In response to the article in The Morning Star on Oct 20, 2013 regarding how the economy is highlighted in the city plan, there are a few key points I feel should be expressed.
I am not sure how many citizens of Vernon have had a closer look at the current draft of the official community plan – as it is quite clear there is a lack of emphasis on the economy and economic development.
In the OCP draft there are nine “guiding principles” that are the key components related to every chapter/subject within the OCP. Interestingly enough, the economy and economic development is not among those nine key principles.
In our current struggling local economy, economic development must be a key guiding principle to the future of Vernon. But unfortunately, it is only a mere mention regarding some brief goals with no action plans or accountability.
This needs to be changed.
As mentioned in the article – people are leaving town to work and feed their families.
The original OCP was written at a time when the North Okanagan was experiencing massive growth and the economy was solid.
The OCP then reflected the need for control and protection.
Today, our economy is struggling. The OCP must reflect the need for economic development.
Last year our Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce formed an action committee called the “Business Improvement Group for Real Estate and Development” (BIG RED).
We are a group of concerned professionals who are seeing business development turn away every day due to municipal red tape and lack of open-door policies.
It is time the business community is heard.
Change needs to be made to bring in new development, business dollars, and families that pay taxes.
Only with economic development will we be able to have a sustainable and thriving city. After all, the opposite of growth is decay.
Chairperson, BIG RED Committee,
Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce