- Continue to support the role of CEPCO
- Encourage our staff at city hall to continue with their “pro-business, can-do” attitude
- Support low taxes, which is a big reason many businesses come here and stay here
- Maintain strong relations with our First Nations neighbours
- Support for Revitalization Tax Exemption Plans
While Chilliwack is one of the best places in the world to live, it is also one of the best places to work. Our local economy is diversified, with a skilled work force and a business-friendly city hall. But our growth projections tell us that we have to accommodate another 40,000 people in Chilliwack in the next 20 years. Many of those people will be seniors, but there will also be many people that will need jobs.
Our previous city councils had the foresight to create CEPCO (Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation). This was a reaction to the closure of our former CFB base, and our city needed a jolt. The CFB was a big player in our local economy, and its closure forced us to think about diversification.
Since then, CEPCO has promoted and enabled economic growth in Chilliwack. It is a contact point for new business, facilitating in any way possible, and getting answers to questions quickly and accurately. It also works with existing businesses, maintaining relationships and offering solutions when they look for a new location.
CEPCO has been instrumental in transforming our economy from agricultural / forestry to the diversified economy that we now have. Although our agricultural sector is still a predominant player in our local economy, we now have multiple industrial sites, a vibrant education park, and an opportunity to revitalize our downtown. CEPCO played a big part in all of these projects.
Our city hall is also business-friendly, with fast approval times and a “can-do” attitude. We have staff that will help and find answers, rather than throw up road-blocks. We have lower property taxes than our neighbours down the valley. We provide tax incentives targeting certain revitalization projects, like the Industrial Revitalization Tax Exemption and the Downtown Revitalization Tax Exemption. All these reasons make Chilliwack an attractive place to do business.
I believe that we should form strong relationships with our First Nations neighbours and work together with them, as bare land becomes increasingly scarce. There are already many opportunities for industry and business on First Nations land, and in Chilliwack, that trend is likely to increase, as most of the First Nations land in Chilliwack is flat and close to services.
More businesses staying here and moving here means more jobs for our local population, and more property taxes to pay for local services. More businesses developing property here means property taxes collected annually on those properties increases significantly. Many job opportunities in a city helps solve many of the other issues that we are currently grappling with. A thriving city needs job opportunities in all pay levels.