The following is provided by the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce. -SPN
Sooke Region Strategic Economic Action Plan 2015
(Based on the Economic Development Symposium Sept 26, 2015)
In the interest of helping to create a unique, thriving and vibrant community, the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce hosted an ‘Economic Symposium’ to help determine issues of community importance, germane to sustaining a flourishing local economy. Our objective is to build a road map to focus Chamber initiatives and those of other community organizations on actionable issues of importance to the well-being of our community.
The Sooke Region has experienced significant growth over the past few years. There is every indication the population will continue to expand in the foreseeable future. The Sooke region also offers an extraordinary natural environment; one residents wish to protect. In many ways, this region provides a unique lifestyle demanding an atypical approach to managing change. It is imperative that our community build an economic development plan, uniquely ‘Sooke’, enhancing our strengths and our differences.
The purpose of our planning initiative is:
- To describe our current status (assets), identify desirable changes and impediments to progress
- To create an action plan to facilitate progress
- To formulate a strategy that will enable the private sector and government to cooperate on plan objectives
The Symposium was the first step in identifying critical issues. Subsequent meetings are underway to establish priorities and necessary actions needed to move forward.
THE SYMPOSIUM[sam id=”15″ codes=”true”]Almost fifty people participated in a daylong discussion to help identify issues thought to be important to the future of our community. The Symposium began with a stimulating address by futurist Ken Stratford. He encouraged everyone to think about what would be most desirable, un-encumbered by compromise and current impediments. He provided fascinating examples to help fertilize the imagination and subsequent discussions.
Participants assembled in groups to discuss possible initiatives. Several topics came forward from each of the groups that were then shared and voted on by all present.
The following is a prioritized list of the most favored thoughts of the days’ dialogue:
- Create a West Coast experience (29 votes)
- Hire an Economic Development/Marketing Professional (23 votes)
- Work from the OCP for today and tomorrow (20 votes)
- Build from our Core (18 votes)
- Lobby to open a Customs Office (18 votes)
- Create Community Buy-in (18 votes)
- Create an accessible Sooke (16 votes)
- Collaborate! (3 votes)
The participants also shared thoughts on next steps as well as challenges and resources to move these actions forward.
NEXT STEPS[sam id=”15″ codes=”true”]Significant momentum was built among participants around several keys topics. The Chamber will:
- Create a list of initiatives and take a leadership role in building a community based action plan focused on making the selected ideas a reality.
- Draw upon the diversity of interests and backgrounds in the community. Several of these projects will move forward in concert with other community-based organizations. Chamber Directors will stay involved as leaders and champions of group process and support group members in planning and carrying out the actions.
- Call out to the people in the community who have an interest in any of these key areas. Invite groups together to dialogue further and set a vision of success and measurable goals for each project.
We continue to welcome input and involvement of the community in these initiatives.