Advisory committee sets out priorities
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.
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.