Sylvan Lake hunting for commercial, industrial investment

Sylvan Lake’s new Business Recruitment Team is developing a game plan that it hopes will attract commercial and industrial investment.

Sylvan Lake’s new Business Recruitment Team is developing a game plan that it hopes will attract commercial and industrial investment.

The 11-person committee, which was struck by Sylvan Lake town council in January, is made up of business and property owners, developers and Realtors, and representatives from the town, Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce and a financial institution.

“This council has made investment attraction a priority this term, and the Business Recruitment Team will play a lead role in diversifying Sylvan Lake’s economy in the future,” said Mayor Sean McIntyre in a release.

The group has already set a number of priorities: overcoming barriers to business investment, creating a supportive business environment, developing recruitment and marketing materials, designing a tenant mix, and identifying and contacting prospective tenants.

“As a recruitment team we’re focusing on the first priority first — overcoming barriers to business investment,” said Vicki Kurz, Sylvan Lake’s economic development officer.

On April 2, the Business Recruitment Team participated in an investment attraction engagement session with an eye to developing a five-year strategy.

It also plans to conduct one-on-one interviews with members of industry to identify opportunities for investment.

Kurz expects to have the investment attraction strategy completed by September. That will help the town and its partners attract investment, she said, and could open the door for government funding to support those efforts.

Last week, said Kurz, a luncheon for local Realtors was organized to encourage their help.

“In a lot of cases, the Realtor is the first point of contact, not the municipality,” she explained.

The Business Recruitment Team, which meets monthly, has a mandate that covers the entire town and a broad range of issues, said Kurz.

“As an example, we are short some heavy industrial property and we’re in the process of doing up an application for annexation in order to address that.”

Sylvan Lake’s economic development officer since March 2013, Kurz has been getting calls from investors and business people interested in the town.

“The appetite seems to be there,” she said, adding that national exposure like the kind Sylvan Lake earned by winning Kraft Hockeyville on April 5 doesn’t hurt.

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