MIEDS wants input on priorities

  • Feb. 14, 2011 8:00 p.m.

The Misty Isles Economic Development Society is seeking input on its economic development priorities over the next three to five years. MIEDS staff have also promised to improve on public engagement, communication and their efforts at turning ideas into action. MIEDS executive director Travis Glasman spoke at the Moresby Island Management Committee meeting Feb. 10. He outlined the work the agency has done over the last three years and discussed the upcoming priorities. Mr. Glasman said MIEDS has taken its priorities from the 2006 Community Viability Strategy in the past, but continues to seek input from the communities. “We want to be mindful of emerging issues,” he said. So far, forest tenure discussions and technical support related to the interim tenure offered to the communities, agriculture strategy, Haida Gwaii Tourism Advisory Committee support, and a trail strategy have been priorities for MIEDS. In the future, MIEDS plans to assist in investigating Islands waste solutions; hold a public Islands-wide symposium on community economic development and Haida Gwaii Summit for islands leaders to have strategic discussions; value added manufacturing research and support and short term job creation. Members of MIMC suggested freight would become a huge issue in the future. “I don’t know what angle, but I know its going to be a problem,” said Stan Hovde. Another member of the public suggested MIEDS get involved in lobbying BC Ferries to maintain a reasonable fare structure. MIMC chair Evan Putterill said that at a meeting in Port Clements, people suggested MIEDS should work on more short-term employment that is tied into long term objectives. Also people are interested in a detailed analysis on the use of second growth. In other MIEDS news: The community’s 25,000 m3 forestry license to cut is being developed by BC Timber Sales and will be approved and up for tender by July. Committee member Gord Usher asked whether the cut would all be one block or whether it would be parceled out. “Will small guys be able to get involved?” he said. Mr. Glasman said it will depend on the economics of the block the communities get – ie. whether it is second growth or larger trees. Hotel Tax: Fifty percent of hoteliers, accounting for 50 percent of the islands beds must agree to the tax before it can be implemented. Then it would be charged to those who stay at hotels on the islands (with four rooms and more). Committee member Heron Wier said there were very few “no’s” from Sandspit hoteliers and a few in Masset, but several in Queen Charlotte. The Tourism Advisory Committee intends to try to speak with hoteliers again. Hotel Tax money would be spent on tourism marketing. If a hotel tax is collected, the area could be considered a Resort Region and other funds could be accessed that way from the province (Mr. Glasman suggested this other money could support infrastructure like trails). Agriculture Strategy: Committee member Emmy O’Gorman wanted to know if all the work at present is just research. Mr. Glasman said yes. She asked how much money MIEDS has received for this project. Total project, $90,000, he said. “That seems like a lot of money to write some papers and hold some meetings,” said Ms O’Gorman. She wanted to know if any of the money was available to implement ideas for agriculture. “There are no ideas yet,” said Mr. Glasman.

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