The inaugural meeting of the Greenwood Economic Development Committee was held on Wednesday, Sept. 25 in the courtroom in Greenwood City Hall.
Grand Forks resident Alan Cooper, who has served on that city’s economic development committee, came over to share his experiences in working on the issue there. Cooper and his wife moved to the Boundary in 2011; they are codevelopers of Riverside Meadows Subdivision in Grand Forks and owners of BedRock B&B.
Members of the Greenwood Board of Trade and three council members attended.
Cooper explained his involvement in Grand Forks began when he responded to an advertisement placed by the City of Grand Forks asking for citizens to come forward to be part of an economic development committee that would plan and develop strategies for advancing economic development within the city, collaborate with other community stakeholders and build relationships with regional stakeholder groups.
“Part of our mandate is to figure out how we can liaise with different groups in order to be successful,” said Cooper and he identified this as something they found more and more important as they carried out their work.
He explained the committee is advisory to the city. “Our job was not to do it, but to provide community input, to be representative of the community—the business community particularly—and to provide input to city council.”
Issues that had been on the agenda for the Grand Forks committee included economic diversification, environmental and social sustainability and support for the local workforce.
Challenges he identified that had to be overcome included understanding the mandate, working within the goals/plans of City Council, obtaining and retaining membership, understanding the broad concept of economic development and avoiding personal agendas and platforms.
He said that Greenwood has a lot going for it, such as being the smallest city in Canada, its interesting and varied history, the Hwy 3 corridor through downtown and low real estate costs.
Following Cooper’s presentation there was discussion of the make-up of the Greenwood Economic Development Committee, incentive programs that could attract business investors and revitalization of the downtown core, enhancement of the appearance of the community through cleanup of unsightly lots, planting trees, and heritage lighting. The need for a business directory that also listed home-based businesses, walking tours and real estate signage were also discussed.
Cooper said that Grand Forks council is now committed to having only policy and bylaws that will be enforced.
“This is a region with tremendous potential, and a great deal of human capital. What we need is collaboration, communication, and a celebration of successes throughout the Boundary. Greenwood’s successes will be successes for all portions of this beautiful corner of B.C.,” Cooper wrote to Kettle after the meeting.
“It was a start, and a good start I believe to what will be a labour of love,” said Mayor Nipper Kettle in a Facebook posting following the meeting. “We would like to get a broader representation from the community organizations involved as well. The next meeting will be Oct. 23.”