Economic development forum was engaging and productive, say organizers

Interactive forum will help guide creation of a new economic development strategy in the Township

It is being described as an inclusive, productive day of discovery, sharing, and engaging in dialogue on what it takes to keep the local business climate thriving and healthy.

On July 5, 150 business owners, employees, and residents gathered at a Stakeholder Engagement Forum to discuss the Township of Langley’s economic future.

A five-question online economic survey remains open to the public until Friday, July 20, and Township business owners and residents are encouraged to visit invest.tol.ca/events to complete it.

The Township’s Economic Development and Investment Department hosted the interactive forum to help guide the creation of a new economic development strategy. The event featured prominent speakers, facilitated brainstorming sessions to generate discussion and gather opinions, and a display showcasing community investment.

“We are very pleased with how well the forum went,” said Val Gafka, the Township’s senior manager of economic investment and development.

“Attendees were just buzzing with thoughts and ideas, and the ideation sessions were full. Participants were genuinely engaged and many wanted to stay and continue in rich dialogue, although the next session was ready to begin.”

The discussion groups focused on topics critical to the Township’s economic future, such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing, the film creative/film industry, tourism and sport hosting, and wholesale trade, transportation, and warehousing.

The event’s keynote address, delivered by the Honorable Bruce Ralston, BC’s Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, provided an overview of the province’s economic possibilities and the Township’s role as a player. A mid-day speaker panel featuring Langley’s MPs and MLAs put the spotlight on future possibilities for the Township.

Forum participants heard from numerous thought leaders, including Val Litwin, president and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, who spoke about emerging opportunities and how the Township is positioned to capitalize on assets such as tourism, clean energy technology, agri-tourism, and international trade.

Destination BC’s CEO, Marsha Walden, Fraser Health Authority Medical Health Officer, Dr. Michael Schwandt, and TransLink’s Vice-President of Planning and Policy, Geoff Cross, discussed regional trends, needs, and opportunities related to tourism, community health, and transportation and transit plans.

Their presentations will be available to view soon on invest.tol.ca.

Attendees received an information booklet highlighting Langley’s primary industries and contributed to conversations about issues, opportunities, and challenges that impact the Township, including the importance of small business, affordability, our aging population, and the need to set goals for future success.

“With numerous diverse competitive advantages, the Township is positioned to be a leader in economic prosperity,” Gafka said.

“And it is important that we hear from anyone who is vested in our economic future. We encourage business owners in the Township, their employees, and residents to take a few minutes and complete the short online survey.”

A consultant’s report on the forum will be finalized later this summer. Input gathered will help form the Township’s new economic development strategy, which is being created to set goals and the activities necessary to achieve them for the three to five years ahead.

The strategy’s research phase was conducted earlier this year, and it is currently in its public and stakeholder engagement phase.

A full draft of the strategy will be created between this fall and April of next year, and comments will be sought from the public to make sure the document is on the right track. From May to December 2019, the proposed strategy will be finalized and presented to Township Council for consideration and approval.

Just Posted

Kazakstan’s U20 team takes 4-3 win over Langley university squad

Thursday night’s game is one of four the visitors are playing at the Langley Events Centre.

VIDEO: Kids team up with Langley realtor to build holiday “homes”

Realtor Matthew Rufh hosted a gingerbread house-building party for the Langley Boys and Girls Club.

Cloverdale’s annual winter ice palace to open Dec. 21

Cloverdale Arena’s 21st-annual ice palace will open on Dec. 21

Langley hockey player heads to NHL prospects camp

The young player is following in the footsteps of former Giant Ty Ronning.

Metro Vancouver mayors vote to ‘develop’ $1.65B in Fraser Highway SkyTrain plans

Surrey will have to ‘compensate’ for the $56 million already spent on light rail

Tommy Chong says Canada took wrong approach to pot legalization

He also talked about the likelihood of another Cheech and Chong film

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Vancouver says court decision allows it to close illegal pot shops

The city says it filed 53 injunctions against businesses that were operating outside its regulations,

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Dress like Santa to ski for free in Whistler

Nearly 90 centimetres of snow has fallen since Wednesday, with more expected into the weekend.

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

‘Both things are true:’ Science, Indigenous wisdom seek common ground

Reconciliation between Canada and First Nations is playing out not only in legislatures and courtrooms but in labs across the country

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

Most Read