Candidate Questions 7: What ideas do you have to diversify the economy, create employment, and generate income within the city?
We all know that Rossland is a city built, to a large extent, on dreams. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! From those who crossed a continent dreaming of gold to those who did the same dreaming of a skier’s paradise–it’s our heritage and our preferred mode of consciousness. However…we do also need to put food on the table. So, with that in mind, we asked the candidates this: What ideas do you have to diversify the economy, create employment, and generate income within the city?
LAURIE CHARLTON: We need to work with our neighbouring communities to attract or establish high value-added industries and businesses. Teck is already involved with businesses (5n Plus and KC Recycling for example) that integrate with their operations. Teck produces products and byproducts that may be useful for establishing secondary industries in the area that would export their products to the USA and the rest of the world. As world metal prices increase, the potential viability of local mineral deposits increases and we should be prepared to accommodate such mining activities. Fort St. James, for example, is expecting to double their population in the next couple of years as a result of mining activity north of their community.
Many of these new businesses would benefit from improved transportation routes into the USA. We must continue to work with our neighbours to create an efficient low elevation highway route along the Columbia River into the US. Building that route will not only result in increased job potential in this area but also result in a significant reduction in heavy truck traffic through Rossland. We should continue to welcome individuals who can telecommute around the world.
KATHY MOORE: First step is the new zoning bylaw which allows some economic activity in various parts of the city. The Economic Development Task Force is working on a plan to foster economic development locally. (This is one of the task forces under the Sustainability Commission (SC) the SC is set up under council’s authority). Getting fiber optic cable to town would help attract the nomadic entrepreneurs- those folks who can work anywhere based on their lifestyle choices. Working with the regional economic development officer to develop some ideas would be a start.
Proactively polishing up the request for proposals for the EMCON lot, once the economy improves a bit could bring some new businesses to town. Continue to support the farmers’ market and community groups – new businesses can be born on the kitchen table or in the garden. Support and expand educational opportunities in town: the suggestion has been made to establish a tourism and hospitality program locally- perhaps an extension of Selkirk College, partnering with RSS and interning with Red could turn out first rate tourism workers. Creating a senior housing project in town could lead to employment opportunities both in the construction and the ongoing staffing of such a facility depending on the structure.
DAVID KLEIN: It would be nice to encourage small businesses that employ more than just the owner and potentially some light industrial. I am willing to listen to people that have ideas for new businesses in Rossland, and in what ways the city can help. I am open to brainstorming with the council on potential diversification of the economy and generating income for the city.
KATHY WALLACE: Much of this question is outside of city control and in the realm of private enterprise. The city shares a cooperative agreement with the other communities and electoral areas of the east end of the RDKB to support the work of the Lower Columbia Initiatives organization (economic development) and the city also supports the Econ Dev task force, as well as the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Rossland. The affordability discussion is related as cost of living must be met by adequate income. I think an evaluation of construction costs imposed by the city’s fees and charges is warranted.
JODY BLOMME: Remaining a small business friendly town and maintaining our image as a lifestyle town will naturally attract and/or build more small, home-based and internet-based businesses here. This brings money and employment into our town, without huge demands on infrastructure. Perhaps encouraging light-manufacturing or high tech industries to set up in town would be of value.
SHARON WIEDER: Work with the visions to action document to create a unique rossland vision that would attract full time residents and businesses. Get the vision out there to secure buy in by all residents and strengthen the fabric of our community. We all depend on this to continue living here so the entire town should be involved in this project.