City hosts development showcase

The City of Grand Forks is open for business. That’s the message the city is spreading with their upcoming Development Showcase.

The City of Grand Forks is open for business. That’s the message the city is spreading with their upcoming Development Showcase, which goes from 12 until 6 p.m. on June 18 at gallery 2.

The showcase, which is free and open to all, features three different sessions ranging from a development lands overview presentation to a business immigration session and an employer information session for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

The day starts with an open house with appetizers and refreshments from 12 – 12:30 p.m. followed by the first session, which is regarding development lands overview, and land use and optimization discussions.

“The idea behind the project is to work with the development industry on spurring on development and investment into our community,” said Doug Allin, city administrative officer. “The city owns 114 properties that we wanted to have businesses and developers have a look at providing investment into to spur on our economy.”

Allin said the main goal of the project is to generate revenue for the community so the city doesn’t have to worry about increasing taxes.

“We have to broaden the tax base rather than having to look at further increases,” he said. “The idea behind this is to work with the Urban Development Institute, which is an organization that represents the development industry; further, to take our project on the road once we’ve communicated with our community to find out what some of our challenges will be.”

Allin said the properties have been acquired by the city over the years, but there hasn’t been a long-term plan in place.

Following the development lands overview are two sessions regarding the Provincial Nominee Program: the business immigration session (3 p.m.) and the employer information session (4 p.m.)

The PNP program is an economic immigration program designed to help B.C. meet its evolving labour market needs. The program is a tool for employers to attract and retain qualified foreign workers who have the skills and experience to contribute to B.C.’s economy.

“There’s two programs—one that’s aimed at investors and one that’s aimed at skilled employment labour,” said Wendy McCulloch, general manager of Community Futures Boundary. “What we’ve done with these programs is provide options under the PNP for immigrant entrepreneurs so they get fast-tracked into Canada if they are an investor in a business here.”

For the second PNP session, McCulloch said it’s aimed at businesses in the region that need skilled workers but can’t fill those positions.