Malcolm Islands Economic Development Strategy

Marjorie Giroux, Community Developer at the Sointula Resource Centre Society and a Rural Islands Economic Partnership (RIEP) Board Member.

Economic development isn't just about businesses. It also includes transforming public spaces with art work, colourful murals, and embracing community pride.
Photo courtesy of Sointula Resource Centre

“With the collapse of the fishing industry in the mid 1990s, there was initially a lot of money being thrown at our community. This didn’t really give us time to grieve what was and embrace what we could be. It became a heated process, but with the support of the Island Coastal Economic Trust, we were fortunate to start our own community consultation process and create an economic development plan.

The plan was a great jumping-off point. We organized focus groups that engaged different conversations across the community. It gave us both the time and space to work through suggestions and consider where we wanted to be with a new identity.

Continued Economic Development in Sointula

We keep reaping the benefits from this report. The document stays on our desk and it has led to recent and future ICET projects. We recently completed the Sturgeon I Pavilion, which the entire community embraced.

One thing that we did need, and which came out in our report, was an Economic Development Officer position, but we did not have the resources for that. The Trust ended up funding two positions: one in economic development, and another in tourism development. These roles helped develop a community website for both locals and those interested in moving here:

We are continuously updating and moving this site forward. We have also hired local knowledge keepers to give talks, like a whale researcher and herbalist. I cannot stress enough how funding this one document, from long ago, keeps us moving forward today.

We love the homegrown-ess of ICET that helps people living in this space make their own decisions. It’s been my experience that they work their grants into fitting our needs and not the other way around. This makes for actual benefits that serve and meet the community, and transforms into long-term relationships that have truly built-in long-term results.”

Learn more about Malcolm Island’s Economic Development Strategy