Dale Wheeldon

Helping local business

A business attraction and retention program for Fort St. James was being rolled out recently.

A business attraction and retention program was being rolled out recently.

Economic Development Officer Emily Colombo brought in Dale Wheeldon, chief administrative officer and president of the B.C. Economic Development Association and Colleen Bond. The pair are also consultants on economic and community development.

Wheeldon and Bond led economic development professionals from the region in three days of workshops and also put on an evening session for local community leaders.

The three days of workshops were paid for with some of the winnings from the Business Friendly Community award Fort St. James received at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Convention.

The workshops are helping to launch the business attraction and retention program  being done by the District of Fort St. James.

The program will begin with interviews with local businesses to identify things the District can do to further help local businesses succeed.

Interviews help to identify existing programs businesses may benefit from, what challenges businesses may be facing and what can be done to help them with those challenges.

An example would be if a business is having an issue navigating a licensing process, there may be ways the District could address this, or in other instances some additional policies or bylaws could be looked at in some cases to also support businesses.

The District will be interviewing businesses in an ongoing basis, and looking at a number of details about the business es from personnel to sales to the type of facility and equipment.

The District will also be using some of the award funding from the Business Friendly Community award to hire a business development assistant and tourism coordinator.

The full time position will be shared with the Fort St. James Chamber of Commerce and will also assist in the Tourism Information Centre operations.