Gateway Gazette

Economic Recovery Opportunities Identified for Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

Post wildfire assessment reflects business needs; targets stakeholders and offers pragmatic recommendations for long-term growth and sustainability

(Calgary, Alberta- June 20, 2017) Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) presented its economic opportunity assessment report, “Embracing the New Economic Realities: After the Wildfires,” to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB).

The report shines a spotlight on the state of the overall business sector within the region and reflects the voice of multi-tiered stakeholder groups, including their view of what is working, what needs improvement, and ultimately, recommendations for ways in which businesses, industry and the community can work collaboratively towards success.

It is a consolidation of feedback from over 200 business and stakeholder interviews; and includes over 50 immediate, short, medium and long-term recommendations specific to business and economic recovery and growth throughout the region. 

Earlier this year, EDA assembled a 10-member team of experts in economic development, recovery and resiliency; each of which brought a significant amount of knowledge and first-hand experience to the task at hand. 

This final report is a consolidation of their research and expertise in response to feedback they received during the business stakeholder process.  

“Upon immersing ourselves in the community, we quickly learned that the region’s economic landscape was already suffering from not one, but two major traumas: the May 2016 wildfire and the economic downturn of 2014-2016,” said Leann Hackman-Carty, EDA CEO. “While this qualitative report is not meant to be a strategic plan, it does incorporate a wide variety of economic development strategies, tactics and best practices in economic recovery to help the community rebuild with intention, while capitalizing on the tenacity and entrepreneurial drive of its residents and business owners.”

The long-term economic impacts of the 2016 wildfires may still not be known for many months and possibly years to come. What is known is that there will definitely be a new normal for the community.  Out of the rubble, comes opportunities for renewed growth that can very often take a community beyond where it was before. Today’s strategic commitment to business revitalization, economic recovery and regional resilience will positively impact this unique and potential-rich community for a long, healthy future.

Read the report here.

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