Parksville wins $10K award for its business policies, programs

Money will go towards Oceanside Initiative Project to expand economic activity

Parksville is open for business.

Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell presented a $10,000 cheque Thursday evening from the B.C. Chamber of Commerce to the City of Parksville.

Stilwell said she’s proud to represent a community that is “truly open for business.”

She said small businesses account for 98 per cent of businesses province-wide.  “They are absolutely essential to our economy and our communities.”

The funds were provided to winners of the B.C. Small Business Roundtable’s Open for Business Awards in recognition of policies, programs and projects that support small business.

Alongside Parksville eight other communities were recognized: Grand Forks, Kelowna, Langley, Port Coquitlam, Salmon Arm, Smithers, Surrey and Vernon.

Award evaluations were based on local measures that make it easier to do business in that community, including enhancing small-business competitiveness, recognizing the contributions of small businesses to the community, and promoting the principles of the B.C. Small Business Accord.

Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Kim Burden said the $10,000 will go towards the Oceanside Initiative Project.

“It’s providing the funding we need to complete a strategic plan,” said Burden, adding that he wants to see consultation with both rural and urban communities in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.

“We want to include the Lighthouse Country Business Association, the agricultural community and manufacturers in Errington,” he said. “We want input from as many people as possible.”

Stilwell said she’s confident “the work being done through Oceanside Initiatives will continue to pay off for our community.”

Burden said he wants to see a successful business community that is diverse and focussed on more than the tourism industry.

“Tourism is great but my mantra is lower the average age and raise the average wage,” he said.