Attracting new business is the most expensive part of economic development efforts, Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Kim Burden told city council on Monday night.
Burden was at the meeting to update council on various economic development projects.
“It’s far more important to ensure the businesses we have here are successful,” he said.
Led by the chamber and the Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association and funded in part by local governments, the Oceanside Initiatives project has been working to identify strategies to identify just what the region has to offer potential investors and how to target that new business. With the help of a public relations firm, the group has put together what they call a Parksville Business Attraction Tool Kit, which presents the region as an attractive place to live and work, focussing on reaching what the group calls the lifestyle entrepreneur.
To that end, Burden said Qualicum Beach’s director of planning Luke Sales and the town’s communications consultant Patricia Huntsman set up a booth at the recent SIGGRAF Conference in Vancouver, pitching the area as a great place to live and do business for lifestyle entrepreneurs in the hi tech sector. Burden said more than 16,000 people attended the conference.
Burden told council on Monday night the next step in the process is to target blog writers and worldwide. He said the public relations firm being used by the group for this work needs $4,500 for three months, and he was asking for half of that from the city.
He said the Town of Qualicum Beach has committed to the other $2,250.
“It’s not a lot of money and it gives the city good exposure,” said Burden. “And we’re starting to see people here as a result of the various presentations we are doing.”
Council said it needed a more detailed request from Burden regarding the $2,250, but some members spoke favourably about the city’s potential financial involvement in this next step of the Oceanside Initiatives plan.
“I’m happy to see the city take part in economic development functions like this,” said Coun. Peter Morrison.
For more information about Oceanside Initiatives, e-mail Burden: