Ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee sets out pri­or­i­ties

The Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE - SEAN CHASE

The City of Pem­broke has a lot go­ing for it from an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment stand point, how­ever, a cit­i­zens’s panel is sug­gest­ing coun­cil fo­cus on eight pri­or­i­ties in the fu­ture.

The Pem­broke Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee re­cently pre­sented its semi-an­nual re­port to coun­cil re­veal­ing the re­sults of three ini­tia­tives it has en­gaged in over the past year. Work­ing with eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Heather Salo­vaara and chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer Terry Lapierre, the com­mit­tee gath­ers in­for­ma­tion and com­ments from the First Im­pres­sions Com­mu­nity Ex­change, the Busi­ness Re­ten­tion and Ex­pan­sion Project and the Com­pet­i­tive Ad­van­tages Study.

Topping the list of pri­or­i­ties is the de­vel­op­ment of the wa­ter­front. Com­mit­tee chair­man Jamie Bram­burger ac­knowl­edged that while the city is work­ing to at­tract de­vel­op­ment at the wa­ter­front, this needs to be pur­sued with Pem­broke of­fer­ing more recre­ational op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“The wa­ter­front is the jewel of Pem­broke and we think that needs to con­tinue to be a pri­or­ity for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment,” said Bram­burger. “It will con­tinue to bring peo­ple to this com­mu­nity.”

The com­mit­tee is sug­gest­ing it cre­ate a sep­a­rate eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment web­site with Search Engine Op­ti­miza­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the Com­pet­i­tive Ad­van­tages Study, it would be a one-stop shop for investors look­ing at Pem­broke.

“You want Pem­broke to show up when they are do­ing their searches so we think that should be given some sig­nif­i­cant con­sid­er­a­tion,” added Bram­burger.

The com­mit­tee also sug­gested the city cre­ate a mar­ket­ing plan that de­vel­ops an iden­tity for Pem­broke and mar­ketable doc­u­ments for investors. The city should con­duct a gap anal­y­sis to help un­der­stand where gaps may be in cer­tain in­dus­tries or ser­vices and al­low for tar­geted out­reach to fill th­ese gaps. The com­mit­tee also rec­om­mends a pop­u­la­tion growth strat­egy with an idea of at­tract­ing more peo­ple to live in Pem­broke, there­fore fill­ing jobs, grow­ing the pop­u­la­tion and at­tract­ing home-based en­trepreneurs who may ex­pand the busi­ness com­mu­nity.

“The down­town has cer­tainly been re­bound­ing,” noted Bram­burger. “The col­lege is an as­set down­town. There are a lot of young peo­ple com­ing into the com­mu­nity and we have a vi­brant se­niors pop­u­la­tion so what can we do to re­ally de­velop a mar­ket­ing plan that re­flects that and al­lows Pem­broke to con­tinue to grow?”

Busi­ness own­ers should be bet­ter ed­u­cated on sup­port ser­vices, grants and loans and an au­dit of sig­nage, in par­tic­u­lar those that high­light tourist at­trac­tions and ser­vices, should be done. The com­mit­tee also agreed that dig­i­tal in­fra­struc­ture needs to be de­vel­oped to ex­ploit the po­ten­tial that comes with strong fi­bre in­ter­net for both com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties.

In ad­di­tion to Bram­burger, Pem­broke Mayor Mike LeMay and Coun. An­drew Plum­mer, the Pem­broke Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee in­cludes Stephane Levesque, Matt Bimm, Lisa Ed­monds, Adam Lesco, Michael St. Jean, Mike Thomp­son, Bill Halkett and Tracey Dean.

SEAN CHASE/DAILY OB­SERVER

The Pem­broke Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee re­cently pre­sented its semi-an­nual re­port to city coun­cil. In the photo are (left to right) mem­bers Bill Halkett, Tracey Dean, Lisa Ed­monds, Michael St. Jean and com­mit­tee chair­man Jamie Bram­burger.

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