More than 25 local business owners and representatives joined Mayor Luke Strimbold for an early morning breakfast at the Royal Canadian Legion, branch number 50 recently.
During the first ‘Mayor’s business roundtable’ meeting Mayor Strimbold said he would be holding the meetings on a monthly basis, for the benefit of the business community.
“I will be addressing specific topics each month and updating local businesses on projects. It will also be a great opportunity to share information and to hear what is going on in the business community … these meetings will help increase our communication,” he said.
Mayor Strimbold recently passed the idea by council and said the idea stemmed from similar meetings Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach holds in that community.
“I think it is a good idea,” said Coun. John Illes, who added that he doesn’t think the village should pay for everyone to attend the breakfast.
Mayor Strimbold said that each person that attends the meeting would have to pay $10 for the breakfast.
“We are going to hold the meetings at the Legion so we are also supporting them by doing this,” he said.
Mayor Strimbold said to Lakes District News that he is aware that there is already a regular merchant breakfast meeting held by members of the local business community but said, “We want to encourage partnerships with the merchant group and the Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce at the Mayor’s business roundtable. We would like to see the merchants at the Mayors business round table to offer their insight,” he said.
During the meeting Mayor Strimbold explained this year’s budget decisions, and explained that council decided on a zero per cent tax increase.
“Of course we have had to make some budget cuts to have the zero per cent increase,” he said.
He also updated business owners on the local economic recovery initiatives that are underway.
He encouraged businesses to take advantage of the Minerals North conference. “This is probably the largest event that our community can host. We will be advocating for our airport and our community as a potential supply centre for the mines near our community. This is the time to promote your businesses and promote our community as the place to be, the place to live and to do business.”
Rod Carey, from Carey’s Positive Electronics said, “It is a great idea for Burns Lake to be a supply centre for the mines and other Northern B.C. projects, but how do local businesses find out what projects are happening in the area? Is there a list of projects showing who we can contact to find out what supplies they need?”
Mayor Strimbold suggested business owners go to the ‘Invest in North West’ website [www.investnorthwestbc.ca].
Sandra Barth from the Lakes District Arts Council asked if the arena expansion project or the Lakes District Hospital replacement project will create employment for local residents.
“Through the downtown revitalization process the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure have a budget of $1 million for local work, including brushing …. many of the big projects go for tender on B.C. Bid, but they do hire sub contractors.”
Klaus Posselt, owner of Tahtsa Timber Ltd. said he thought there should be a focus on providing contract work for locals during the spring and early summer. “This is when the loggers are not logging any more so there is more people available.”
Mayor Strimbold said, “I think the meeting was a great start to building relationships with our business community. We may make adjustments as we move forward and learn what best suits interaction with the business community.”