Both business and political leaders from the Fraser Valley came to Abbotsford on Tuesday to debate economic strategies during the inaugural Abbotsford Economic Symposium.
The event attracted more than 300 people to the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre to listen to presentations, participate in workshops and share ideas on how to strengthen the Fraser Valley.
One presentation featured five Fraser Valley civic leaders – including mayors Bruce Banman (Abbotsford), Ted Adlem (Mission), Jack Froese (Township of Langley) and Peter Fassbender (City of Langley, along with Surrey’s Deputy Mayor, Linda Hepner – discussing municipalities working together.
Banman told the crowd local governments need to think more about the area as a whole instead of focussing on individual communities.
“One of the things we have to start doing was start thinking of ourselves as a region rather than kingdoms. A win for Abbotsford is a win for the region.”
He said what is needed is economic drivers for the Fraser Valley.
Hepner said the Valley is continuing to grow and business opportunities abound.
“We have more industrial land than any where else in this region,” she said, adding that the area “South of the Fraser is a strong player in the economy.”
The symposium featured guest speakers, including John Furlong, the former CEO of the Vancouver Olympic Committee.
He told the crowd that if they want to achieve anything, they have to believe in it.
“You should have a strong commitment to that belief. You should be known by it, it should shine out of you.”
He said whether this is as a human being or a business, or a community, belief in what you are doing is key.
“We had that belief,” he said regarding the 2010 Olympics.