The District of Houston is conducting an online survey in support of a retail, commercial and entertainment strategy to support further revitalization of its downtown area (File photo/Houston Today)

District of Houston looking to encourage economic growth

Retail and commercial service leakage survey currently being done

  • Sep. 8, 2021 12:00 a.m.

The District of Houston (DOH) is currently doing an online survey in support of a retail, commercial and entertainment strategy to support further revitalization of its downtown area. The data from the survey will provide information that will help the DOH determine ways to attract new businesses as well as make downtown Houston a more attractive place for residents and visitors.

Houston Today spoke with DOH Director of Corporate Services Holly Brown about what the survey hopes to accomplish. “The survey is part of a larger retail, commercial, and entertainment strategy that Houston is having created by a consulting firm with grant funding from rural dividend to help inform investment opportunities in these sectors and encourage economic development. The survey may help identify gaps in services which can be highlighted in the report,” she said.

The last day to complete the survey is Sept. 15.

Economic development is one of five priorities in Houston’s 2019-2022 strategic plan. According to the plan, the DOH wants to broaden the base of economic employment, as the local economy is focused on forestry. The DOH wants to try to implement diversification to other types of employment to help combat against future changes to the forest industry.

READ MORE: More sawmill closures may be coming according to study

The other priorities in Houston’s strategic plan are asset management, infrastructure, emergency preparedness, and community sustainability.

The fact that the DOH is trying to move away from being solely dependent on the forestry industry could have something to do with the town’s troubles with sawmill closures in the past. In the spring of 2014, West Fraser announced the shutdown of its Houston Forest Products mill. The closure resulted in 225 job losses.

Just weeks ago, Canfor temporarily closed down the Houston mill for two weeks due to problems in southern B.C. caused by wildfire outbreaks.

READ MORE: Canfor mill re-opens after two-week closure

A recent story from Lakes District News outlined potential for the province of B.C. to see a significant decrease in allowable annual cut (AAC), along with up to ten more sawmill closures in the near future according to a recent study by B.C. Forestry industry consultant Jim Girvan.

In the study, Girvan says that due to pressure on the government by environmentalist groups to stop logging in old-growth forests, the AAC could be cut by 1 million cubic metres on the coast, and 3 million in the Interior.

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Eddie Huband
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