A task force assigned with examining Summerland’s economy and coming up with recommendations will spend nearly two years on its task.
The Mayor’s Economic Task Force was announced last October and the committee was formed early this year.
Initially, the task force was to complete its analysis and bring recommendations to council within six months. The time line has since been extended and it will be another year before the committee’s work is completed.
An economic development project coordinator will be hired for a one-year term, to work on four components affecting Summerland’s economy.
The total funding, from a Rural Dividend Fund grant and from the municipality, comes to $147,075.
Since the committee was formed, some Summerland businesses have opened while others have closed their doors.
Those which are facing considerable struggles now are in need of immediate help. Another year may be too late.
However, it is important to remember that Summerland’s economy is complex. Developing an economic strategy is not a simple task and there will be no easy solutions.
It takes time and effort to examine the local economy, its strengths, weaknesses and challenges. And it takes time to consider workable strategies for economic growth.
Without adequate research, it is impossible to create a Summerland-specific plan which best addresses our community’s needs. It also takes time to analyze the results and consider the best possible strategies for our business community.
In the long term, a slow, thorough approach is generally the wisest course of action, especially if such an approach can result in long-lasting changes.
However, for some businesses in the community, the challenges are immediate and a one-year planning process may not bring results soon enough to help them.