Monday, April 16, 2012

Rocky Mountain House - Development or stagnation?

The Town of Rocky Mountain House in West Central Alberta has a rich history, going back to the fur trading era. It also has a problem:

By Helge Nome

At its regular meeting on April 10, the Clearwater County Council received a delegation from the Rocky Mountain House and District Chamber of Commerce in regard to stagnating economic activity in the area, with shoppers taking their money elsewhere.

The chamber group, Cindy Taschuk, Judy Richardson and Shirley Sellers, presented a plan for bringing shoppers back to the community which involves attracting an "anchor store", like Target, setting up shop in the town. This would meet an identified need for an outlet for clothing, shoes, children's toys, gifts and sporting goods.

Rocky was compared to other similar communities, like Drayton Valley, Olds, Stettler and Vegreville, all of which have benefited financially from big box stores coming in.
Rocky came up short and it was noted that a lot of the business from native people in the area had moved to Drayton Valley. Local people also find Sylvan Lake to be a convenient shopping location, avoiding the hustle and bustle of the City of Red Deer.

In order to inform local business people about the adjustments needed, on their part, to accommodate an anchor store, the delegation asked the County Council to consider help paying for a consultant to come into the community with pertinent advice. The amount involved would be in the range $3,500 - $5,000.

Reeve Pat Alexander responded by saying that the Rocky Chamber should include the Caroline & District Chamber of Commerce in the planning and execution of its agenda, as there is a history of cooperation between the Town of Rocky, Village of Caroline and Clearwater County. The delegation agreed to do this and the project remains a work in progress.

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