In response to Pamela Owen’s letter regarding economic development and the official community plan.
The guiding principles of the OCP were identified by the residents of Vernon. It’s the voice of the community communicating its collective goals and objectives, including economic development.
The OCP doesn’t need to provide the answer to the economic question. That is up to the City of Vernon’s economic development strategy (I encourage Pamela to read their guidelines).
But it does answer the question of where development will go and how it will fit with the community.
It is important to identify what types of development we would like to see here.
However, the best economic development strategy you can have as a city is to become the type of place where people want to be.
Investment in development, such as alternative transportation options, protecting significant natural areas, clear and consistent development guidelines and a strong arts community, are key components to becoming such a place.
To attract families that pay taxes, we need diverse housing stock, especially that young and upwardly mobile people can afford.
The problem with Vernon’s last bout of economic development was that it was based almost entirely on single-family, mid-to-high-cost residential development.
Very little was done for downtown infrastructure or attracting decent-paying long term employment opportunities.
By committing to and implementing the OCP guidelines, we are slowly but surely moving towards becoming a place where people want to move and raise their families.
The numerous visitors’ letters to the paper this past summer praising our beautiful, revitalized downtown were great to read.
I hope that Pamela and the Big Red committee can see how the OCP guidelines will assist in attracting the type of people and jobs that our community so greatly needs.