Sylvan Lake’s new economic development officer can relate to business owners — she used to be one.
Vicki Kurz joined town staff on Monday, after relocating to Central Alberta from her native Ontario. There, she at one time owned and operated a Timber Mart home centre and manufactured trusses. That was before she embarked on another career, serving as economic development manager with the Dryden Development Corporation.
During her 5 1/2 years in that position, Kurz helped the city become investment-ready — working on investment profiles, sector profiles and a community profile.
“I’m hoping that we can take some of those experiences and use them here in Sylvan Lake,” she said.
Sylvan Lake is in a much different situation than Dryden, acknowledged Kurz. Here, the task is to manage growth; in Dryden it’s to attract investment so that growth can occur.
“There’s plenty of opportunity,” said Kurz of her new home.
Before coming to Sylvan Lake, she served on the board of Trans Canada Trail Ontario and then managed the Path of the Paddle Project — a Trans Canada Trail Ontario initiative to develop a 900-km water route from the Manitoba border to Thunder Bay.
Now 51, Kurz said she and her partner wanted to move west. That urge grew after her daughter moved to Sundre last fall. She’s now attending Olds College.
“I prefer this size of a community,” said Kurz, adding that she even heard glowing reports about Sylvan Lake from residents of Ontario.
Kurz replaces Matt Cornall, who resigned late last year to accept the position of investment attraction officer with Central Alberta: Access Prosperity.
“What I’m doing right now is I’m reading through what’s been done to date based on the Sylvan Lake economic development strategy,” said Kurz, who praises the town for the planning it has done to encourage and accommodate growth.