Abbotsford Chamber endorses city’s economic action plan

Chamber calls on council to increase public accountability

The board of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce has fully endorsed the city’s new economic development action plan and has asked council to increase public accountability of the plan’s recommendations.

Originally intended to take six months, the Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Prosperity released its plan in December, after two years of work on the document, which outlines ten key initiatives to make the city business-friendly.

The Chamber brought forward the idea of creating a plan to the City more than three years ago and many of its members served on the task force when it was created, shortly after the election of Mayor Bruce Banman in 2011.

Chamber president Mike Welte said he is pleased with the result of the group’s efforts.

“With the broader participation of the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC), city staff and other task force members I believe the resulting document is a much fuller and more robust action plan than originally conceived.”

The plan outlines initiatives such as reviewing the official community plan (OCP), improving transit and infrastructure to the airport, drawing agri-business to Abbotsford and encouraging desired developments through revitalization tax exemptions.

The plan is designed to be implemented over three years.

The Chamber has asked council to ensure the implementation of the plan by linking future council reports and recommendations to specific items of the plan and that EDAC review the progress of the plan at every meeting as a fixed agenda item.

They are also asking that the city make public, in a timely manner, the review of the project initiation and progress, to be completed every six months by EDAC.

“In this way we can ensure that the thought and effort which went into the economic development action plan is valued and its recommendations recognized as an urgent and topical strategy to be used by the city to lead and stimulate economic growth,” said Welte.