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 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.
Staff continue to work with local groups and agencies to develop tourism infrastructure projects to enhance the tourism product in Revelstoke. During the past winter, funds from the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) were allocated to:
- Revelstoke Ski Club to purchase equipment to allow the club to host a series of regional and provincial ski races at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
- Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club to purchase a new ATV to assist with trail grooming.
- Revelstoke Railway Museum to help upgrade exhibits.
- Revelstoke Arts Council to assist with the planning of two annual music festivals beginning in September 2015.
- Funds were also allocated to purchase and install Christmas lighting in the downtown area.
City Council recently approved RMI funding to the Visual Arts Centre to develop a park area between the Centre and Victoria Road, and to the Revelstoke Cycling Association to develop additional mountain bike trails. These projects will again help to improve the quality of the attractions and amenities available to visitors to the community, and increase the economic impact of tourism to local businesses.
Labour Market Strategy
The CED Department, in partnership with the local WorkBC Labour Market Network, will complete the Labour Market Strategy this May. Over the past few months, consultants interviewed over 150 Revelstoke businesses to find out any issues and challenges the companies are facing or expect to face with respect to labour market issues. This project has provided a great deal of valuable information about local business issues, labour market needs and projected labour demands. Businesses indicated they were optimistic about the future of their companies, with 45% forecasting growth and 49% projecting they would remain stable over the next few years. Many businesses also noted that they have been operating successfully in Revelstoke for a long period of time. One of the significant findings of the survey was that, in general, Revelstoke companies do not appear to have a major issue with an older workforce. Companies did not indicate they would be losing a significant amount of workers to retirement over the next few years, which is contrary to Provincial and National labour market projections. Several businesses involved in the tourism and retail sector noted they had challenges attracting and retaining seasonal workers. The agencies in the Business Information Centre will be working together with staff at the WorkBC Centre to develop strategies to help business address their workforce challenges. The majority of the funding for this project was secured through a grant from the Province of BC.
The CED Department, in partnership with Community Futures Revelstoke and the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce, is nearing completion of a Business Retention and Expansion Initiative. With support from the Columbia Basin Trust and the Rural Development Institute at Selkirk College, the partners hired a Coop student from UBC-Okanagan, to undertake a survey of businesses to determine what challenges they were facing in Revelstoke. Early results from the survey indicate a positive outlook among local businesses, with 82% of businesses surveyed indicating the health of their business to be good to excellent, and 74% indicating that Revelstoke is a good to excellent community to do business. The project will continue to the end of May 2015. The survey has identified several areas which could be improved to help the development of local business, and the partners in the Business Information Centre will be working to address these concerns in the next few months.
Revelstoke Community Social Development Committee
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. Jill works to address community-wide social issues through planning and bringing together community partners to work on related strategies and projects. Jill also supports social sector organizations and non-profits in Revelstoke by bringing in training opportunities, helping out with grant writing, and connecting groups with potential resources. Since 2008, $383,000 has been brought in to support 27 different social projects in the community.
For more information about Social Development check out www.revelstokesocialdevelopment.org
Want to get involved?
Contact Jill Zacharias, Social Development Coordinator
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.
CED staff has been working closely with the Society on this initiative, and is hopeful of beginning construction of the new housing units late May, 2015. 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.
Strengthening Social Capacity
The goals of the new Safe Spaces Revelstoke Society include support for LGBTQ residents and increased awareness of LGBTQ issues in our community. ‘Safe Spaces’ is about acceptance of people for who they are, diversity, and living without fear of discrimination. Support for the fledgling group has been rewarding as we see them grow. See www.safespacesrevelstoke.org for more info. A natural extension is a new project to develop a coordinated community response to hate crimes in Revelstoke. Supported by a CBT Social Grant, project completion is slated for early July.
Time has been spent bringing service providers and emergency personnel together to brainstorm how we can best support residents who are most isolated and vulnerable in our community.
Funding was acquired to support Revelstoke OPT and other community partners to deliver training for service providers and parents on how to talk to children and youth about sexuality and sexual health.
A ‘living wage’ reflects what earners in a family need to bring home to meet basic needs and no longer live in poverty. Last fall, the Revelstoke Credit Union led the way to update our living wage calculation, now at $18.87/hr. A new UBCO Community-University research project will explore the barriers and benefits of paying a living wage and potential economic implications for our community.
On March 10th, City Council made a commitment to poverty reduction, endorsing the national Cities Reducing Poverty – Poverty Reduction Charter. Supported by CBT, Jill Zacharias will be attending a national Poverty Reduction Summit in Ottawa. As part of Revelstoke’s contribution to the summit, Revy Vibes – a video was produced about what makes our community vibrant (see www.revelstokecurrent.com). Jill will be presenting on rural issues at the summit.
The financial literacy project is in full swing with Lisa Nguyen coordinating the delivery of 11 money skills workshops for community members.
The Youth Access Fund was launched last fall. This program aims to decrease financial barriers to youth participation in arts, cultural and recreation programs and events in our community.
Our 2015 Revelstoke Experience guide is here at the Visitor Centre and ready for distribution! This year, the guide is filled with passionate writers and local recommendations. Please come pick up a box (or two) at the Revelstoke Visitor Centre to give out at your establishment.
Revelstoke Business and Visitor Information Centre Statistics
|% change 2015-2014||25.5%||189.3%||250.3%||265.5%|
Glacier Challenge 2015
Preparations for the 28th Annual Slo Pitch challenge are underway! The Chamber, Rotary and Ski Club are ready for this year’s event. We welcome back Alan Chell as part of our team and our new committee members, Rob Bett, Coopers Foods, Sherry Bogle, Canyon Motor Inn; Keri Trinder, Revelstoke Family Services; and Mark Baron, SomeWon. We would like to send a huge shout out to Amy Flexman for her amazing work over the last 2 years and her ongoing support and assistance. Flexpeditions! Anyone interested in volunteering, please call the Chamber at 250.837.5345 or come in and see us!
Tourism Revlestoke has been busy over the past few months, despite some tough weather conditions this winter! We attended the Vancouver and Calgary Outdoor Adventures Shows in March, which both received attendances of over 20,000 people. We are currently working on new brochures for the upcoming busy summer tourist season. A brand new hiking, ATV, and Wedding brochure are all planned for 2015, along with updates to our Mountain Biking, Dirt Biking Maps, and Museum & Galleries guide. We are working with highway initiatives for a TV installation program this spring, where all participating highway businesses will receive a large screen TV installed in their establishment, playing a variety of Revelstoke videos and still photography to highlight the downtown experience and our different activity offerings.
A Social Media Workshop was hosted on May 1st, with 15 participating members. A Roger Brooks webinar was shown, and Tourism Revelstoke highlighted our 2015 Social Media Strategy. If anyone is interested in the workshop, or would like a copy of the presentation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Finding our Way
The Chamber has been working with Tourism Infrastructure to update our City’s sign and way finding system. Most of our gateway signs, on the highways and entrances to town, have been updated. We have installed a new map on the brick wall by the Gazebo in Grizzly Plaza and have updated some of our kiosks around town as well. We will be working with local contractors and suppliers to continue this upgrade throughout the City, including the Industrial Park and The Big Eddy.
We continue to lobby the Provincial and Federal representatives to bring upgrades to the TransCanada highway. The Honourable Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure will be the guest speaker at our June 15th Chamber luncheon. We encourage our members to come out and participate in the conversation!