Chamber seeks cash for assessment

Regional District of Nanaimo is already working on strategy of their own

Kim Burden ... wants RDN  to match federal grant of $9

Kim Burden ... wants RDN to match federal grant of $9

The Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce wants the Regional District of Nanaimo to hurry up and get the Northern Community Economic Development Select Committee up and running so it can get to work on it’s plan to create some much needed new jobs in the Oceanside area.

Kim Burden, executive director of the Parksville chamber spoke to the RDN board Jan. 10 about the chamber’s vision for economic development in the region and asked for some funding to get things moving along.

Burden said the chamber has a federal grant of $9,450 to put towards their Oceanside Initiatives program and would like the RDN to come up with matching funds.

Oceanside Initiatives’ aim is to attract new businesses and young working families into the community. Before that happens, an assessment needs to be done on the competitiveness of the community using other communities as a base. Burden said in order to maintain a vibrant community and put a stop to declining enrolment in area schools, community leaders need to come up with a strategy and move forward.

“We would like to attract businesses that employ young people at a better wage than they receive in the service industry,” he stated.

Burden provided figures from Statistics Canada that shows Parksville’s current median annual income is $18,000, compared to a provincial median of $25,000. The work force participation is 44 per cent of the population over the age of 15 compared to 66 per cent provincially, and 23 per cent of our work eligible population are in receipt of some form of government transfers compared to 10 per cent provincially.  He said the statistics point to something we are all aware of.

“We live in an aging community with limited commercial activity and few jobs, too many of which are low paying jobs. In addition the commercial municipal tax base is 25 per cent of the total municipal tax revenue with 75 per cent being paid by homeowners.”

Burden said they need to improve the capacity to attract, retain and expand business in the area.

He said new business and potential new residents look for a vibrant and growing community but when they look at Oceanside, they see population caps, increased financial burdens on developers and politically-driven acceptance criteria for any new development.

He said one of the areas the chamber will be looking at includes the economic development potential of attracting businesses that supply energy saving devices taking advantage of the opportunity to look to the Oceanside region as a leader and potential base for their operations.


“If we could become a demonstration place for that sort of technology and build clean renewable energy products for the future, I think it would be a good fit for the community.”

Burden said he believes green energy development has to be part of the next generation’s job prospects and they have to spur on some economic development to create new businesses and expand existing businesses, in a way that increases the total number of jobs and results in a rising average wage.

He said the current median wage in Oceanside is $10.31/hr, which is 37 per cent below the provincial median, while our housing costs are among the highest.

“In order to address this imbalance, we must embrace the goal of attracting new businesses, and young working families into our community.”

Before the RDN commits to any funding for Oceanside Initiatives, the Northern Community Economic Development Service needs to be in place first, according to the board. The purpose of the service is to promote economic development in the City of Parksville, the Town of Qualicum Beach and electoral Areas, E, F, G and H.  The new RDN group has a $50,000 budget to work with but a chairperson still needs to be appointed to head it up.

Burden said he understands the RDN has a process to go through before things are up and running, but he said he wants to move forward and he will be urging the RDN to expedite things so they can move towards the big picture which ensures that our schools stay open, and that Oceanside truly is the paradise where people want to live, work and play.



Just Posted

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased in Parksville

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Map of the site of a proposed 60-unit building project in French Creek. (RDN map)
Legal counsel wants board to award development permit for French Creek project

Issue is on agenda for RDN board meeting on June 22

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read