Rivercorp stoking the fires

Board chair outlines behind the scenes work by the city’s economic development office

Rivercorp has many irons in the fire as it works to contribute to the economic viability of Campbell River, city council was told.

In a presentation to Campbell River City Council Aug. 12, Rivercorp Board Chair Donna Hains outlined lots of behind the scenes work by the city’s economic development office as it tries to stoke the fires of economic vitality.

“The primary role of an economic development office is to inform potential investors and the private sector about opportunities in our community, facilitate meetings and interactions between appropriate parties and work to create an environment that is favourable to investment,” Hains told council. “My report outlines numerous projects Rivercorp has been working on and demonstrates that we have been working hard for Campbell River and will continue to work hard to contribute to the economic vitality of our city and region.”

The projects reviewed for city council reflect Rivercorp’s strategic priorities: revitalizing the industrial tax base, retaining and growing the commercial tax base, and improving Campbell River and region as a tourism destination.

“Rivercorp has been working very closely with Quicksilver Resources and other players in the LNG sector to position the Elk Falls site as a key player in the new LNG marketplace,” Hains said.

At stake are “hundreds of new, well-paying jobs in Campbell River and a significant positive bump to the city’s industrial tax base,” she added.

Rivercorp has been working to facilitate development of a new industrial park near the airport.

“This park would satisfy demand for new industrial land for green energy, clean technology, and aerospace sectors, among others, allowing for substantial investment, the creation of significant numbers of new jobs and an increased tax base,” the board chair said.

The city’s economic development office is also looking into the viability of developing a seafood logistics hub in the area.

“Campbell River and the surrounding region is home to vibrant fin and shellfish industries as well as the traditional wild fishery,” Hain said. “Rivercorp is looking into the viability of developing a seafood logistics hub.”

That would include a flexible cold storage facility and would provide year-round jobs.

The seafood hub news caught Coun. Mary Story’s attention.

“I’m very excited about the seafood logistics hub,” Story said.

But Vic Goodman, Rivercorp CEO had to temper that enthusiasm a bit.

“We’re really at the initial stage,” he said. “We haven’t moved very far along with this.”

Another idea in the works is working actively with the Vancouver Island aerospace sector on major initiatives to bring well-paying aerospace jobs to the region.

In the spring of 2013, Rivercorp was requested by the provincial government as well as a consortium of industry players and economic development offices on Vancouver Island to engage in discussions with Boeing to pursue Island aerospace opportunities. Those discussions are ongoing, Hain said.

Rivercorp is also working with the federal government on fixed wing search and rescue aircraft contract which will have island wide impact.

Rivercorp’s mandate to grow the tax base includes the creation of a small business incubator at the Enterprise Centre.

“The region boasts a vibrant, growing cluster of digital animators, game developers and other creative industry professionals,” Hains said.  “This incubator will provide valuable services to this new economic sector, as well as an inviting, well-equipped place for small business people to work and interact.

“Rivercorp is working with the Campbell River Creative Industries Council and the city on this project,”

The chair also reported that “Rivercorp, through its Tourism Campbell River and Region and Visitor Centre departments, has been working very actively with regional tourism operators.

“Our objective is to increase tourism numbers and hotel stays and generate longer stays.