The Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Organization (SCREDO) is looking for people under 40 to join Voice Lab, a group that will take over the work of Voice on the Coast, which was founded in 2011 to raise awareness of political, social and economic development issues facing the Coast’s 19 to 39-year-olds.
Founding Voice board members Lori Pratt, now regional district chair and director for Halfmoon Bay, and Silas White, a former Gibsons councillor, were on hand to sum up the work of the original Voice on the Coast and turn the reins over to SCREDO.
Pratt and White said over the past eight years, Voice on the Coast, which was a non-profit society, helped create the momentum that led to young entrepreneurs getting behind the craft beverage boom in the area, more younger people getting involved in local politics, bringing affordable housing and child care issues to the fore, and the creation of SCREDO itself through calls for Coast-wide economic development.
Program manager Chris Hergesheimer said SCREDO now wants to take the Voice on the Coast concept and focus it on economic development.
He said SCREDO wants to recruit a group of 10 to 16 people, all under 40, to be the core of Voice Lab.
“[Voice Lab will] develop and refine ideas for economic development project work plans. Come up with ideas that are important to your demographic and pitch them to SCREDO,” he said. “If they’re good ideas and they’re well researched and it all makes sense, we will help you fund them.”
Hergesheimer also said Voice Lab will help SCREDO see its role through a different perspective. “Our board is made up of the 40-plus demographic, so there’s not a huge amount of opportunity for us to learn what is economic development for someone who’s 24 years old. What does economic development look like for a 29-year-old family who’s just relocated here?”
Hergesheimer also said sitting on the Voice Lab committee will give members experience with governance, public engagement and the workings of a board.
The launch event ended with another early board member with Voice, Maria Hampvent, now serving as SCREDO vice chair, inviting the audience to take part in mini focus groups to collect ideas on child care, transportation, housing, employment, nightlife and education.