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Economic strategy approved

Council approved the 2014 Economic Development Strategy provided the District’s Business Development Officer. Highlights of the plan for 2014 is to open the new Brown Road upgrade in Westbank Centre with a public event to celebrate the revitalization project, the development of an online directory of West Kelowna businesses, and ensuring important direction signage in the industrial area is installed. The strategy was drawn from strategic planning discussions, the 2013 Breakfast with Business and Manufacturing Roundtable events and various District master plans and documents. The strategy focuses on six strategic areas:

Foundational Marketing

  • Enhance website presence
  • Establish social media presence
  • Development of an online business directory

Westbank Centre

  • Westbank centre promotion materials
  • Brown Road Kick-Off Event & support during the event season

West Kelowna Industrial Area

  • Name Industrial area and install directional signage
  • West Kelowna based training opportunities for industrial businesses

Residential Attraction

  • Attend Alberta home shows with COEDC as partner

Business Retention Activities

  • Continue monthly visits of West Kelowna businesses with members of Council
  • Breakfast with Business Annual Event

Core Services

  • Site selection and zoning support
  • “Doing Business with DWK” outreach

The 2014 Economic Development Strategy relies on a number of internal department and external agency partnerships to see the stated goals and objectives achieved. External agency partnerships include:

  • Greater Westside Board of Trade
  • Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC)
  • Okanagan Valley Economic Development Society (OVEDS)
  • Okanagan College
  • Neighbouring Local Governments

Strategies and practices by other local economic development agencies have been reviewed to identify cooperative opportunities and avoid duplication of services.

Other news out of West Kelowna Council Monday include:

Tourism Strategy - Council approved the 2014 Tourism Strategy provided by the District’s Business Development Officer. Council was advised that 2013 tourism activities included securing the Westbank Museum as the Visitor Information Centre for the community, supporting the development of agri-tourism clusters, enhanced social media presence and interaction, and supporting the growth of events and activities, including the Westbank Farmer’s Market. A significant achievement in 2013 was aiding the Westside Wine Trail in developing events and establishing itself as a not-for-profit society. The 2014 work plan focuses on promoting businesses, amenities and attractions to Okanagan residents and visitors alike. The goals include:

Publications

  • Publish a new 2014/2015 Visitor guide
  • Publish new 2014/2015 Hiking/Biking guide

Promotion

Community Product Development

  • Farm Gate Cluster Development as a tourism destination
  • Farmers Market support
  • Westside Wine Trail Society support

Industry Engagement

  • Host industry staff familiarization tours
  • Develop tourism staff focused social media stream
  • Meet with clusters of similar tourism businesses

Casa Loma Drainage - In response to concerns from local residents with the appearance of the Casa Loma Drainage – Phase 1 open ditch drainage project, Council directed that staff obtain a Class A cost estimate and informally petition the 19 affected properties to see if there is support for the creation of a local service area to pay for improvements to an urban standard with underground utilities. Council also directed staff to draft a policy that provides guidelines and direction when dealing with aging and inadequate storm water infrastructure throughout the District, in an effort to ensure lessons learned from the Casa Loma Drainage Project.

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