Over 200 people participated in the surveys, including tourists.
The economy of Cormorant Island is primarily based on the supply of commercial and government services to the 1,200 permanent residents. The decline of the fishing industry has had a serious impact on the Island’s economy and several major commercial buildings are unused or underutilized. ‘Namgis First Nation unemployment levels reached 30 per cent in 2009 prompting a renewed focus on training and economic development. The community of Alert Bay and the ‘Namgis First Nation wanted to develop joint initiatives to develop and diversify the economy and increase job opportunities, but didn‘t have the resources to conduct extensive economic development research and planning.
The primary project goal was to create a joint economic development plan. This included a comprehensive analysis of the Cormorant Island economy and community, extensive consultation with key Island stakeholders and the development of joint project options. The project was also designed to support the integration of economic opportunities between the two Cormorant Island communities as well as the larger Mount Waddington and Broughton Archipelago economy.
The Cormorant Island Economic Development Strategy project was completed in 2015 and is hailed as an early success. Primary project deliverables include a comprehensive economic analysis which situates Cormorant Island’s current state of economic readiness and its ongoing role within its larger regional economy, as well as an assessment of Cormorant Island’s economic development assets. The communities proceeded immediately with quick start implementation of some of the strategic goals and have jointly hired an Economic Development officer to pursue strategic implementation.