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2013 British Columbia Economic Development Awards Winners

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VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 07/03/13 -- The Economic Development Association of BC (EDABC) and Platinum Sponsor BC Hydro announced the winners of the 2013 BC Economic Development Awards at the BC Economic Summit Awards Banquet held Tuesday, June 24, in Vancouver, BC.

This year's award winners are (detailed descriptions follow):

1) Marketing Award: The EDABC Marketing Award recognizes achievement in marketing that supports economic development: Community Less than 20,000 Population: Misty Isles Economic Development. "Haida Gwaii Business to Business" Community More than 20,000 Population: Economic Development Cowichan - "Once Upon A Day... Cowichan"2) Community Project: The EDABC Community Project Awards recognizes an organization that has implemented various economic development initiatives that provide economic benefits to a community or region. Less than 20,000 Population: District of Logan Lake, "Tax Exemption Revitalization Program" More than 20,000 Population: Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, Business Walks Project3) EDABC Chairman's Award: Pat Bell, Previous Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training



"BC Hydro is committed to fostering economic growth across the province, and so we are particularly proud to recognize these community leaders who inspire with the determination and innovation they demonstrate as they build strong local economies," said Chris Heminsley, BC Hydro, Director of Economic Development. "BC Hydro is also pleased to be a partner with EDABC in celebrating the nominees, who have all made unique efforts within their communities while emphasizing the value of forming strong partnerships towards economic development."

"While effective economic development is a shared function of all levels of government, it is most effectively implemented at the local level," said EDABC Chair Geoff Millar. He added, "Communities across the province continue to make significant investments in the development of their economies and are increasingly aware that economic development programs are one of the main engines of economic growth and diversification."

This marks the 23nd year that EDABC has presented these awards. The awards are presented to association members working on community-based economic development projects in BC and are an excellent way to recognize individuals and groups that produce outstanding work in economic development that has helped to make a difference in supporting and expanding local economies.

"It continues to amaze me the incredible efforts put forward by communities and economic development professionals to ensure strong local economies. This awards program continues to generate keen interest amongst economic developers across the province and this year set a record for the number of entries received," said Dale Wheeldon, President and CEO, EDABC. "During this past year I have been fortunate to visit every region of the Province and it is clear to me that many communities are implementing creative and bold strategies to encourage economic growth. Narrowing it down to a few winners is becoming increasingly difficult for our judges. Combined, communities in BC invest $65 million in retaining and expanding local economies and in promoting tourism."

About EDABC

The Economic Development Association of British Columbia (EDABC) is the leading professional association of economic development practitioners in the Province of BC. EDABC currently has over 280 members from communities throughout the province. EDABC provides services that helps member communities grow and expand new and existing businesses, attract new business investments, and work towards strategic infrastructure investment, land use planning, and community enhancement.

EDABC services include an annual summit and networking event, educational and professional development opportunities, public relations, advisory services and resources and partnering with communities and the Province of BC to market British Columbia for business investment.

2013 Economic Development Award Winners

EDABC CHAIRMAN'S AWARD

Presented to Pat Bell

Annually, the Chair of EDABC, presents an award to an individual who has made a significant contribution to EDABC and economic development throughout British Columbia. These are in addition to the BC Hydro Economic Development Awards. This year, for the first time in its history, EDABC presented this year's award to a retiring provincial politician. The award was presented to Pat Bell, previous Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training. Through Mr. Bell's leadership, he led the creation and the implementation of the BC Jobs Plan, as well as economic recovery programs in Burns Lake and other initiatives directly or indirectly involving the board of EDABC and our members.

MARKETING

The EDABC Marketing Award recognizes achievement in marketing that supports economic development.

Community Less than 20,000 Population: Misty Isles Economic Development. "Haida Gwaii Business to Business"

Haida Gwaii Business to Business (www.HGB2B.com) is a website designed as an information sharing portal for small business. HGB2B is a general store for the business community and labour force of Haida Gwaii. The website was first created as a place where local people could record their respected skills, products and services. This information is gathered in a database and is provided to contractors or individuals looking for particular products, services or workers. This website has done the one thing that no other initiative has ever done on Haida Gwaii - it has erased boundaries! It doesn't matter if you are north or south, Haida or non-Haida, islander or mainlander...here on this web site you are a product, service or skill and you want to work on Haida Gwaii.

Community More than 20,000 Population: Economic Development Cowichan - "Once Upon A Day... Cowichan"

A short promotional film of the Cowichan Region focusing on lifestyle, business and leisure activities was developed to promote the region for investment, attracting new residents and tourists. To date over 30,000 hits on You Tube and VIMEO and the region has sold 1500 DVD's. The film has raised the profile of the region around the world. Film maker Nick Versteeg, composer Eric Smith, Economic Development Cowichan and over 80 musicians and artisans participated in the creation of the film. The video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHC9D11xA4c.

COMMUNITY PROJECT

The EDABC Community Project Awards recognizes an organization that has implemented various economic development initiatives that provide economic benefits to a community or region.

Less than 20,000 Population: District of Logan Lake, "Tax Exemption Revitalization Program"

The Logan Lake Revitalization Tax Exemption Program (RTEP) provides access to tax exemptions and early benefit payments in lieu of tax exemptions to businesses in Logan Lake. The program is intended to stimulate growth and development in commercial and industrial areas of town.

More than 20,000 Population: Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, Business Walks Project

In 2012 the COEDC developed Canada's first Business Walks program (modeled after Sacramento, California's metropulse program). COEDC staff facilitated stakeholder consultation and team building to create a program whereby the Commission could take the pulse of the business community, identify programming needs or regulatory barriers, as well as identify business requiring one-on-one assistance to grow. The Commission identified several key partners & business leaders in the Central Okanagan and facilitated one-on-one meetings in each municipality and business districts throughout 4 municipalities and Westbank First Nation to identify organizations to lead the project as directed by the COEDC. As a result of early stakeholder consultation and a regional collaborative approach the COEDC gained support from over 70 business leaders (including First Nations council and four mayors) as volunteer walkers; these leaders connected with over 325 businesses in a three hour span on October 4th 2012.



Contacts:
Dale Wheeldon
President and CEO, EDABC
(604) 819-3809



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