Chamber’s message received

City Hall hopes to make it easier to do business in Cranbrook.

The City of Cranbrook is trying to alleviate some of the issues identified in last October’s Barriers To Business report.

The online survey was put out by the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce for all past, present and potential business people to show the city what makes it difficult to do business here.

The survey came about after Mayor Wayne Stetski asked the Chamber to tell council what is and isn’t working for businesses in Cranbrook.

The Chamber analyzed the survey data and presented the city with a report called “Removing the Barriers to Business in Cranbrook”.

Since then, City Economic Development Officer Kevin Weaver has met regularly with Chamber representatives to discuss three subject areas the report identified.

One of those areas is the new development and building permit process. The report recommended that two application processes be combined, Weaver told Cranbrook city council on Monday, March 18.

“We are examining more comprehensive changes that may be warranted. One of the recommendations proposed is to combine the development permit and the building permit application process. That’s something that may involve bylaw amendments,” said Weaver.

The city is also looking for ways to make the application process more straightforward and easier to track for business owners.

Cranbrook is considering membership in Biz Pal, a national system that explains to new business people the steps they need to take to set up that business, and also in One Call, a service where the city would report all of its underground utilities and infrastructure so construction workers can call one central line before they dig to ensure they won’t hit anything underground.

Another theme in the Barriers to Business report is business and economic development support products. To that end, Weaver said the city is putting together a Doing Business in Cranbrook Guide.

“We are going to be compiling a Doing Business in Cranbrook guide, which will be building on some stuff through the development permit and building permit process and putting that into some good clean documents that can be printed and also available through our website and smart phone apps,” said Weaver.

This year, Weaver said he will do a review of the city’s economic development strategy on council’s request. In the meantime, economic development will continue to market the airport industrial park, development of a Business Retention, Expansion and Attraction program, targeted downtown revitalization opportunities, supporting the Chamber’s tourism destination marketing, and the Asia Pacific Initiative with South Korea and China.

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