May 31st, 2020

Business Beat: What is the state of our city?

By Lisa Kowalchuk on February 5, 2020.

Invictus was a fitting conclusion to the State of the City address held by the Kiwanis Club and the Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 28 with Mayor Ted Clugston delivering the annual address. With more than 300 community leaders in attendance, that message summarized the fortitude of our community in the face of adversity, with our strength embodied in the “heart” of our community. It was an affirmation that as community leaders, decision makers and committed citizens – we are the sole authorities over our destiny.

Highlights of the year included many of the accomplishments, plans and investments made in our community and the national and international media attention that we have received.

There was mention of the recreation master plan, the municipal development plan and the intermunicipal development plan, in addition to highlighting the successful bid for Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in 2022.

Business news included the results of the Business Retention Expansion and Workforce Development, survey in which 476 businesses participated with highlights around the optimism and expansion opportunities in our region. The restructuring of Invest Medicine Hat was also mentioned as a key initiative to support the ongoing commercial construction, with new business and developments totaling 3,945 licenses in 2019, of which 2,251 had commercial locations, 1,142 were home based and 552 were non-resident licenses.

Our relationship with CFB Suffield also remains strong in this region with the 50th anniversary of CFB Suffield and the 80th Anniversary of Defence Research and Development Canada – Suffield Research Centre coming up in 2021.

While there have been investments made in a number of public facilities in recent years, council will be focusing on austerity and the 10-year Financially Fit plans. They are looking at efficiencies, controlled municipal spending and encouraging private investment with council’s No. 1 strategic priority being economic development.

Economic development is also a focus for our Chamber of Commerce, as we work to fuel our business community. We’ll be laser focused on our goals to be a connector and a resource for business, to promote our community, while focusing on regional collaborations and opportunities. This will be accomplished through our leadership, the strength and support of our network, our established legacy as an organization and our commitment to service.

We want to make sure our business community is connected and supported and that we’re influencing the direction of our business community moving forward. We are collectively working together with our business support organizations to see how we can initiate projects to encourage and support business development and local shopping by promoting our region and our businesses. We want to encourage business expansion and diversification and influence improvements to regulatory conditions and infrastructure. We must also plan for impacts of ongoing and upcoming technological changes, in addition to looking at our workforce strategies moving forward.

In line with these objectives, within the upcoming month, we’ll be hosting our Red Tape Reduction Roundtable and Policy Forum with the Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction, the Honourable Grant Hunter on Feb. 11 as we look deeper at red tape reduction and how we can further business interests and address barriers to business moving forward. We’ll be focused on creating connections through our Network Before 9 on Feb. 13 at Sun City Ford; we’ll be educating businesses on the supports available at our Membership 101 Lunch & Learn on Feb. 19; we’ll be assisting business with workforce training through our Raising the Bar in Customer Service and Sales on Feb. 26 and we’ll be promoting business and commerce through our upcoming Sunshine Home & Garden Show on March 6-8. The world’s first virtual parade of homes, showcased by Enclave Ventures Inc, will also be taking place at our upcoming trade show featuring the newest technology in home building and design with bookings now available for this virtual experience https://virtualpoh.ca/. The city will also be featured in our city block at the trade show, providing an opportunity to see what’s new and engage with the various departments.

We are working hard for you both at our events and behind the scenes, providing connections, supports and influence to our members and our community to take our region to the next level.

Invictus is Latin for unconquered or undefeated. We grow stronger as we build on our strengths – we can be unstoppable as a community, it just takes passion, drive and a team of champions for our community to move the agenda forward.

Join our movement and help us fuel our business community.

Lisa Kowalchuk is the executive director of the Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce. For more information on this column or the Chamber, contact 403-527-5214.

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