The Nakusp and Area Development Board and the Chamber of Commerce invite you to develop the shape of things to come in the area.

Nakusp on the cusp: Update on the Arrow Lakes Economic Summit

A vision of the future of a town doesn’t come from one person peering into a crystal ball; the NADB has been formulating a view as to what time could bring to the area, and hopes to update the vision after community feedback and census data which will be available next summer are looked at.

Laurie Page is ready to move into the future, and she wants everyone to come along. Invigorated by a vision of Nakusp-to-be which came into being as a result of people getting together and discussing the area’s multifaceted potentials, Page is now hoping people in the area will come together to shape the direction of local economic development.

Talking with her last week, her determination and drive is obvious, and ideas are in abundance as is her careful and pragmatic approach.

She is the first to say that the vision produced by the Nakusp and Area Development Board (NADB) is a draft which needs to be ratified by the community at large so the next steps for economic development can be taken.

A vision of the future of a town doesn’t come from one person peering into a crystal ball; the NADB has been formulating a view as to what time could bring to the area, and hopes to update the vision after community feedback and census data which will be available next summer are looked at.

During a series of economic meetings run last year, with the Chamber of Commerce as the sponsoring organization and support from both the Village and CBT, the NADB explored topics key to local economic development.

The public meetings offered people living in the region an opportunity to educate themselves about economic realities and opportunities. The talks ranged over forestry, community economic development, agriculture, tourism and land development and were well-attended.

Once the talks ended, something of a picture emerged from the dialogue that had arisen during the meetings, and this became the basis for the current draft of the Economic Vision which was put into words by Laurie Page.

“Although I wrote those documents, they are in fact based on a lot of research and process. I have tried to honestly reflect what people have been saying over the years up to and including last year, and I’d like to know if people think I got it right,” Page emailed to the Arrow Lakes News. Now, she is interested in hearing if her summary accurately reflects the experience of individuals at the meeting, and if anything else came up that people think should be included.

“I don’t know much about arts and culture,” Page gave as an example of an area she doesn’t have expertise in and is looking to get input about, “It’s a significant shift in town. Having way more venues for [art] may influence real estate values and may have a driving economic effect.”

At the moment, there are lots of very good and workable ideas, but the direction that the board takes must be in line with where the community wants to go, which is why the NADB is inviting people to read and respond to the economic summit and vision documents available online.

“For the economic vision, I want to ask people: Is this a vision you could agree with? Would you still want to live here/move here if all of this were to happen? Is it a reasonable vision for us to work towards collectively? What is missing?” she asked, and is hoping to get a response so action can be taken to do what needs to be done, economically speaking.

“I would like to give people to a chance to get involved … either with the Chamber of Commerce or the Development Board,” Page said, who would like to see robust organizations develop for the area.

What is the next step for the NADB?

“Have a strategic planning meeting, develop a plan,” Page answered, something she sees must be a community effort.

“It’s got to be a consensus,” she repeated, “I really believe in the power of collective wisdom.”

The Economic Vision draft and the report on the Arrow Lakes Economic Summit can be found online at www.nadb.ca. Feedback is encouraged and can be emailed to info@nadb.ca or contact Laurie Page 250-265-4542. Public internet access is available in Nakusp at the library and CBAL.

Economic Vision Summary

“By 2025, the Arrow Lakes region is capitalizing on its assets to sustain a vibrant economy in self-reliant mountain communities. We have maintained our connection to resource-based industries, and a significant part of our basic economy is forestry and mining.

At the same time, our valley has attracted lifestyle migrants who appreciate the scenic beauty, friendly communities, clean environment, recreational and cultural amenities, and self-reliant culture.

The development of an integrated approach to tourism has resulted in a year-round tourism industry. “Wellness” businesses, centred around the hot springs, are a significant draw for both tourism and lifestyle migrants.

Agriculture plays a significant role in our trend towards valley-wide self-reliance, and is a small part of our export economy.

Arts, culture and heritage activities add to the quality of life and attract tourists, and are a small part of the export economy.

Service industries and retail outlets are thriving, due to good succession planning, the availability of training locally, and business support.

One of our strengths in 2025 is our ability to work together across the region through networks in each sector and community. Our coordinated approach enables us to quickly adapt to changing external forces and maximize our efforts.

Regionally and for each community, infrastructure needs (e.g. housing, water, transportation) are planned and developed pro-actively using data from CBT and Selkirk College. High-speed Internet connectivity is available throughout the valley. We have in place diverse housing options, public transportation connecting our communities, and sufficient infrastructure to support anticipated growth. Our ferry bottleneck problem of the early 2000’s has been solved.”

Public feedback on these documents, which can be found on our nadb.ca website, is welcomed.

The Nakusp and District Chamber of Commerce (NDCC) and Nakusp and Area Development Board (NADB) are working together to follow up on the meetings and pursue identified projects. If you want to be part of the exciting next steps, please contact either organization. NADB will be having their AGM in the late fall, and NDCC usually has their AGM in January. This is a good time to join and be part of the solution.

 

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