Our Community – Our Future

You are invited to visit our project website, www.trfuture.org If you have property in Tumbler Ridge and live somewhere else, please fill out our online Non-Resident Property Owner Survey and offer your vision for the future of Tumbler Ridge by clicking on the Focus Group link.

Our article next week will feature what business people are saying in our Business/Employer Survey. We will lay out some key questions and reveal some unexpected differences between the results of that survey and our recently completed Resident Labour Market Survey. In the meantime, in case you are newly aware of our Project or missed our December 21 article, today?s article repeats some of what we said. Most people have been very over the past two weeks, so we want to be sure you are fully updated as we enter the final stages of the Project.

2006 will be an exciting year as Tumbler Ridge continues to change rapidly. With the intensive increase in resource industry activity all around us, we must remind ourselves that the vast majority of us are here because we want to live in a small and beautiful community that offers plenty of outdoor recreation. To stay here and be happy and healthy, we also need:

?Diversified stable employment

?Thriving local businesses

?Careful town planning and development

?High quality public services and facilities

?Abundant sports, recreation, arts, and cultural activities

All these things depend on a strong and steady economic base and a stable population over the long term. We have to avoid depending primarily on one or two industries and Tumbler Ridge must remain attractive to people of all ages.

So, how can we strengthen and stabilize our economy and population? What can we look to besides coal, oil, and gas? How much should we depend on tourism, retirement incomes, arts and culture, and potential sources of income we may not have thought about? Whatever direction we want our community to take, we have to take strategic action now. For example, we have to protect and preserve the wilderness within our District and around our borders if we want to attract tourists, who are also looking for other attractions and more overnight accommodations. Seniors need special medical services and other support. Kids need healthy, constructive, fun things to do. To have all these things and maintain a healthy economic and social life, we need a new level of coordination and strategic leadership inside our community.

We are offering a set of skill development workshops to raise our community awareness and improve our ability to work together. These workshops, in January through March, will help our leaders, volunteers, business people, and employees become more effective. If you would like to make a positive difference in your community, please check out the ad attached to this article. Detailed course descriptions will start to be published next week. In the meantime, please call me or the staff at Northern Lights College for more information and to sign up for your choice of the workshops.

The Community Visioning and Labour Market Planning Project is creating a legacy of ongoing improvement through citizen planning and action. Please participate.

Ryan Murray, Project Administrator

(250) 242-5591, extension 4403

The Government of Canada has contributed funding to this initiative.