The City owns approximately 700 acres of properties, a number of which that have not been developed or have the potential to be redeveloped. In the last several years, the City has also acquired new industrial and agricultural properties for the purposes of attracting new investment in the community. In light of this, Mayor and Council directed staff to develop a strategy to address the redevelopment or disposition of the surplus property inventory that benefits the socio economic well-being of the community.
Early in 2020, senior development staff (Properties, Development and Communications; Planning Services; Infrastructure; Finance) discussed what a strategy should entail and took the time to go through the City’s inventory of properties to eliminate properties that shouldn’t be considered for analysis (e.g., parks, trails, city facilities, etc.).
With the approval of Council in April 2020, the City applied to the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) for matching funds to support the development of a strategy. The application was successful and ICET committed to providing $20,000 to cover fifty percent of the $40,000 project cost.
In August 2020 professional planning consultants Urban Systems was selected as the firm to work with the city on the formulation of the strategy.
The completed strategy was adopted by Council in August 2020. It provides analysis and recommendations for the redevelopment of 25 City owned properties.
In 2017, the City partnered with the qathet Regional District, Tla’amin Nation, Powell River Community Futures, School District 47, Vancouver Island University and Island Coastal Economic Trust to begin work on a Creative Economy and Innovation initiative. The result was the development of a strategy that provided a road map for strengthening a culture of entrepreneurialism and business innovation in the region.
The City of Powell River, Powell River Chamber of Commerce, and Community Futures Powell River have partnered to create a new searchable Goods and Services Directory in order to promote shopping at local businesses in the qathet region.
The project originally started as a discussion with the chamber about the city’s new social procurement policy and the need to develop a listing of all local goods and services for city purchasing. They needed a database. The city suggested creating a searchable database that the general public could use as well in order to promote shopping local to everyone. Community Futures Powell River was asked to join the partnership and https://gsd.powellriver.ca/ was born.
Currently staff from all three partners are working with local businesses to update their profiles so as wide a range of products and services are available to the public. A ‘Shop Local’ campaign will be launched in the near future.
Like most of the Country and Province, the qathet region is experiencing labour shortages across multiple sectors. The city has brought together a partnership group that includes the Tla’amin Nation, Vancouver Island University, School District 47, Work BC Powell River, and the BC Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery & Innovation to develop a Labour Force Development Strategy.
The strategy will provide a 10-year vision of how to address local labour needs across multiple economic sectors.
Currently the partnership group is working on an application to the BC Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction for funding through the Labour Market Partnership program.
The first piece to be implemented from the strategy was the establishment of the Coastline Colab Entrepreneurial Development Program. The Coastline program not only provides small entrepreneurs office space and services to work out of but also delivers professional development and networking programs. Visit Coastline Colab to learn about programs currently being offered.
The Business Emergency Preparedness and Continuity Toolkit is a resource for businesses and organizations to develop and implement procedures to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from large-scale emergencies. Knowing what actions need to be taken to re-open your business in a timely manner after a disaster or emergency is crucial your business, and the overall safety and economy.
The City of Powell River organized the Business Emergency Preparedness and Continuity Toolkit with support from the qathet Regional District and Community Futures Powell River.
The City has also created an Emergency Prepared Business decal is available for you to affix to your door, declaring to the public that your business is prepared for an emergency, and are also available to offer community support when called upon. Knowing your business might have spare blankets, water bottles, food, heat, or any capacity of resources will allow our community to stand strong against these potential and unpredictable disasters.
qathet Regional District coordinates emergency planning, preparedness, training, response, and recovery for all areas within the Regional District, including the City of Powell River and Tla’amin Nation.
Powell River is recognized for having one of the most active Business Retention and Expansion Programs (BR&E) in the province of British Columbia. The whole focus of the program is to meet with local businesses across multiple sectors on a weekly to better understand how they are doing, and identify ways in which the City and other local agencies can assist them in strengthening or expanding. The program also assists the City in maintaining a confidential database regarding the local business climate.
The City co-funds the program with WorkBC Powell River and the Business Outreach Coordinator Laurie Marshall can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2017, the City secure funding from BC Rural Dividend Program to produce a Farm Economy Plan. The project was conducted in partnership with the Powell River Farmers and Agriculture Institute, Vancouver Island University, School District 47 and the Tla’amin Nation. The goals of the project were to:
Identify opportunities and challenges in Powell River’s farm sector and define actions to reduce risk and improve viability of farming as an economic activity.
Powell River Farm Sector: Opportunities and Challenges
Identify Indigenous business development and job creation opportunities within the agricultural sector.
Enhance local food security by proposing actions to strengthen economic prospects for local farmers.
Interactive Online Map and Business Directory of Local Farms
Interactive Online Map of Local Commercial Kitchens for value-added processing
Work on the Powell River Farm Economy Plan was completed in March 2018. The final report includes a series of recommendations for local stakeholder agencies in the following areas:
Farm Management and Production Planning
New Business Development (e.g. Agro-Toursim, Traditional Foods, Cold Chain, etc.)
Infrastructure Improvements (e.g. Universal Cold Storage, Value Added Manufacturing, etc.)
Online map of currently operating local commercial kitchens for rent
Education Programming (e.g. Horticulture Technician 1 &2, Agriculture Training Centre)
Agricultural Training Facility Proposal Estimate
Overview of Horticultural Training
Outline of Horticultural Training
Farm Land Conservancy and Access to Farm Lands
With the Plan completed, the City was offered an opportunity by the BC Rural Dividend Program to expend residual funds to continue work on the project. Although the overall goals of the project work remain the same, the main purpose of the workplan that has been devised is to start the process of implementing the recommendations in the Farm Economy Plan. The main areas of focus include:
Educating stakeholders about the results of the project work and how they can participate in implementation.
Improving marketing and distribution of local farm products by establishing a strong central electronic presence.
Value Added Manufacturing and Infrastructure Development
Pre-planning work on implementation of other recommendations
It is important to note that School District 47 and Vancouver Island University have already begun to implement the Education components of the Farm Economy Plan. Both organizations are working to launch the Horticultural Technician Program and the Agriculture Training Centre in Fall of 2019.
An outcome of the farm economy plan is the region's first comprehensive mapped directory of local food producers compiled into an online interactive map. Users can search for farms, filter the the map for particular products, get directions, hours, and contact info for producers, and more. All 4 local farmers' markets with schedules, hours, and locations, are also included. Local food producers also have access to an Online Map of Local Commercial Kitchens for rent to assist in processing and value-added goods.