Communities need year-round economic development opportunities that capitalize on their existing assets and demographics. The economy of Pacific Rim communities was heavily dependent on seasonal tourism and needed to diversify to be more resilient and sustainable. The region attracts a younger demographic on a seasonal basis and the development of year round opportunities presents an opportunity to retain this group as permanent residents.
The region’s communities and First Nations have joined forces to identify opportunities for the development of a new knowledge based economy. The project will assess education and research opportunities based on the communities’ assets and demographics. Fostering entrepreneurship through business incubation and mentoring is one of the anticipated outcomes of the project, as is developing world-class research and instruction capacity by attracting educators, researchers, and students. The plan calls for a regional network with a central hub and nodes in each community which will be focused on niche opportunities aligned with each community’s needs and assets.
Once complete, it will support west coast communities as they move forward collaboratively building a strong regional position that will enable them to retain the considerable youth demographic in their communities.