Sustainable Economic Development Select Committee (SEDS)
WHAT IS SEDS & WHAT IS ITS MANDATE?
“SEDS” is the acronym for the Sustainable Economic Development Select Committee, appointed by the Village of Kaslo Council to explore economic development opportunities within Kaslo and Area D, and make recommendations to Council.
The SEDS Committee consists of appointed Kaslo Village Council members, plus one representative each from the Kaslo & District Chamber of Commerce, Selkierk College, the Kaslo & District Community Forest Society, one member at large representing the cultural sector, and two appointees made by the Electoral Area D Director for the Regional District of Central Kootenay. All 10 members are volunteers, and are voting members. Appointments are effective for a 12-month term, and are re-confirmed annually by the members' sponsoring organizations.
The Committee may, from time to time, recommend changes to the organizations or stakeholder groups represented on the Committee to Council.
SEDS meetings are held once a month or as required.
Criteria used by SEDS to analyze prospective strategies and proposed projects include:
- Financial requirements
- Job creation potential, both short- and long-term
- Environmental considerations
- Legislative requirements
- Public acceptance
- Return on investment
- Available human resources
Before December 21st of each year of its existence, the Committee must submit a final report with any recommendations it may have to the Village Council, identifying economic development strategies and/or projects specific to Kaslo and Area D.
CAN THE PUBLIC APPROACH SEDS WITH A PROPOSED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY OR PROJECT?
Yes. Inquiries may be directed to the Village of Kaslo office.
SEDS DEVELOPS A LIST OF POTENTIAL PROJECTS AS OF OCTOBER, 2014
Of the economic development strategies and projects that have come across the SEDS desk to-date, the top five in terms of Committee prioritization are:
- Choose Local
- Public Engagement
- BR&E Study
- Cultural Development Office(r)
A new campaign (“Choose Local, Try Us First!”) being launched under the auspices of the Kaslo & District Chamber of Commerce to encourage area residents to buy local products & services, and make shopping in the region more attractive to visitors. There is evidence that indicates the rippling positive effects for small communities that have a strong “choose local” ethos, benefits that go beyond mere economics. Watch for more information about Choose Local in the months ahead.
We are now firmly entered into the Digital Age. It is becoming increasingly important that individuals, businesses, public entities, and organizations have access to high speed internet connectivity. Communities that do not run the risk of being left behind. This presents very real challenges for often under-served small, remote communities like Kaslo and the North Kootenay Lake region. Kaslo infoNet, a non-profit internet service provider, in concert with Columbia Basin Broadband, has begun to lay out the first stages of a locally-controlled fibre optic network with the capacity to provide individuals, businesses, organizations, and government with fast, reliable internet service, in many cases at substantially higher speeds than currently available, at competitive prices.
SEDS has recommended a series of simple measures intended to bring local government representatives and citizens closer together. Recommendations include:
- Regular “coffee hours” held on a rotating basis at local restaurants and cafes, providing the public with opportunities to sit down and have casual conversations with elected officials on a regular basis;
- Regular web information, including this SEDS page on the Village of Kaslo website
Currently underway, this initiative (“BR&E” stands for “Business Retention and Expansion”) includes a detailed survey of dozens of businesses and non-profits in Kaslo and Area D, intended to provide an overview of current and projected economic indices for our region. This information should prove useful for both the private and public sectors in determining areas worthy of economic focus as we move further into the decade.
Cultural Development Office(r)
Many urban centres have sophisticated cultural development programs in place, in large measure because they have determined that a vibrant cultural sector and a healthy economy go hand in hand. Few rural communities have followed suit, thanks in large measure to a lack of financial and human capacity. An ad-hoc group of Kaslo and Area D citizens have come together to make a case for the establishment of a cultural development office – or officer – based in Kaslo, with a mandate to work with local and regional stakeholders to help strengthen our cultural sector, and in the process bolster the local and regional economies.