Sidney, B.C.; Sidney’s Economic Development Commission (EDC) provided Town Council with a comprehensive overview of their work during the past eight months. The presentation took place at the January 9th Council Meeting and included details on the Commission’s future plans, which include expansion of a commercial business registry.
Mayor Steve Price stated; “One of my primary goals through this four-year term has been to enhance the economic health of Sidney’s business community. I believe that by investing in the EDC and the good work they are doing, we are supporting Sidney’s valued business areas and ensuring they will thrive.”
The current Council formed the EDC based on a recommendation by the Mayor’s Downtown Revitalization Task Force to take a more active role in formalized Economic Development, which supports Council’s strategic priority of developing a resilient economy. The Economic Development Commission (EDC) is made up of ten members, ranging from representatives of the Sidney BIA, Chamber of Commerce and West Sidney Industrial Group, to local business operators and professionals. The Commission has been meeting bi-weekly and has contributed countless volunteer hours participating in workshops, studies and local projects.
In March of last year, the Sidney BIA presented a profile report of business activities, premises and vacancies to Council. The report was referred to the EDC, as the study of vacancies did not capture a complete picture. The EDC have since contracted a local commercial real estate firm to collect additional data on all commercial properties in Sidney’s Downtown area, to enhance the information already held by the Town. The information collected will be used to create a live, online, searchable database.
The Commission also stressed the importance of community awareness, and intends to utilize the Town’s existing communication tools such as the website, Town Talk and social media to promote their work to the public. The existing business drop-down menu on the Town’s website will be restructured as a platform to host the business registry, a comprehensive community profile, economic trend indicators and other information related to doing business in Sidney.
Geri Byrne, Chair of the EDC, explained that the EDC’s initiatives will create invaluable tools for anyone wishing to start a business in Sidney, and will provide insight into the economic health of the community along with many other valuable metrics and trends for the Town and other business organizations.
The EDC board has identified specific projects they will undertake in 2017 and 2018. These include expanding the business registry to include West Sidney and Harbour Road, developing a comprehensive communications presence, formulating and implementing a business retention and attraction strategy, creating a community profile and preparing a formal economic development plan. The EDC’s presentation to Council can be found on the Town’s website under “Business”.
Mayor Steven Price