlight” highlights businesses that recently moved to the area, and a well-received campaign that ran in November and December encouraged people to shop local. As well, CED continues to support businesses with one-to-one support, referrals and resources.
Completed in November 2022, CED’s Local Housing Resource Guide is available on their website (goldenced.ca) and is a compilation of rental resources for residents and people looking to relocate to the community. As well, Town of Golden Council gave unanimous approval to entering a memorandum of understanding with the non-profit organization in which the town intends to transfer property to the society on the condition that CED develop and maintain affordable housing.
The proposal includes a four-story building at 525 and 527 9 Ave North (next to DJ’s Paper Place) that will consist of commercial units on the ground floor and residential units on the floors above. Golden CED anticipates a design incorporating a mix of unit sizes with 30 rental apartments in total.
Golden CED has been working on a fundraising strategy for the development and has already submitted a significant grant application for the commercial component of the project.
“Their priorities are really wide and are set by strategy,” says Mayor Ron Oszust Ron, praising Golden CED on all fronts. “And while it’s great to focus energy on prioritizing issues, they also provide great information.”
Oszust points out that affordable housing is a huge priority for many people, requires many players to develop successfully and is a critical component to consider for Golden’s future.
“From my perspective, the most valuable component is having an entity that is willing develop, own and operate housing on a long term basis,” he says. “That’s the component that has been missing in our community and now we have it, thanks to CED.”