A new program to capitalize on economic opportunities in the Cariboo-Chilcotin has officially launched.
“I think it’s important to note the difference between this economic development strategy and others is the bottom-up approach. We spent a great deal of time in the South Cariboo so far meeting with various groups as well as private citizens that get their ideas,” says Cariboo Regional District chair Al Richmond.
Cariboo Strong which is grounded in the three Cariboo sub-regions-South Cariboo, Central Cariboo & Chilcotin, and the North Cariboo, begins with one-to-one conversations and small group meetings to discuss the economic opportunities and challenges in the area. Through these conversations, Cariboo Strong identifies opportunities and forms action groups with community members to take action on those opportunities.
“We’re very pleased that in the South Cariboo one of the main ideas that came up was a need for housing. So that side table, we’ve been able to work with the other groups that are working on housing to move forward. So that table is going well,” says Richmond.
Leading to its official launch, initial meetings and conversations have begun in all three sub-regions with local community members, businesses, industry, municipalities and First Nations regarding the economic opportunities present in the Cariboo. To date, Cariboo Strong has met with about 100 individuals and organizations with key discussed having centred on housing, Aboriginal tourism, recreation trail development, age-friendly opportunities, agriculture and forestry innovation.
Cariboo Strong is a partnership between the Cariboo Regional District, the District of 100 Mile House, the City of Williams Lake, the City of Quesnel, the District of Wells, the Village of Clinton, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and the Community Development Institute at the University of Northern British Columbia. The program has been made possible with support and funding from the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition, Northern Development Initiative Trust, West Fraser and the Province of B.C.’s Rural Dividend Fund.
“We’re hoping that this program will be at least a 3-year program so that there will be folks on the ground doing the work on an ongoing basis,” says Richmond.
(With files from the Cariboo Regional District)