The public finally got a look at what’s been going on with Sechelt Innovations Ltd. (SIL) when its first quarterly report was given to council at their July 23 committee of the whole meeting.
“It’s nice to finally get some data out there,” Sechelt Mayor John Henderson said after accepting the report from Dave Jephcott, SIL’s director of business development.
The report shows some progress with the $600,000 in funding granted to the District’s business development group for its past two years of service.
The money comes from the Sunshine Coast community forest ($200,000 a year) and the District of Sechelt ($100,000 a year).
Jephcott said there are “currently 16 prospective businesses confidentially engaged with Sechelt Innovations,” that “represent significant opportunity for the District of Sechelt if realized.”
Sechelt also had “three concrete opportunities [for business relocation to Sechelt] that unfortunately are no longer active because of some various difficulties around sites that they had selected, which were in the hands of private land owners,” Jephcott said.
Three opportunities look like they will pan out, however.
The report states that three businesses in Sechelt “received and accepted applicants from the Provincial Nominee Program [a B.C. government immigration program that fast tracks immigrants with a business background who purchase a business that is at least five years old and creates at least one job]. These applications are currently being processed by the B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Skills Training and Tourism and represents the retention of 12 direct jobs.”
Another highlight pointed to by Jephcott was the free public WiFi SIL has installed at a cost of about $64,000.
“We are implementing our downtown free public WiFi as we speak. There’s a lot of activity on that front that’s very exciting. We should have that up and running in very short order, but we won’t be having a full-on launch until probably around Labour Day,” Jephcott said.
“We think this is going to be a substantial win for our community and we want to make sure the messaging going out there about the wonderful things that Sechelt is doing moving into the future are recognized and are fully taken advantage of. There’s nobody else with a population of under 10,000 that has anything like this. ”
He noted the WiFi is a “nice lead into developing our value proposition.”
“We’ve got the WiFi, we’ll have electric vehicle charging stations, we’ve got St. Mary’s LEED gold standard, we’ll have the wastewater treatment facility, we’ve got Telus fibre optic. All these things start to develop a very, excuse the expression, very sexy reason for people to relocate their business here,” Jephcott said.
The report shows that the next half of 2014 for SIL will be focused on things like refining Sechelt’s value proposition, launching a new website, targeting sales to specific corporations and the “continued development of key infrastructure in order to position ourselves favourably for successful investment attraction.”
SIL’s mission statement is to “bring focus to Sechelt and the Sunshine Coast’s most desirable attributes; ensuring that those who share our community values view Sechelt as an inspired place to live and work.”
Its vision statement is that “Sechelt will achieve economic strength and independence, ultimately becoming one of the most vibrant and desirable places to work and live in B.C.”
Find out more about SIL and read its entire quarterly report at www.sechelt.ca. The report is contained in the July 23 committee of the whole agenda.
© Coast Reporter