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District of Sicamous Development Corporation looks at workforce shortages, internet issues

Presentation to council included report on popular visitors guide, hotel tax revenue
The Sicamous Visitor Experience Guide was printed and reprinted in 2022 as well as downloaded more than 400 times. (District of Sicamous Development Corporation image)

The District of Sicamous (DOS) Development Corporation presented its year-end review to council, addressing prorities like the district’s internet connectivity issues and possible workforce shortage solutions.

At the Dec. 14 Sicamous council meeting, tourism and economic development manager Carly Procyshyn presented the corporation’s annual update.

The corporation has researched iValley and TanEx as possible options for the internet connectivity issues the district faces, but Sicamous is currently ineligible for grant assistance until the district invests in its own study to figure out its specific connectivity challenges. Procyshyn said the issue may lie with the hard lines that run directly into peoples’ homes.

The labour workforce group created a resource guide to help businesses find staff and collect feedback for a new support website launching early next year. Procyshyn said the website will help employers streamline and screen resumes and find local people looking for jobs specific to this region. Merritt is currently piloting a similar website and Sicamous will look to them for feedback.

The corporation will have more industry specific workforce data available in its next update, Procyshyn said.

The workforce group is a collaborative group made up of the DOS Development Corporation, Salmon Arm Economic Development Society, Shuswap Economic Development Society, WorkSafe BC, Okanagan College, Community Futures and some other industry stakeholders.

The corporation appointed two incumbent directors and four new directors at the annual general meeting Sept. 28.

The Tourism Advisory Committee’s one-year term ended on Nov. 30 and the deadline for new volunteers to the committee was Dec. 14. The board is looking to appoint new tourism advisory council members in the new year.

The community economic development plan, completed in May 2022, involved community engagement by residents, Sicamous mayor and council and other district staff by phone, online and in-person consultations.

The year-end budget update showed the corporation currently in the red for revenue, not counting Municipal and Regional District tax (MRDT) deposits that lag about three months behind. After projected MRDT carryover of about $15,000, Procyshyn calculated that the year-to-date profits from the tax would total $107, 360, an increase of 54 per cent from last year. A projected budget is complete for next year, waiting on Destination BC feedback. The estimation for 2023 is revenue of $188, 500, which includes the 2022 MRDT carryover and a fee for service paid by the District of Sicamous.

The corporation’s largest expenditure this year was the visitor experience guide. Procyshyn said the first run printed 750 copies which were gone in two weeks, and the second printing of 1,500 copies has only 25 left. Every copy was distributed in Sicamous and the guide was digitally downloaded an additional 412 times. Visitor feedback included a love for the accommodation section, popular Top 10 lists and the hope for more stand-alone restaurant and shopping guides.

READ MORE: Sicamous development corporation asks residents what businesses the community needs

READ MORE: Sicamous council gives proposed zoning bylaw third reading for second time


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Rebecca Willson

About the Author: Rebecca Willson

I took my first step into the journalism industry in November 2022 when I moved to Salmon Arm to work for the Observer and Eagle Valley News. I graduated with a journalism degree in December 2021 from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
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