Expect a knock on your door

High Prairie and Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Rodney Gainer sets up the chamber’s office in the Town of High Prairie civic building. The office is open Tuesday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To make an appointment, email him at office@hpchamber.net.
High Prairie and Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Rodney Gainer sets up the chamber’s office in the Town of High Prairie civic building. The office is open Tuesday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To make an appointment, email him at office@hpchamber.net.

Business input sought to plan future

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Businesses in the High Prairie area will soon get a visit as part of a program to collect data and help municipal councils plan for future development.

The High Prairie and Area Chamber of Commerce has become a partner in the Business Visitation Program, first proposed by Community Futures Lesser Slave Lake Region.

The program would be conducted separately for the Town of High Prairie and Big Lakes County. Each council would customize a set of questions to obtain information it believes would be most valuable.

“The information from this program is very valuable for the chamber, the town and the county,” says chamber executive director Rodney Gainer.
“We’re trying to build a business asset list.
“Nobody really knows what all the businesses are in the region.”

Gainer and Community Futures general manager Christopher Robblee plan to revisit councils soon to gain support to move forward.

Last month, Robblee presented the proposal to councils and gave them time to respond.

Already, the chamber is eager to progress with the program.

“It helps with the community and economic development,” Gainer says.
“We are starting to build partnerships and move forward.”

Gainer will visit businesses to acquire information and hear about concerns and issues from owners and operators over a six-month or one-year period.

Information and data will be collected to aid with effective strategic planning. Business issues must first be understood before recommendations to municipal councils can be made, says Robblee.

“Community Futures will undertake an extensive study of businesses in the municipality and compile a complete list of the types of industries, services provided, employment statistics and cost structures,” says Robblee, who also serves on the chamber executive as events co-ordinator.

The study will also assess the needs of the local businesses before a quarterly report is compiled.

Business visitation actions would include one-on-one interviews, focus groups and community cafes, and meetings in conjunction with other business and industry meetings.

Several communities throughout Alberta have found the program valuable, Robblee says.

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