The fledgling South Island Economic Development Association will soon assume the responsibility of going to bat for the Capital Region, collectively, and begin working to attract new business, create jobs and strengthen those businesses already in place.
Last week, the District of Sooke became the seventh municipality to support the association, joining Langford, Colwood, View Royal, Victoria, Oak Bay and Sidney. In doing so, these communities have put stock in the idea that a regional body can, through its actions, make a difference to the economic health of all parts of the region.
We like the fact Sooke council looked at the big picture and realized that what is good for the region can be good for its municipalities.
Contrary to what some may have believed, the Capital Regional District had nothing to do with the creation of this new agency. Had that been the case, it would naturally raise the eyebrows of those area politicians who see the CRD as an unwieldy bureaucracy.
No, it has its origins in the business community, spearheaded by the Greater Victoria Development Agency, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
The key measuring stick for the new group’s work will be to see Greater Victoria reverse its downward trend to the bottom of the list in terms of GDP among Canada’s metropolitan areas. Going from fourth in the country to 27th has clearly scared many of the movers and shakers in the region, enough to prompt new action to be taken.
No longer can we rely on tourism, or the fact Greater Victoria is a great place to live to attract new business or grow existing ones. We need look closely at what we can do better; what our real strengths and weaknesses are.
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