BRE and BA focus on increasing the competitiveness and sustainability of established businesses. Stable or increased employment rates, increased property values and economic sector health are key benefits of having a BRE program in place. It also encompasses helping businesses to weather economic slumps so that there is lower risk of job losses and businesses closing.
The LCIC plays a role in building relationships and project partnerships with other communities in the West Kootenay region. Relationships are improved by participating in economic development activities on the scale of the West Kootenay region. These activities allow the LCIC to bring services to businesses which would otherwise be challenging to achieve as a small group of municipalities (for example, federal immigration programs). As well, helping other communities with economic development projects intended for the West Kootenay region will ultimately be extremely beneficial to the Lower Columbia as local economies across the West Kootenay are intrinsically linked. By placing relationship building as a service deliverable, the LCIC will create a collaborative network of stakeholders, partners and professionals that form and maintain the vibrancy and sustainability of the region’s economic development.
The LCIC supports the Lower Columbia by providing advocacy services at the provincial and federal levels. Advocacy covers issues relating to infrastructure improvements (such as power supply) as well as public policy review. Lobbying both regionally and provincially for changes to public policy where improvements can be made to create and improve opportunities for development in Trail already forms part of our work. Additionally, lobbying can affect the distribution of resources to important projects. For instance, in order to improve connectivity outside of the downtown Trail core, significant resources from the provincial/federal governments will be required to complete this goal. The LCIC is exploring ways in which the region might present a convincing case to government to help fund this critical infrastructure in the region.
Community development and economic development are separate but highly related activities. The LCCDTS and LCIC work together and with other organizations to make improvements in our communities. A good example of this is improving housing supply which is necessary for population growth and workforce development. Economic developers have access to data and connections with housing developers that are essential to expanding housing supply. However, equally important is the provision of non-market housing which falls more appropriately to community development organizations. In Trail, the Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society is leading development of non-market housing supply to meet the needs of low-income households which frees up market rentals which are an essential part of a healthy local economy. By working together, the economic developers and community development organizations can make more effective long-term improvements to the region by ensuring there is adequate housing supply for population growth.