With one of the finest climates and oldest median ages in Canada (60 years), the Parksville – Qualicum Beach region has an economy that is dominated by tourism and senior care facilities. The service sector wages in those industries mean that median income in the region is lower than the provincial average. In response, the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce created an Economic Development Partnership called “Oceansides Initiatives” with representation from local government, Vancouver Island University, and the school district. These stakeholders were interested in diversifying the economy to attract new entrepreneurs and investment, raise the median income levels, and lower the median age of residents.
The objective for the Oceansides Initiatives Business attraction project was to prepare a strategic and tactical set of tools to attract the ‘lifestyle entrepreneur’ and increase the number of high-value, non service-sector businesses in the region. Deliverables include web, video and print lure pieces and materials for foreign and local investment presentations, trade shows and more. The final website can be viewed at: www.workpqb.com.
The Business Attraction Strategy project was completed in July 2014 and the region has a strategy, a set of tools and an implementation plan to create a regional presence within the lifestyle entrepreneur community. The project also facilitated the development of new regional relationships and a strengthening of previously existing partnerships. This high level of collaboration has led to the development of a more formal and permanent economic development structure and the develop of a broad regional economic development strategy.