Members of the community came together on Feb. 6 at the Kinsmen Community Centre to have their say on the future course of Ponoka.
Victor Moisan, facilitator of municipal affairs and housing libraries, community and voluntary services, directed the session and kept everyone on track.
The economic development planning session allowed community members to participate in different workshops and contribute to the future direction of growth in and around Ponoka and develop strategies to promote, support and manage tourism development and economic growth. The workshops focused on what the community thought were the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats regarding Ponoka.
The session also focused on business retention and expansion, opportunity identification and investment attraction, community lifestyle development and marketing and promotions.
Carey Keleman, economic development officer for the Town of Ponoka believes the input of the public will help the economic development board by giving them guidelines and help them set goals for the future of Ponoka.
“The economic development board will use this information to draft an economic development strategic plan and then after consultation with Town Council, will ultimately develop a strategic plan for the next three years,” said Keleman. “This plan will then be formally approved by council. It will be posted on the town’s website when formalized in a couple of months.”
Keleman believes the results of the economic development session were beneficial to Ponoka.
“The result is more community buy-in to the end goals because they were part of the planning process,” she said. “This is the whole point of citizen engagement, to keep them involved and get their valuable input. This is why we call it community economic development.”