Economic Development is complex. Economic Development is important. Rural communities like ours are increasingly faced with the exit of the younger population and an increase in baby boomers. Economic Development needs attention and a strategy. Economic Development needs multiple champions.
In the South Okanagan there are several groups and organizations that are working on important economic, business and community development initiatives that help build strong and resilient communities.
The South Okanagan Chamber plays an important role in Economic Development in our area as we represent the interests of businesses in Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Osoyoos and surrounding areas. Business Retention, Expansion and Attraction is a key role for our Chamber, as well as other projects that support sustainable business and community growth. We are part of the South Okanagan Similkameen Economic Development Group which is a collaboration between local Economic Development Officers, local Chambers of Commerce, Community Futures Okanagan Similkameen, local government representatives, First Nations, the Province of B.C., and educational institutions located within the South Okanagan (Summerland, Penticton, OK Falls, Oliver and Osoyoos). As a region, this collective group (South Okanagan-Similkameen Economic Development Group, or SOSEDS) is committed to executing a cohesive, comprehensive strategy to address the challenges and opportunities for economic development in the South Okanagan. The group is specifically working together to pursue new economic opportunities by:
- Garnering Regional Investment
- Supporting and Attracting Business and Industry
- Attracting Visitors
The Town of Osoyoos has an Economic Development Advisory Committee which is made up of nine residents, town Chief Administrative Officer Barry Romanko and Mayor McKortoff. They meet throughout the year to ensure they are on the right track and that feedback of residents is being heard. www.osoyoos.ca
The Town also contracts Destination Osoyoos to work on Economic Development and Tourism. Details of their projects and priorities can be found on their website. www.destinationosoyoos.com
The Town of Oliver is currently working on their Official Community Plan and looking at a downtown re-energization strategy. They have recently bought a piece of vacant property in the downtown core and will explore several options of how it can be developed. www.oliver.ca
The Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen has a Community Services office for Area D which is located in Okanagan Falls. The team here works on community and economic development projects and initiatives. For more information, visit www.rdos.bc.ca and www.okfalls.ca
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