What can the LCI do for you? Economic development group coming to Rossland to hear ideas

Allyson Kenning
By Allyson Kenning
May 17th, 2011

Next Thursday, the Lower Columbia Initiative Corporation (LCIC), in partnership with the Rossland Chamber of Commerce and Rossland’s Sustainability Commission’s Economic Task Force, will be holding an information session at the Prestige Inn, right here in Rossland.


Sandy Santori says that the information session is “an opportunity to introduce myself and to explain to the businesses in Rossland and to others in attendance who the Lower Columbia Initiatives are and that we are the economic development office for the region, funded by the region. It will bring [attendees] up to date on some of the initiatives we’re currently working on, and also to provide some feedback in terms of or original meetings with major stakeholders throughout the area vis-a-vis whether they be city councils or other businesses.

“Furthermore, it’s an opportunity to engage the business community in terms of providing some ideas, suggestions, and direction on what they envision as economic development drivers within the region, and what role our office can play in partnership with elected officials and municipalities, and with the business sector, in terms of projects and initiatives that can enhance economic development in the future, so that we can, in fact, sustain our communities and create jobs here locally.”

The meeting will provide an opportunity for local business owners and community members to learn more about what the LCIC has to offer, and to provide the opportunity for people to meet  the chair, former Trail mayor Sandy Santori. Operated by the Lower Columbia Community Development Team (LCCDT), and serving Rossland, Trail, Warfield, Fruitvale, Montrose, and Electoral Areas A and B within the RDKB, the LCIC’s mandate is to provide resources for people wanting to start new businesses, to help expand current businesses, to bring new businesses into the area, and to take a leadership role in initiatives in the area that are deemed to be economic drivers.

It is funded by the five communities and two electoral areas it serves. The LCIC also provides economic development services to the RDKB on a contract basis. It was created in March 2010 and Santori came on board in August of that year.

Currently, the LCIC is involved with several initiatives in Trail, including improvements to the airport, working with Teck to encourage businesses to take advantage of using Teck byproducts (for example Firebird Technologies), and the potential creation of a museum in Trail that will include a Teck interpretive centre so that the city has a “shelf-ready” product to bring people to the area.

There are no initiatives taking place in Rossland at the moment, and this is yet another reason Santori believes next week’s meeting is important. Community feedback is key.

“I’m sure there are things that Rossland would like to see that would be different from what we’re doing in Trail or in some other part of the region. When we talk about economic development, it comes in many facets. It can be tourism, whereby Rossland is very well-suited, and is very well-prepared now to take advantage, hopefully when the economy turns around, for their fair share of economic growth through tourism.”

Santori also stresses that although industry and tourism is a primary focus of the LCIC, it isn’t the only means of economic development in the area.

“Our mandate is to make people aware of the Lower Columbia region, so economic development can come from people moving to the area, whether it be to work, whether it be to play, whether it be to have a change of pace from where they are now, like Vancouver or the Lower Mainland. So, it’s investment, relocating and visiting as a means of developing the economic prosperity of the entire region.”

Similar meetings have already been held in the other communities the LCIC serves, and Santori says he’s had more than 60 meetings in total with stakeholders and businesses.  “I’ve met with people in Rossland before,” he states, “but with smaller groups. We felt this would be a good opportunity to come back and revisit those people that did not get an opportunity to hear me before.”

The information session (May 26th, at 7:00-9:00 PM),  will include refreshments, so the organizers would like an idea of numbers beforehand. If you are interested in attending, please email Renee Clark at the Chamber at renee@rossland.com. More information about the LCIC, including detailed fact sheets on the communities it serves, can be found at their web site.


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