Tuesday, March 10, 2015
A Different View on Economic Development for the Point
I enjoyed your whimsically negative blog about an economic development plan for Point Roberts. In fact, there is such a plan, which was adopted by the Point Roberts Taxpayers’ Association in 2012 and updated in 2014. Attached is a copy. We acknowledge that the targets for employment and business growth are vague; this is because there is practically no economic data available for the Point.
We would be the first to admit that having an economic development plan does not automatically bring economic development, which is tough to achieve given the numerous constraints we face. We have, however, found it a useful reference when we consider issues such as the radio towers or the replacement of the pier at Lighthouse Marine Park. We think it is helpful for a voice representing residents/taxpayers who can speak positively about the mutual benefits that accrue to both permanent and seasonal residents from sustainable, harmonious economic activity that contributes to the quality of Point Roberts for all of us. We are particularly interested in the opportunities that may be on the bright side of some of our significant constraints, such as the border, which can be variously viewed as our biggest problem or the saviour of our unique community. Certainly a number of our businesses such as gas stations and parcel depots are there strictly because of the border, whatever we might think about their contribution to the community.
Economic development is as much about retaining existing businesses as it is about attracting new ones. For example, through our participation in the Border Issues Committee we have supported (thus far unsuccessfully) efforts by Brewster’s to be allowed to employ Canadian chefs on a part-time basis, because there are no chefs resident in Point Roberts and none on the US mainland who are willing to going through the border four times for an evening’s work. It is very difficult to operate a quality restaurant without this kind of expert help.
We are realizing that this objective of business retention may become even more important now that gasoline prices and the Canadian dollar have declined significantly and appear likely to stay low for some time. Those trends will affect everything from the amount of traffic through the border (maybe a good thing) to property values (which are totally driven by the Canadian dollar).
In short, we think that having a thoughtful and constructive perspective on the economic future of the Point may help us to build a better community for all. It can certainly do no harm.
Ken Cameron FCIP RPP
[the following is the first page of the economic development plan that Mr. Cameron refers to in his comment. much thanks to him for his response. judy ross]
Purpose: To promote increased business and employment opportunities in Point Roberts,
while preserving its natural beauty and small town charm – our biggest benefits for both
residents and visitors.
Vision: A sustainable community that can provide jobs and local economic development
to support its permanent residents by meeting the needs of both permanent and seasonal
residents while preserving and enhancing Point Roberts’ unique lifestyle.
1. Significantly increase the total number of jobs in Point Roberts by 2020.
2. Increase the proportion of jobs that can support a family by 2020.
3. Incubate or attract more new businesses in Point Roberts by 2020.
1. Encourage businesses and residents in Point Roberts to “buy local” to keep money
circulating in the community.
2. Support initiatives to encourage visitors to extend their stay in Point Roberts.
3. Target and recruit appropriate businesses and residents for whom Point Roberts offers a
unique locational advantage.
4. Build the economy by building community through enhanced communications (eg. Point-
Interface, Point Roberts Radio) stronger artistic and social activities (eg. Arts and Music
Festival, July 1/4) and enhanced amenities for residents and visitors alike (eg. Marine
5. Work with other community partners and government agencies to maximize the
economic advantages provided by the Canada-U.S. border and to minimize the
6. Protect the natural environment and enhance the built environment as key economic