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EDC outlines its goals in plan for the new year

Retaining and expanding existing businesses remains the No. 1 goal of the Fort Macleod Economic Development Commission.
Attracting new business and investment is the second priority, followed by tourism development, promotion and attraction.
The fourth goal laid out in the 2012 draft economic development plan is to support council and administration in community development projects.
“There’s some good stuff in here,” Mayor Shawn Patience said.
Council had its first look at the 2012 plan on Jan. 9 as part of a monthly report submitted by economic development officer Martin Ebel.
Patience asked council to review the plan and provide some feedback.
“I don’t want us to just approve this,” Patience told council. “I would like you to spend some time on it.”
Ebel said in the plan it will be important for the EDC to provide support to the $122-million Alberta Public Security and Law Enforcement Training Centre that is to be built in Fort Macleod.
It is also important to support ongoing events that have economic or cultural value to Fort Macleod, such as the Santa Claus Parade.
The report states the EDC in 2012 will work co-operatively with the Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures and the new Rural Alberta Business Development Centre to meet needs identified by local businesses.
That work includes:

  • Ensuring local businesses can bid effectively on tenders for construction of the police college.
  • Organizing succession planning seminars for local businesses.
  • Assisting in co-ordinating and arranging seminars and workshops to help businesses expand, develop or operate more efficiently.
  • Responding to arising issues.
  • Working with the Chamber of Commerce to boost that group’s membership and strengthen the organization.
  • The 2012 plan also states the EDC will work with institutions and businesses in the process of locating in Fort Macleod.
    “Special focus and emphasis is to be put on business types that Fort Macleod lacks or is under-served in, and development along Main Street and infill locations,” the plan states.
    That work includes:

    • Assisting council, the municipal manager and others in development work related to the police college, and attempting to harmonize its construction with economic development opportunities with Fort Macleod.
    • Assisting businesses in the process of locating to Fort Macleod with issues such as permits and information.
    • Promoting hotel development in Fort Macleod.
    • Assisting with creation of an area development plan for a new highway commercial district on the east end of Fort Macleod.
    • Revamping the area development plan for the industrial park.
    • Supporting the Southern Alberta Community Loan Fund, which provides affordable start-up loans to low-income entrepreneurs.
    • Exploring ways to make it easier to do business in Fort Macleod.
    • Attracting new business.
    • The EDC in 2012 will promote Fort Macleod by:

    • Promoting the town from a tourism and business perspective in the media.
    • Promoting Fort Macleod at trade shows.
    • Positioning Fort Macleod as a regional leader at local and regional conferences.
    • Nominating Fort Macleod for awards.
    • Taking advantage of positive media exposure and finding ways to increase coverage.

    The EDC will provide tourism development and support by:

    • Working with existing attractions on promotions.
    • Co-ordinating a combined marketing plan for the Empress Theatre, Fort Museum and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump as developed with Travel Alberta.
    • Working with area and regional partners to attract visitors.
    • Supporting new tourism opportunities.
    • Working with council to explore the potential to upgrade Fish and Game Park to accommodate more concerts and events.

    The EDC will continue work on the redesign of the town of Fort Macleod Web site and development of a promotional DVD for the Town of Fort Macleod.
    The final goal is pursuing other projects and initiatives, such as a biofuel plant for the southwest region.
    “I’d like council’s comments on that plan,” the mayor said.