Collaborative effort will build a consensus plan for building resiliency in light of climate change impacts on local economies
COURTENAY, 23 November 2023 – Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce is developing a strategic recovery plan, which will address economic priorities following extended highway closures due to wildfires in the summer of 2023, with project investment from Island Coastal Economic Trust’s Investment Readiness Program.
The project is a collaborative effort led by the Alberni Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce and the Tofino Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. It is in response to the economic impact of Highway 4 forced shutdown, a vital transportation route between Cathedral Grove/MacMillan Provincial Park and Koen Road, which impacted the flow of goods, services, and travelers for weeks.
“The initial two-week closure, followed by scheduled road restrictions for rock scaling and ongoing disruptions due to weather and stabilization events, inflicted huge economic and social hardships on our region,” says Jolleen Dick, CEO, Alberni Chamber of Commerce. “This socio-economic impact assessment will go a long way towards ensuring economic resilience in the Alberni-Clayoquot region.”
The proposed initiative involves an examination of the losses suffered by local businesses and industries. A consultant will be hired to uncover the immediate needs of the business community and inform targeted support measures. The collaboration also extends to engaging rightsholders, local governments, and key stakeholders to develop a strategic recovery plan that addresses economic priorities.
“We strongly believe that by synthesizing the collective work and engagement of stakeholders, the consultant will facilitate data-driven decision-making that can address both short and long-term economic priorities in our region,” says Jolleen.
The main outcome of the project is to develop a report that will provide both the provincial and federal governments and related agencies with consensus regional priorities to invest in economic recovery and resilience for the Alberni-Clayoquot region in the immediate and longer term. The final report will also allow all collaborators to better understand each other’s role in the event of a disaster and identify gaps where policy changes are needed.
“The region’s economies, reliant on industries such as tourism, forestry, and agriculture, were severely affected by this unexpected disruption,” says Aaron Stone, Chair, Island Coastal Economic Trust. “We are grateful to be partnering on this collaborative project that brings people together to identify concrete solutions for business continuity, disaster response planning, and long-term economic resilience.”
Island Coastal Economic Trust is investing in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional Economic Recovery and Resiliency Initiative through the Investment Readiness Program.
The project will be underway imminently.
Founded by the Province of British Columbia in 2006, the Island Coastal Economic Trust works to build a sustainable and resilient coastal economy in reciprocal relationships with First Nations, municipalities, and regional districts across Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and islands and inlets from the Salish Sea to Cape Caution. Serving over half a million residents, we partner with communities in the development and financing of their economic infrastructure and diversification efforts through our unique structure that is led by, and accountable to, communities.
Since our inception, Island Coastal Economic Trust has approved more than $59 million to economic development initiatives that have attracted over $323 million in new investment to our region. These investments have created over 2, 910 permanent jobs, and countless positive impacts, across the coast.
Island Coastal Economic Trust acknowledges that we work for communities across the ancestral territories of the Kwak̓wala, Nuučaan̓uɫ, Éy7á7juuthem, Ligwilda’xw, Pəntl’áč, She shashishalhem, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Hul’q’umi’num’, diitiidʔaatx̣, SENĆOŦEN, Lekwungen, and T’Sou-ke speaking peoples.
Island Coastal Economic Trust
Alberni Chamber of Commerce