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Greater Victoria, BC News

ARTICLE

Date ArticleType
1/8/2016 Published Article
Regional Cooperation a Success – Without Amalgamation.

A new economic development group is being formed to promote Greater Victoria and help create the clean, household-sustaining jobs we need to sustain our community and contribute to our GDP. Over the last two months, the South Vancouver Island Economic Development Association (SVEIDA) has received the support of the majority of municipalities and a large number of local private sector companies.

Many households are having difficulty finding new opportunities to increase their income, some are struggling to simply keep up with rising costs. Students are graduating and moving away to start the careers they want. To build a robust, sustainable community, we need to help create the type of jobs our residents need now and in the future.

With its 13 municipalities and the Capital Regional District, Greater Victoria has a complex arrangement of local governance, yet no one municipality has exclusive influence over any one resident. For example, while we shop, work, play, learn, we regularly – and often without thinking – cross municipal boundaries.

Such an environment is not conducive to coordinated and targeted job creation. Nanaimo and Vancouver invest more than $4.00 per capita in economic development; comparatively Greater Victoria's municipalities currently invest less than $1.00 per capita at the regional level. In the last five years, Greater Victoria dropped from 4th to 27th in GDP growth compared to Canada’s other large city-regions.

On November 7, The Chamber’s Greater Victoria Development Agency (GVDA) hosted a public summit to discuss a proposal to fund a new regional economic development model.

The summit was a resounding success. The new economic development organization caught the attention and imagination of local governments, businesses, post-secondary institutions and First Nations throughout the south island.

In December, 25 regional leaders from across the south island laid out the framework for a new way of working together across political boundaries, SVEIDA, a tactical and collaborative economic development organization.

By April, SVEIDA should be fully functioning, with a Board and an Executive Director, at which time the GVDA will close its doors.

Although there is much work ahead, SVEIDA’s successes to date demonstrate how dedicated and passionate people can bring us together as a region. We look forward to working with SVEIDA to help create jobs we need, to grow a robust, sustainable community, and contribute to GDP growth.

Published in Victoria Business Examiner

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