What are the key issues for economic development in your community?
Rather than try to be newer, bigger or better, we build on the outstanding resources and partnerships we have in this community. Our Guaranteed Rugged branding program, for example, promotes the wide range of outdoor adventure activities, rich history and authentic culture in the area with our close proximity to the lower mainland and our awesome climate. 'Get Busy Living' as we say.
Our website is accessible in eleven languages to reach target investors and potential residents internationally. The steady increase in web traffic and increased number of enquiries are definite indicators that we are being noticed and doing something right.
Agriculture, including vineyards, is another area of focus. Innovative businesses like Fort Berens Estate Winery and the Bitterbine Hop Company are major successes for a rural community of this size, and again focus on the assets we have. They also reinforce the natural advantages we are drawing attention to in Lillooet’s other agricultural opportunities.
What projects are you currently focused on supporting in Lillooet?
We’re working on a major project to improve the community’s infrastructure around water usage. A $10 million project scheduled for completion in late 2014 is all about providing safe drinking water and will give us a strong foundation for new investment attraction initiatives.
What projects have been most personally satisfying for you?
I’m passionate about community interaction and what can be accomplished through partnerships and people from all areas working together for the common good. I’m particularly proud of the positive working relations we have with First Nations – they are integral to every aspect of life in the community, from our history and culture, to the support of local businesses, health care and the not-for-profit sector. To me that is a truly holistic approach to economic development and creating entrepreneurial opportunities.