Federal Economic Development Office opens in Campbell River – Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River will house a new federal economic development office, which could help more voices from across the region to be heard in Ottawa.
The creation of Pacific Economic Development Canada (Pacifican), a British Columbia-specific offshoot of Western Economic Diversification Canada, was announced by the federal government on August 5. As part of this initiative, eight new offices will be created across the province, including a “point of service” in Campbell River.
North Island — Powell River MP Rachel Blaney wrote a letter to Economic Development Minister Mélanie Joly in February requesting that one of the new offices be located in the riding. She followed this up with a call for voters to support her request with their own letters.
“It’s really good that they listened,” said Blaney.
The new Campbell River point of service will help locals share the realities they face in the region directly in Ottawa, she said.
“What I think is so important in this regard, in Canada’s evolving economies, is that rural and remote communities need to be represented more strongly,” said Blaney. “We need to have people who actually work in our communities, who feed this information back to Ottawa, so that Ottawa is not so disconnected.
The announcement is good news for Campbell River and the North Island, said North Island MP Michele Babchuk.
“It just recognizes that element of economic development – and having this office nearby is something that is needed in North Vancouver Island,” Babchuk said. “It’s a great first step, and I’m just waiting to see what they bring to the table. “
The decision shows recognition of the challenges facing the region’s three largest economic sectors – forestry, aquaculture and tourism, said Mayor Andy Adams.
“Having a development officer here and nearby and working with the City of Campbell River, the Regional District of Strathcona (SRD) and the North Island communities will be of critical importance as we seek to reinvent, reclaim and bounce back, ”Adams said.
The city of Campbell River has held internal discussions to help Pacific Economic Development identify a potential site for the new office, Adams said. It will be located close to city hall and government and business offices in and around the city’s downtown core, he added.
A federal office for local economic development, which the city has advocated for for about a decade, could help strengthen collaboration between levels of government, Adams said.
“Through SRD and our relationships with constituencies and other municipalities, in addition to the Mount Washington Regional District and the Comox Valley Regional District, we have good collaboration at the local level,” he said. “Where we need to improve the link is through provincial economic development and federal economic development, so that we are all operating on the same page.
Blaney said she would continue to advocate for such a collaborative approach.
“We know that when we look at all levels of government funding, especially provincial and federal, they’re looking for cooperation (and) they’re looking for communities that come together,” she said. “So having an office in our region to do this work will be very important. “
Campbell River Economic Growth Federal Government