Regional Economic Strategy to Re-evaluate Priorities and Coordination

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance's (VIEA) annual Economic Summit attracts business leaders, decision-makers, community, and island stakeholders. Photo courtesy of VIEA.

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s plan to define new strategic direction 

COURTENAY, 24 October 2023 – The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) is embarking on a new process to develop a three-year regional economic development strategic plan through project investment from Island Coastal Economic Trust’s Investment Readiness Program.

The need for this latest strategic plan comes as a result of an evolving economic landscape, along with a new CEO at the helm since June 2022. This project will help re-evaluate VIEA’s roles and priorities as a pivotal regional non-governmental, non-profit society dedicated to fostering economic vitality across the Vancouver Island and rural islands region.

“We have a real opportunity here to realign resources and strategy to maximize impact,” says Julie Sperber, President and CEO, Vancouver Island Economic Alliance. “This project recognizes the need for a coordinated and cohesive approach among our various stakeholders with the ultimate goal of enhancing economic prosperity in the region.”

For the past 18 years, VIEA has been instrumental in facilitating collaboration among communities, First Nations, businesses, and stakeholders to drive broad-based economic activities across the region. Historically, VIEA’s initiatives have often emerged in an ad hoc manner, driven by champions, board members, or specific sectors. 

“We’re excited that this project will be a consultative process that encompasses engagement at various levels,” says Katie Bishop, Chair, Vancouver Island Economic Alliance. “It’s not only about defining a strategic direction for VIEA but also stimulating dialogue, and clarifying priorities among stakeholders in the region.” 

As part of the project, a consultant will be engaged to guide VIEA through this process and conduct consultations and external scans, before ultimately developing a strategic planning document. This plan will foster active engagement among stakeholders, enhance economic development frameworks, promote regional collaboration, and align priorities for economic prosperity in the Vancouver Island and rural islands region.

“This is our first opportunity to fund a regional economic strategy for Vancouver Island,” says Aaron Stone, Chair, Island Coastal Economic Trust. “We are proud to engage with Vancouver Island Economic Alliance as they demonstrate leadership in regional economic development, stimulate direction, foster social capital, and clarify economic priorities among stakeholders and rightsholders across the Island.”

The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance Regional Economic Strategy is supported through the Investment Readiness Program. The Trust will contribute $7,500 to a total project budget of $15,000. The project will be underway imminently.  


About Island Coastal Economic Trust 

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, Swx̱wú7mesh, Hul’q’umi’num’, diitiidʔaatx̣, SENĆOŦEN, Lekwungen, and T’Sou-ke speaking peoples. 

Media Contacts 

Brodie Guy
Island Coastal Economic Trust

Julie Sperber
President and CEO
Vancouver Island Economic Alliance