News

Local economy focus of public forum

Sooke Transition Town Society presents  a public forum on the local economy on Saturday, Nov. 24, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Potlatch Room at the  Sooke Harbour House.

After a period of sustained growth, Sooke’s economic outlook is uncertain. How can we, as a community, get our economy moving in sustainable, resilient directions to ensure a bright future for  this region?

A local currency, cooperative business models, buy-local campaigns, new opportunities for youth employment, local exchange trading schemes, collaborative consumption, time banks and other possible initiatives will be up for discussion at a public forum on the local economy to be held Saturday, Nov. 24 at the Sooke Harbour House.

Hosted by the Sooke Transition Town Society and open to the public, the day-long think tank will feature a series of presentations in the morning. Facilitated breakout groups in the afternoon will allow individuals to delve deeper into various areas of interest. Lunch will be provided at a cost of $15 for those participants staying for the full day.

The morning’s speakers will include: Kari Osselton, Executive Director, Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce; Ken Stratford, Chief Executive Officer, Business Victoria; and Michael Tacon, Executive Director, Sooke Transition Town Society.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Karl Schutz, CEO of the Chemainus Monetary Foundation and the man responsible for the Cowichan Valley town’s renaissance as “Mural Town” back in the 1980s. Chemainus successfully introduced a colorful local currency in 2010 that trades at par with the Canadian dollar and attracts business to main street merchants who offer special deals and discounts to customers using the collectable paper currency.

Michael Tacon and former federal government economist Mark Ziegler will moderate the day’s activities. Representatives from the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce, municipal government and other Sooke Region groups will also be on hand to spur the exchange of ideas.

“We’d like to engage concerned citizens, operators of local businesses and municipal officials in discussions on how to make the economy of Sooke better able to withstand, and adapt to, external shocks,” explains Ziegler. “These shocks include competition from commercial and residential development elsewhere in the Capital Regional District, changes in interest and exchange rates, and increases in energy costs.   Related issues include how to better support local businesses and create more employment opportunities for young people.”

Admission to the forum is by donation (suggested $5).  It is open to anyone who would like to contribute to the discussion. Ideally, a set of priorities will emerge by day’s end that will guide future initiatives and strategies.

Space is limited.  If you intend to come for the lunch and breakout  groups, please pre-register by Nov. 20 by contacting Michael Tacon (mokijohn@shaw.ca) or Mark Ziegler (markziegler@shaw.ca.

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