Economic development will remain a priority in Lumby during the new year, but the focus is expanding to include heads in beds.
During a recent strategic planning session, council identified a need for a small hotel and conference centre in the community.
“Lumby has a lot of functions such as sports tournaments but everyone goes to Vernon to spend the night there,” said Mayor Kevin Acton.
Acton believes a hotel would not only make Lumby more attractive for tournaments, reunions and other events, but those visitors would then provide support for existing restaurants and retail shops.
“It would be a nice boost to the economy.”
Acton says residents could also benefit from a hotel because there could possibly be shared access to facilities such as a fitness gym.
Another goal in 2016 is to determine how to expand marketable housing in the community.
“Our population is younger than the average because housing is more affordable here than the rest of the Okanagan,” said Acton.
“We want to attract families or seniors could move into smaller homes and free up their larger house for a family.”
In terms of construction, village council recently decided to hire Lethbridge-based Outwest Building Inspection Consultants to provide building inspection services instead of using the Regional District of North Okanagan.
As in other communities, Lumby is dealing with an infrastructure deficit and specifically roads, water lines, sewer services and sidewalks.
Putting together the funds for such costly projects is challenging with a small tax base but Acton insists progress is being made.
“Our reserves are looking healthy and our infrastructure is being upgraded. We are currently doing a (sewer) lift station in the park,” he said.
Infrastructure also includes bricks and mortar and council and administration will spend time in 2016 developing a plan to replace the public works building.
“It’s a shell and falling apart,” said Acton, adding that a location and a funding structure must be identified before the project could proceed.
Council is also focused on community pride and money has been set aside for Canada Day and other festivities.
“We want residents to come together more,” said Acton.
Acton admits that many of the items on council’s agenda may not physically occur in 2016, but he says there is a need for proper planning so such initiatives proceed in a financially sustainable manner.
“It’s all visionary stuff — what the next mayor and council may have to deal with,” he said.