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Bowen Island council rolls out 'welcome mat' for businesses
A new policy aimed at fostering good relations between Bowen Island Municipality (BIM) and the business community has been given council's unanimous approval.
BIM's economic development advisory committee chairman Gordon Ganong, who spent nearly a year helping to develop the guidelines, said the thumbs up from council has the potential to stabilize the island's economy.
"For us to be able to have a vibrant economy, we really need to be able to encourage businesses to be here and have a welcome mat, you might say, for them when they arrive," he told The Undercurrent after council approved the policy Sept. 23.
The policy calls for BIM to support amendments to development permits, the land-use bylaw and the official community plan to address specific issues. Encouraging local ownership, skills development and positive impacts to local employment are among the criteria included in the new guidelines.
Ganong said the policy's goal is to "formalize" a value system for BIM to adopt when dealing with those looking to open new businesses or expand existing ones already on the island.
"Where this will be determined, as to whether there's any affect from this policy or not, will be how the municipal staff and council handle it," he said.
"Quite honestly, I have every faith that this council and this staff…will be handling it in a very positive fashion."
BIM's chief administrative officer Kathy Lalonde told council the new policy had the support of staff at municipal hall.