Working together is better

An increased focus on Burns Lake's economic development leads to another economic development officer position proposed

There has been an increased focus on economic development in the Lakes District following the Babine Forest Products tragedy.

While economic development was one of the recommendations given to the Village of Burns Lake by the Economic Development Association of B.C. following their recent town hall meeting, I think that it certainly goes without saying that community growth and development of infrastructure should always be on the village’s agenda.

During January, the village and the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako’s (RDBN) area B, Burns Lake rural, announced that they would be cutting off funding to the Lakes Economic Development Association (LEDA) resulting in a $60,000 per year loss to the organization that was chiefly responsible for attracting economic development to the area.

Confusing as that may have been at the time, the issue has become somewhat clearer with the news that village and the RDBN’s area B are going to hire an economic development officer (EDO) themselves.

Now you may wonder or ask why another EDO? We have one through the local LEDA office. A not so clear answer was given … saying they wanted to reevaluate the current vision for economic development.

It seems that hiring another economic development officer is reinventing the wheel somewhat.

Yes, the community needs to focus on economic development as community infrastructure is tied to its potential for future growth, but a single focussed effort would probably be of more benefit.

We will now have two officers … will they be working in the same direction, competing for the same grants? LEDA is out $60 grand … could they have been more accommodating to their huge donors so they could have kept their funding and could all three organizations have not worked towards a common goal?

I guess not, because the funding was yanked. It’s a shame because that’s one thing I have noticed about our town – we can’t seem to work together and join forces – a perfect example is the new health clinic starting up.

One person won’t bend or work as a team, so the other person decides to do something on their own. Community infrastructure is important and is needed for further economic development.

If you don’t have community infrastructure, then it’s hard to recruit professionals and retain businesses as well as encourage people to open up new businesses in town. You can’t have one without the other.

Burns Lake is now, more than ever looking to find its way in an increasingly global economy.

It’s a big sand box so it’s time that we all start playing together.