Lorie Watson, Economic Development Officer with the Village of Burns Lake gives a presentation on Nov. 26 about the village’s progress with its economic diversification and community development programs. (Blair McBride photos)

40 per cent of business growth bids underway

The Village of Burns Lake is working on almost half of its planned projects to diversify the local economy and develop the community, according to a presentation on Nov. 26.

Lorie Watson, Economic Development Officer (EDO) with the village specified in her presentation in the council chambers that 40 per cent of the projects are underway, 55 per cent haven’t started yet and 5 per cent are complete.

The completed projects include the council’s finalization of its cannabis policy, which could stimulate the local cannabis industry; the advocacy for a sustainable Annual Allowable Cut in the Lakes Timber Supply Area; and the opening of the local dog park.

RELATED: Council okays new cannabis retail policy

RELATED: New AAC 41 per cent lower than previous limit

RELATED: Dogs to soon get chance to play in park

Of the 28 projects that are in progress some of the most important include addressing entry level labour shortages, developing a housing strategy for the Lakes District and supporting community programs that leverage the skills of local residents.

Of the 19 projects that haven’t started yet, some of the most noteworthy include the approval of a tourism master plan, collaboration with local First nations organizations to link employers with Indigenous employees, and preparing an updated online land inventory.

Watson explained that bringing the various schemes to fruition requires time, community capacity and in many cases significant finances.

“Some of the projects cost a lot of money, such as downtown revitalization. [It] has a high price tag. Other plans move on a step by step basis.”

Mobilizing the community to take ownership of the projects helps them move along faster.

“That’s how the dog park really got off the ground. They heard about it, they got excited about it…they saw if there was interest from people or organizations that would like to take the reigns and bring that forward,” she said.

As solutions to speed up progress, Watson said there needs to be more communication with the public on the details of the projects, more partnerships with community stakeholders and more funding resources.

The EDO gave a snapshot of how Burns Lake is faring in economic development, based on data from Statistics Canada, BC Statistics, and research by the Village.

Out of a regional population of 5,601 a total of 2,550 people are employed. The regional population comprises Burns Lake and the Burns Lake Band, Lake Babine Nation and rural Electoral Areas A and E.

The median income among full-time employed people is $58,884.

Two storefronts along Highway 16 are vacant.

In terms of business owners satisfied with the state of business, 14 per cent said conditions were slow or poor, 36 per cent said fair/steady and 50 per cent said conditions were good or increasing.

A total of 317 business licenses were issued in Burns Lake in 2018, and 11 new businesses were formed. So far in 2019, 326 business licenses were issued.

Watson qualified those numbers in saying that some licenses are for temporary, seasonal or even weekend-long business activities, such as short-term contractors.

The licenses include a temporary category which means doing business fewer than 21 times in a year, and a non-resident category of someone who works here but lives elsewhere, said Sheryl Worthing, Chief Administrative Officer.

The next status update on economic diversification and community development will take place in February of 2020 and will include data on resident satisfaction.


Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
Send Blair an email
Like Lakes District News on Facebook

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This photo of approximately 10 years ago shows Laureen Fabian, on the left, and daughter Caterina Andrews. Fabian went missing last October and her daughter is looking for answers. (Contributed photo)
Laureen Fabian’s disappearance remains a mystery

It’s been a year since she went missing

Adam Schmidt is currently at the BC Children’s Hospital. (GoFundMe/Laurel Miller)
Community comes together for a 15 year old Burns Laker admitted at BC Children’s hospital

A fundraising campaign to support the family is being run now

Last year’s Halloween saw a sunny day and in-person costume contests. (Blair McBride photo)
What’s Burns Lakes’ spooktacular plan for this Halloween?

Trick or treating, online contests and more for this season

WKE students pose with carpentry tools in front of the ADST trailer that will allow the school to have a fully operational mobile wood shop. (Karen Ware photo/Lakes District News)
William Konkin Elementary school undertakes project to teach intentional kindness

Students to learn to build crates, grow produce and share it with community

Daylight savings time ends at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1 2020. (File Photo)
Clocks ‘fall back’ one hour Saturday night

Remember to set your clock back one hour on Saturday night, as… Continue reading

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Most Read