Housing, a long neglected walking trail, and community pride head the list of “do-able” projects being advanced by Bella Coola’s new Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC).
In the third meeting since its creation last winter, the EDAC, which advises the Central Coast Regional District (CCRD) on ways to improve the flagging economy of the region, focussed on actions that might be the “baby steps” necessary to build a “foundation” on which to impose larger, more long-term development initiatives.
The EDAC identified a shortage of rental housing as a barrier to attracting people who might contribute to the region’s economic well-being. People who might want to move to the area often don’t because they can’t find a place to live – especially those who don’t want to buy property and settle down permanently.
Area residents who have vacant houses, cottages, cabins, guest suites, rooms, etc. that could be rented out on a longer term than the typical tourist visit are urged to contact the CCRD’s newly appointed Community Economic Development Officer, Tanis Shedden at 250-799-5291.
Examining a federal funding program connected to Canada’s 150th anniversary (2017), the EDAC recommended backing a local effort to reinvigorate the long-abandoned trail between the Bella Coola Townsite and Thorsen Creek – a Nuxalk footpath for centuries and first surveyed with the arrival of the Norwegian settlers at the end of the 19th Century. With federal funds for Canada 150 and local support, the Committee views this project as “do-able”.
Additionally, the group identified bear-proof litter and garbage containment, adorned by local artists, as a first practical step in an effort to increase “community pride” by beautifying the Bella Coola Townsite and other areas throughout the region. Programs already in place can make such bins available at low cost, and 10 spots were identified for starters. A broader effort to beautify the both the Townsite and region will be considered by the EDAC.
Finally, the Committee presents a “HEADS UP”: The EDAC needs to develop an understanding of the condition of businesses throughout the Regional District (including communities on the Outer Coast). To this end, businesses will soon be approached individually to engage in short interviews. Watch for further information about this key process in the Committee’s strategy.
Committee members adamantly expressed their determination that their work will have positive, practical outcomes – unlike many similar efforts in the past which have resulted in reports that end up on a shelf collecting dust.
The meeting was attended by Randy Hart (Chair), Lori Campbell, Ernest Hall, Markus Schieck, Wilma Hallam, Darla Blake (the CCRD’s CAO), and Tanis Shedden (Community Economic Development Officer). For minutes of the meeting, visit www.ccrd-bc.ca and watch for news on Facebook.