March 2014 Newsletter
Community Economic Development
The Community Economic Development (CED) Department is funded by the City of Revelstoke and the CSRD Area B. The purpose of the Department is to implement the CED goals and objectives identified by the community in the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP). The Department has been working on the following initiatives over the past few months. For information on CED initiatives contact Alan Mason, Director of Community Economic Development at 250-827-5345 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working closely with our tourism partner agencies, Tourism Revelstoke and the CED department is responsible for the implementation of the Tourism Resort Development Strategy. This strategy identifies a number of tourism infrastructure projects which tourism stakeholders have identified as important to help develop our tourism market. These projects are largely funded through the Resort Municipality Initiative, a Provincial program which contributes funding to 14 resort communities in British Columbia. The funding is exclusively to be used for developing infrastructure which will help to promote tourism. Examples of tourism infrastructure projects in Revelstoke include the development of the new Visitor Information Centre, the extension of Grizzly Plaza to 3rd Street, the construction of the Nordic ski lodge at Mt. MacPherson, the construction of snowmobile cabins at Boulder Mountain and Frisby Ridge, the construction of mountain bike trails, and the purchase of the resort shuttle buses that transport tourists and residents between Revelstoke and Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
These projects, and the marketing activities carried out Tourism Revelstoke, have helped to increase hotel revenues by over 30% since the RMI program was initiated in 2008. Hotel revenues have increased steadily over the past six years, and have shown increases both in summer and winter months.
CED has been working with the City’s Enhancement Committee, the Chamber of Commerce and the Revelstoke Accommodation Association to develop new signage on the Trans-Canada Highway that will help attract more visitors to the downtown area. The signage that the City currently has on the highway has been in place for over 20 years, and needs to be refreshed. There have been several meetings with the business community and city staff to work on a new design that will make the signage more attractive and effective in drawing more visitors into the downtown area.
Food Security Strategy
Food security was identified as another high community priority in the ICSP. CED staff was able to secure grant funding from the Real Estate Foundation of BC and the Columbia Basin Trust to undertake a community strategy to help Revelstoke develop a solid plan to improve the local food supply. A number of groups in Revelstoke are already active in implementing food security initiatives, including Community Connections, the North Columbia Environmental Society, the PACs and the Revelstoke Farmers’ Market. Working closely with these stakeholder groups, CED staff will develop a strategy that will identify community priorities and actions that will help to make locally produced food more accessible and affordable for local residents.
The provision of affordable housing in Revelstoke has been identified as a high community priority for several years. The City of Revelstoke created the Revelstoke Community Housing Society to help the city to develop affordable housing. The Society was successful in obtaining grant funding from BC Housing and CBT to help with the construction costs of affordable housing in Revelstoke. For the past 18 months, the Society has been working closely with BC Housing and CBT to develop 12 rental townhouse units on city land along Oscar Street.
The CED staff has been working closely with the Society on this initiative, and the Society is hopeful of beginning construction of the new housing units later this year. The units will be rented to Revelstoke residents who qualify for affordable housing, i.e. their income is below a certain threshold, they are Revelstoke residents, and they demonstrate a need for affordable housing. Application packages for the new units will be made available later this year. These units will be a valuable addition to the stock of affordable housing units in the community.
Revelstoke Community Social Development Committee
Supporting Social Planning and Action in Revelstoke since July 2008
The Social Development Committee is an Advisory Committee to Revelstoke City Council. The Committee provides input to the work plan of the Social Development Coordinator, Jill Zacharias, who is contracted to the City of Revelstoke and reports to the Director of Community Economic Development. The annual work plan of the Social Development Coordinator is approved by City Council, and Jill provides regular reports to Council on the work she is doing.
Jill supports social sector organizations and non-profits in Revelstoke by bringing in training opportunities, helping out with grant writing, and bringing together community partners to work on special projects that help address community-wide social issues.
Since the position was created in 2009, $355,000 has been brought in to support 23 different social projects in the community, including social planning, new program and project development, capital upgrades to facilities, and the creation of 2 new key social sector positions.
Stoked Youth Network
The Youth Initiative Committee was started in 2010 – a group of youth and others interested in supporting youth in Revelstoke. CBT Community Directed Youth Funds ($25,000/yr. for 4 years) were secured to hire a Youth Liaison, Megan Shandro. The Youth Advisory Committee was established in 2013 as a Committee of City Council to oversee Megan’s work plan. Megan has been busy supporting youth-led activities such as the Stoke Youth Network, the YES Leadership Week at Revelstoke Secondary School, a WE-Day trip to Vancouver, and Love is Louder group. Megan has an office at RSS, supports CBT Youth Action Grant applications, and connects youth to employment and volunteer opportunities. Megan also updated the Youth Action Plan. Interested in supporting youth? Contact Megan at email@example.com
Promoting a Healthy Community
Addressing Poverty Reduction
Revelstoke is one of the first small communities in Canada to complete a comprehensive Poverty Reduction Strategy. Since then, a ‘Poverty Reduction Working Group’ started to address poverty and affordability in Revelstoke. Funding from CBT’s Social Grants Program has been approved to deliver a two-year “Financial Literacy” project in partnership with the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy. Project goals are to help our community’s residents to be more secure financially and to strengthen our community’s ability to work together to address needs that impact income security.
Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce Vision: “We represent our member’s interests in promoting the progress and development of Revelstoke in order to make it a better place in which to do business, live, work and play.”
The Chamber staff began the year with a clear set of goals and objectives from the Board of Directors. We are focused on engaging our members, promoting business retention and expansion and continued advocacy on behalf of Revelstoke’s business community.
Business today must adapt to survive in this time of economic uncertainty. The Chamber recognizes the importance of supporting our businesses, big and small, so that our community is the best place to live, work and play. Business retention and expansion (BRE) is one of the cornerstones of economic development. It’s a strategy with a focus on supporting existing businesses and attracting new businesses to grow our local economy and tax base.
In the “Dynamic & Local Economic Development” section of the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP), there are several initiatives and supportive actions identified for the Chamber, City, and City economic development (CED). One of these is to improve communication between the City, local business and potential development clients to give them a clear picture of what will be required in terms of plans, costs, processes, etc. for “property improvement” and development initiatives. The Chamber is working on a special trades & industry session with Development Services. This meeting will be in the upcoming months and will be supportive of our “Open for Business” initiatives with CED and City Council.
The Chamber volunteer Board of Directors is committed to the progress and development of our community and all are advocates for our members. Several of the directors also volunteer to represent the Chamber on City Committees. We have representatives on the Committees of: Economic Development, Advisory Planning, Enhancement, Social Development, Tourism Infrastructure, and Parks, Recreation & Culture. Our team is always open to our members input and will bring forward member ideas and comments to their respective committees and Chamber staff.
Visitor Centre Update
Our new space is being enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. Our first full month of operations proved to be a huge success. We welcomed 126 locals and 1,005 visitors in February, a 300% increase over February 2013! We are excited to get ready for the busy summer season and will be implementing new strategies and initiatives to better promote our membership and community at large. We have a new retail strategy focused on unique and local products and our tourism and visitor centre team is working to create additional information kiosks and brochure centres throughout our community.
Chamber Spring Calendar
March 27 @ 5:00 PM – Business after Business at The Sandman Inn. Join us to celebrate the new look!
April 11 @ 11:00 AM Official Opening of the New Business and Visitor Information Centre!
April 15 @ Noon – The Power of selling experiences over places Brow Bag webinar series. Chamber Boardroom.
April 23 @ Noon Chamber AGM, McPherson Room, Recreation Centre
Saturday May 10th – Downtown Sidewalk Sale! Head uptown and check out what’s new for Spring and support the Heart & Stroke Big Bike Event!
May 16 – 19 Downtown – Vintage Car Club of Canada Show & Shine
A full listing of all community events can be accessed the Chamber website at www.revelstokechamber.com