Mayoral candidates plan to boost economy

Last week mayoral candidate Scott Nelson announced he would shut down the City’s Business Expansion and Attraction Strategy task force if he becomes mayor. Nelson called the task force a “barrier” that would “create more red tape.”

Last week mayoral candidate Scott Nelson announced he would shut down the City’s Business Expansion and Attraction Strategy task force if he becomes mayor. Nelson called the task force a “barrier” that would “create more red tape.”

In September council approved the strategy and task force that would report to council with recommendations before the end of the year.

According to the City, the BEAS will seek input from a range of stakeholders and community partners; the task force will be comprised of individuals with experience from the business community and provide council with recommendations based on their knowledge. The City says the role of the task force would be to become familiar with the BEAS and recommend priorities and approaches to implement various components of the strategy.

However, Nelson said he would cancel the task force.

“I think this is a time when we need to have action,” he said, proposing that he would move the existing economic development office into the mayor’s office, prioritize economic development and maintain the City’s economic development corporation.

Nelson announced he would target $15 million for residential, commercial and industrial building permits in the City in the first year; $20 million in the second and $30 million in the third.

Nelson called those numbers “realistic targets” and said they are achievable if the City “hustles for it.” That approach, he insisted, will be assisted by the boom he foresees in the community in the next five years. That is based on improved highway infrastructure, future mine development, natural gas deposits out west, and a revival of the forest sector.

Nelson added he would target big box stores to be installed in Williams Lake’s southwest end, as well as pursue businesses for the downtown core and for the City’s northend industrial lands.

As for how taxation would fit into Nelson’s economic development strategy, he said he would   not be releasing those details for another week.

“I’m a big believer in being very aggressive. Interest rates are at an all-time low right now,” he said. “This is acquisition time. Time to go out and be building your assets; building your communities; building your business and trying to move the ball forward and I think Williams lake is perhaps one of the few in the province that is so well situated.”

Mayor Kerry Cook defended the task force calling it “bigger than the election.”

“We’re asking key people in the community to be a part of this and what we’re doing is shaping the future of economic development in the City.”  Cook says by the time the new council is sworn in in December the task force will be ready to make its recommendations to council which, if required, will then be tied to the City’s budget process.

“We need to move this away from ad-hoc decision making and move toward a strategic co-ordinated approach … . I value the expertise in the community and I believe our people are an untapped resource that I really want to be able to continue to tap into in the future.”

Mayoral candidate Walt Cobb said he would not shut the task force down, saying he supported the concept.

“Talking with people is always a good idea,” he said.

According to data provided by the City, building permits in 2007 were valued at $10 million, in 2008 valued at $24 million, in 2009 valued at $26 million and in 2010 at $12 million.

Just Posted

(File photo)
Firearms investigation on Winger Road the result of increased gang activity: RCMP

When police attempted to stop a vehicle, it sped away

Shearwater is located in the Great Bear Rainforest on the West Coast of B.C. (Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association photo)
Heiltsuk Nation buys historic Shearwater Resort and Marina

Chief Marilyn Slett said Heiltsuk Nation has always valued its relationship with the company

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Tinder, an online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other’s profiles. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. man granted paternity test to see if Tinder match-up led to a ‘beautiful baby’

The plaintiff is seeking contact with the married woman’s infant who he believes is his child

Nurse Tami Arnold prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine. (Kareem Elgazzar/AP)
B.C. adults 30+ now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Health officials made the announcement Wednesday afternoon

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness walks beside an enormous western red cedar stump in a BCTS-issued cutblock in the Nahmint Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TJ WATT)
Watchdog: logging practices put Vancouver Island old growth, biodiversity at risk

Forest Practices Board has issues with BC Timber Sales practices in Nahmint Valley near Port Alberni

Most Read