The City of Abbotsford spent a combined $89,000 on its international marketing strategy, an economic development department website, and a geo-map tool that aims to connect developers and companies with land. That total includes $25,000 obtained by the city from a federal grant.
The figures weren’t available in the fall, when the city launched the site, the tool, and a strategy looking how to make the city more attractive to international investors.
The interactive CAED website was created by a Langley company and features information touting Abbotsford as a great place to live and work, and highlights the city’s programs to encourage business growth. It cost $26,000. The site can be found at caed.abbotsford.ca.
The geo-map tool, which cost an additional $13,000, combines property listings and demographic data with an interactive map of the city, so anyone looking for a new business site can view the best locations, along with an array of mapped data about consumer spending, labour force distribution, household income and more. It can be found at abbotsfordsitefinder.ca.
The international marketing strategy was prepared by international firm Development Counsellors International. It said Abbotsford must challenge a reputation for being “unfriendly” to business and a lack of global awareness. The strategy suggested rebranding Abbotsford International Airport as Abbotsford-Metro Vancouver International Airport, and sprucing up the terminal. The strategy cost a total of $50,000, although half that amount came from a federal program designed to increase foreign investment in Canadian communities.
The report also proposed a regional public relations campaign, and recommended branding local agricultural products as “Made in Abby: Abbotsford, British Columbia.”
The report said: “Such a small effort – combined with its catchy, edgy ‘Abby’ reference – has the potential to create awareness throughout the agricultural world of the diversity and quality of the Fraser Valley’s top city.”
In a written statement to The News, Mayor Henry Braun said the city’s tools “form an important foundation as we continue to build capacity behind our economic development initiatives.”