The Village of Burns Lake plans to conduct a survey with local residents and businesses to understand the motivations for shopping out of town within the next few months.
This habit has been identified by local businesses as one of the main challenges of having a business in Burns Lake.
Krystin St. Jean, economic development officer for the Village of Burns Lake, said the habit of shopping out of town was also identified as a common issue during many of the village’s public engagement events.
However, the village still can’t say specifically why that has been a habit in Burns Lake. Not knowing the motivations behind this habit makes it harder to find a solution, according to St. Jean.
“There was no common theme as to why people choose to shop out of the community,” explained St. Jean. “The information from the survey would help focus efforts on how to keep local dollars in town.”
When asked what kinds of projects the village could create to entice local shoppers, Jean said the solution could end up being that the village will increase its efforts on current projects such as the Love Burns Lake program or work in partnership with the Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce on new marketing initiatives and workshops.
The plan to conduct this survey was one of the actions included in the village’s economic development plan. Although the plan was adopted by council last month, it did not include specific actions and timelines.
Burns Lake council was presented with this plan again last week; only this time it included specific actions and timelines on each goal.
Another action included in the plan is to develop a marketing strategy to encourage local businesses to be open during the evenings and weekends.
St. Jean said this was also something that community members mentioned during the village’s public engagement events.
“During the consultation of the plan, there was discussion on how it is challenging to entice tourists to stop in the community because of the lack of activity in the community during key times such as evenings and weekends,” said St. Jean. “Having some businesses open during weekends and evening would attract people into downtown and other commercial areas which would encourage tourists to stop and spend time and money in the community.”
This was the first economic development plan completed by the village since the economic development department was established in 2013. According to the village, the plan was developed out of a need to establish a clear direction and vision for economic development in the Burns Lake area.