A new economic development initiative hopes to attract industry to Cranbrook and Kimberley by marketing directly to them.
Mayor Lee Pratt explained the Cranbrook-Kimberley Development Initiative at council on Monday. The initiative brings together not only the City of Cranbrook and City of Kimberley, but also invites the business community to provide input. The initiative was on the agenda of the Oct. 27 joint council meeting between the two cities.
Pratt noted that he and Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick started talking in November 2014 prior to the election and agreed that if they both were elected they would work together.
“We didn’t know each other, we introduced ourselves, hit it off, got along really good and decided if we were lucky enough to get elected we were definitely going to try and work together,” Pratt said, adding they are both on the same page of whatever is good for Cranbrook is good for Kimberley and vice-versa.
Since they were both elected they went ahead with the plan.
“So we came up with an economic development strategy, basically it’s going to be called a Cranbrook-Kimberley Development Initiative,” Pratt said. “We did a little bit of a different approach to what has been happening in the past, which most people don’t feel as been successful, or hasn’t been productive.”
Pratt said they decided that they would get the business communities of Cranbrook and Kimberley involved as well. He noted that Rick Jensen, Neal Muth and Greg Deck from Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) heard about the initiative.
“They got wind of it so they asked us for a meeting, we had a luncheon with them and they were quite excited that we were willing to work together,” Pratt said. As a result they had a second meeting between Rick Jenson and the two mayors. Jensen also represents New Dawn Developments, as well as his vice-president position at CBT.
“We called a meeting and the three of us got together.”
On Oct. 28 they met with businesses. They invited 70 businesses and Pratt said about 65 attended. Of those, 31 are already onboard with the initiative.
“Our target is 50,” Pratt said.
Pratt said they are asking businesses to invest in the strategy of economic development, so that the initiative has some money to work with to go out into the market and sell the region.
“We’re looking to attract industry into town to create jobs and keep our youth here — and good paying jobs we’re looking for,” Pratt said. As a result of that we managed to raise a considerable amount of money and right now we’re in discussions with a couple other groups that could possible match dollars with us. If that happens we’re going to have a sizeable amount of money to carry on with and get working on marketing and sales directly to some of these businesses that we’re hoping to attract here.”
Pratt said people are keen to get something happening in Cranbrook in terms of economic development and job creation.
“So it was very positive and we’re looking forward to having some good success with that,” Pratt said.