Consultant Randy Sunderman presented his final draft to Cache Creek Council on May 13 after helping the village prepare an Busines Expansion and Attraction strategy.
He started with the bad news, saying that population is declining and all indicators are that it will continue for some time, with three-quarters of youth graduating this year saying they plan to move away from the area. Cache Creek has one of the older populations in BC with the median age being 51 – almost 10 years older than the rest of the province. Also, many of the people employed at local businesses come from out of town.
“Your destiny is controlled by a lot of external factors,” he said.
However, on the positive side, the Village has created planning documents such as the Recreation, Parks and Trail Master Plan and has started to implement it. There is new investment in the community and the talk of more.
“Our success will come from attracting one family at a time,” he said, adding that it may not sound like much, “But it will help change direction caused by some of the negative things.”
He recommend that Cache Creek hire a full time economic development officer to plan for and take advantage of opportunities presenting themselves.
You have a three to four year window of opportunity, he said, to capitalize on potential mining developments, such as having the capacity to house future employees. “If these things do come to fruition, we need to be in a position to take advantage of them,” he said.
“It seems grandiose to me,” said Coun. Herb Hofer. “Are there any other communities the same size with economic development officers?”
Sunderman said Hope, Logan Lake and Clinton, for a while, all have EDOs.
“Cache Creek is a lot like Logan Lake,” he said. “You guys are following similar paths.”
Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta said they would read through the 41 page report and then meet with staff to discuss it – “And commit substantial resources with the will of Council if we are to implement your recommendations.”
“You have a good economic devevelopment (volunteer) committee,” said Sunderman. “They can help you move forward.”