Economic development is a catch phrase quite common in this community these days.
Several volunteer groups, government agencies and governments themselves have been and continue to work on many economic development initiatives.
We can all agree that economic development is important, but are we going about it in the right way?
Recently, community leaders met with Lee Malleau, the Economic Development Officer (EDO) of Squamish. One of the agenda items brought up the many groups who are working on economic development.
Currently we have four local governments, three economic development partnerships, a Coast-wide economic development society, three Chambers of Commerce and the Community Futures Development Corporation as well as a Sunshine Coast Tourism Partnership and a Bed and Breakfast Association all trying to work together on some elements of economic growth and prosperity - all of this within an area of roughly 29,000 people.
That seems like far too many groups all trying to accomplish the same thing. It's time the system were streamlined - and the need for a Coast-wide EDO is now.
While we recognize that all these groups are doing a fantastic job in this community, it seems to make sense to pool these resources under one umbrella.
We're not the only ones who are starting to think this way.
At Gibsons council on Tuesday night, Bill Hubbs made a presentation seeking support for the S.C. Business Retention and Expansion program.
In the end, council voted to write the letter, but they asked the question, "Why isn't this group tied in with the rest?"
All these groups mean well and are working hard for the good of the community, but its time everyone got on the same page and pushed for an EDO - an EDO who will look out for the interests of the whole Sunshine Coast, an EDO who can work with all these groups, pool the resources and go after funding initiatives that will benefit us all.
This is a growing and prosperous community with loads of potential. It's just missing one key element that can pull it all together.