INNISFAIL – With its recently approved Power of Place economic development strategy and its bold move to develop up to 60 acres of new industrial properties, the town is jumping on board with a North American-wide movement to recognize Economic Development Week.
Town council proclaimed May 9 - 13 Economic Development Week, which was created in 2016 by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) to increase awareness of local programs that create jobs, advance career development opportunities, and improve the quality of life in communities everywhere.
“Since its inception, hundreds of campaigns have been created throughout the United States and Canada, creating millions of impressions, hundreds of news stories, blog entries, videos, events, and other activities,” said Gordon Shaw, the town’s manager of community development services, in his report to council last month.
The week-long recognition is also strongly supported and promoted by Economic Developers Alberta, the province’s leading economic development network. The organization has challenged all Alberta communities to recognize Economic Development Week.
Mayor Jean Barclay acknowledged the timing of this year’s Economic Development Week is appropriate and “coincidental” due to the community’s commitment and focus on this vitally important issue for the community since the current council was elected last October.
“Things are coming together and even last term the economic development advisory group began a year ago, and that plan has come together extremely well,” said Barclay. “We are moving forward in some areas. There are lots of things we still need to do but I am pleased so far at how things are going down in the industrial area and the progress we are making there.”
For the past several weeks Barclay, along with other members of council and Todd Becker, the town's chief administrative officer, have been engaging local businesses on economic development and where and how the town should go in the future.
“I just came from an engagement this morning,” noted Barclay in an interview on May 5. “Sometimes Todd (Becker) and I go, and other times we (council) all go. It just depends on the situation. It has been excellent. It’s been a priority of mine. During my campaign it was my mission to build relationships with the business community.
“The best way to serve the community is to get to know the community and understand what is going on,” she added. “How can we support the businesses? What do they need? What are their frustrations? What are their barriers? What is going well? That has all been very valuable feedback that we have received during the many visits we’ve had so far.
“That will continue for the next four years.”