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Didsbury's economic strategic plan outlines strengths, challenges

Town of Didsbury officials aiming to ensure strong business retention, support, and attraction strategies and programs are in place

DIDSBURY - The newly adopted Didsbury Economic Strategic Plan 2022-2025 outlines strengths, opportunities and challenges to the community.

A road map that provides guidance to achieve council’s priorities outlined in its strategic plan, providing a vision for the delivery of economic development services, identify the core business areas of Didsbury’s Economic Development, and provide the specific action and performance metrics to be considered for evaluation.

It was approved at the recent regularly scheduled council meeting, with all council members in attendance.

The goal of the strategy is to “ensure strong business retention, support, and attraction strategies and programs are in place to help facilitate a solid, sustainable and responsive local economy that supports large and small businesses and creates a shop local environment and employment opportunities.”

In addition to council’s strategic priorities regarding economic development, surveys and workshops were used to create the plan. The multi-stakeholder Didsbury Economic Advisory Committee was also involved in the process.

There are five areas identified in the plan as strategic priorities: strategically managed infrastructure; vibrant and connected character community; strong and resilient local economy; governance and organizational excellence; and liveability.

Community strengths identified in the plan included strategic location along the Calgary-Edmonton economic corridor, competitive business location, a vibrant traditional downtown core with historic buildings, capacity for residential development, capacity for industrial and commercial development, and a thriving chamber of commerce.

Challenges identified in the plan include lack of housing including rentals, lack of workforce, storefront vacancies, supply chain challenges, and businesses losing customer to Olds due to more grocery options, services and amenities such as a movie theatre.

Opportunities identified in the plan include potential for commercial/industrial expansion along Highway 582 and industrial areas, retail and service opportunities, significant tourism and recreation opportunities, downtown beautification, incentives for developers and home builders, and creative industrial potential.

Council approved the economic development strategy in principle, with the intention to enhance the plan with infographics and images for publication.

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