Carly Pereboom of Port Hardy and District Chamber of Commerce

Regional District plans for future

Tourism to play an increasing role in the local economy Strategic Sector Planning workshop hears.

SEVEN HILLS—Forestry remains the dominant industry on North Vancouver Island, but tourism will continue to play an increasing role in the local economy in coming years.

That was part of the message shared as the Regional District of Mount Waddington took the first steps toward and update of its decade-old economic plan by hosting a Strategic Sector Planning workshop at Seven Hills Golf and Country Club last Thursday.

The workshop featured a presentation by William Trousdell and Colleen Hamilton of EcoPlan International, a Vancouver-based consulting firm. They addressed local civic officials, business owners and First Nations economic planners who attended to contribute their suggestions and recommendations to the proposed economic plan.

“We need to rely on your knowledge to move this strategy forward,” said Trousdell. “We want you to think about what this region is going to look like in 20 years, and we’ll walk back from there to determine the steps necessary to achieve that future.”

A steering committee made up of local volunteers identified five key economic sectors on the North Island — Forestry, cultural and adventure tourism, marine, small business, and education and training.

Each was represented by a large wall poster, and workshop participants were urged to write their respective visions for those sectors, along with emerging opportunities, barriers and ways governments can advance each of them.

Trousdell and Hamilton presented dates highlighting some of the trends and challenges facing the North Island, including a dramatic population decline over the last 20 years.

Forestry has seen a decline in that time, though it remains the No. 1 employer in the region, followed by the public sector. On the other hand, gains have been made with the recent completion of two renewable energy projects — the Cape Scott Wind Farm and the Kokish Run-of-River Hydro project — and aquaculture and tourism are on the rise.

Craig Murray of Nimmo Bay Resort approved the inclusion of tourism as one of the five selected economic sectors, noting the summary of the 2003-04 regional economic plan did not even include the word tourism.

Trousdell and Hamilton will take the input gathered from last week’s workshop and create a workshop report to present RDMW’s director of economic development, Pat English, and planning director Jonah Velaniskis.

“We’ll do more research on each sector and then provide (RDMW) with a list of recommendations,” said Hamilton. “That can help them make a draft plan to take to the public, and it’s always easier for people to comment when they have something to start from.”

The work of EcoPlan Int’l is funded through the RDMW, Vancouver Island North Tourism and Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET).

 

Just Posted

Port Alice trailer goes up in flames in the early morning hours

The North Island Gazette will continue to update the story with more details as it progresses.

1041 customers without power due to outages in Northern Vancouver Island

Keep following the North Island Gazette for more on the power outages.

VIDEO: Sports Talk with Tyson: North Island Bantam Eagles are ready for provincials

Sports Talk with Tyson is back this week with an indepth look at the North Island Bantam Eagles.

Ferry connecting Port Hardy and Bella Coola expected to set sail this summer

Its first in-service route will sail in central coast waters on May 18, 2019.

REPLAY: B.C’s best videos this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Support pours in for Vancouver Island couple whose home was destroyed by massive blaze

GoFundMe page reached $10,000 in one day for soon-to-be parents

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found in Cowichan Valley

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

Most Read