Community Economic Development (CED) has always been a core function of Community Futures of Greater Trail (CFGT). Wikipedia defines Community Economic Development as “a field of study that actively elicits community involvement when working with government, and private sectors to build strong communities, industries, and markets”. We agree.
CFGT’s Board of Directors and staff regularly work with local service organizations, federal, provincial, municipal and regional governments, educational institutions, businesses and industry, and many others to encourage sustainable economic prosperity in balance with social well-being and environmental integrity.
Through CFGT’s CED Committee, staff and directors regularly meet to facilitate greater communication and sharing of knowledge between directors, staff, and other organizations on initiatives and external influences that have an impact on local CED activities.
CFGT takes an active role in supporting initiatives that influence the well-being of our region. Board, staff and committee members participate in a variety of committees and organizations that improve the quality of life for Greater Trail residents. CFGT is currently a member of the regional Economic Development Practitioner’s Network, the Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society (LCCDTS) and it’s Regional Tourism Committee.
CFGT’s CED goals are closely aligned with that of the LCCDTS. The purpose of the LCCDTS is to advance the economic strength of the region by overseeing the development and cooperative implementation of initiatives that are important to the area. CFGT staff participate on many committees of the LCCDT as do local politicians, business leaders, and representatives from various agencies with an interest in social and economic development in Greater Trail.
CFGT’s Trail office is a preferred meeting space for a wide variety of organizations and committees that focus on local development initiatives. At times our board rooms are in use by local organizations for meetings, training sessions and strategic planning. The Board and many working committees of the LCCDTS meet in our facilities, as does the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC), a wholly owned subsidiary of the LCCDTS. The LCIC provides economic development services and, where appropriate, takes the lead on programs and projects that are designed to grow and diversify the economy of the Lower Columbia (also know as the South Kootenay) Region.
CFGT involvement in CED initiatives takes many forms. It may be as simple as participating on a steering committee or as complex as seeing a multi-million dollar project through from conception to fruition. Recent notable activities include:
www.WeSportFish.com is a new website designed to attract the destination sport fishing market to recreate on our region’s world class Columbia River. The project goal is to create a new tourism based economic sector around Kootenay waterway recreation by promoting sport fishing and to provide direct and indirect employment for guides, tackle shops, marinas, accommodation providers, and others through trickle-down employment. This project is lead by CFGT’s CED Coordinator in collaboration with a regional steering committee and funded in part by the BC government’s Rural Dividend Fund.
Construction of the South Kootenay Data Centre (SKDC). Online in the summer of 2012, the SKDC is a scalable facility with an initial 308 rack units of secure, climate controlled server space. As the region’s first and only data centre on the local fibre optic network, the SKDC is the hub of the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation (CBBC) communications network. The goal of the SKDC is to help diversify the local economy by fostering growth in a new technology cluster. In 2012 CFGT worked with the CBBC and the City of Trail to further fibre build-out in downtown Trail.
Construction of the South Kootenay Business Centre (SKBC), www.skbc.ca. Opened in March of 2011, the SKBC is a Community Futures business development program and business incubator meant to mitigate barriers to business by helping young firms survive the vulnerable start-up phase. It provides young firms with a cost-effective, fully-furnished, all-inclusive office space so they may expend their time, energy and resources on business development rather than business establishment.
CFGT worked with the LCCDTS Health & Hospital Committee to raise $825,000 to construct a heliport at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital. The heliport project broke ground in the spring of 2010, and on September 16, 2010 the inaugural landing and mock patient transfer highlighted the grand opening of the Nav Canada/Transport Canada certified facility.
CFGT worked with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary for two years to gain federal assistance to improve the water supply system for the Columbia Gardens Industrial Park. Lack of sufficient water for industrial processing and fire suppression was identified as a major barrier to industrial growth. In 2009 $1.98 million was allocated to the project through the Community Economic Development Initiative and construction was completed in 2010.
The above noted projects are but a small sample of CED activities undertaken by CFGT and are well aligned with our mission statement.