Given the times we live in, it’s natural that scapegoats are sought for the economic downturn. Residents demand municipalities do more to stimulate growth while the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce has criticized civic leaders over the lack of attainable housing.
However, there’s clear indication that politicians and administrators aren’t just sitting on their hands.
On Thursday, 40 people attended a presentation on the regional employment lands action plan being developed by the City of Vernon and the Regional District of North Okanagan. Every jurisdiction was represented as well as the two local First Nations.
“It’s not just about how we work in our own communities but how we work regionally. We are one regional economy,” said Kevin Poole, the city’s economic development manager.
For Vernon, this initiative is vital as it has a small land base but any jobs created in the surrounding communities will benefit the city’s housing and commercial sectors.
The vision is to open up undeveloped or under-utilized land for a variety of uses by ensuring the infrastructure is in place.
Already, four jurisdictions are investigating the feasibility of sewer treatment in the Swan Lake corridor, an area in high demand for commercial and industrial development.
Obviously there have been attempts to expand the economy previously and they have had mixed results. However, that doesn’t mean we should be cynical about this latest endeavour.
North Okanagan residents are demanding their politicians take action, so let’s give them a chance and see how they do.