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Esquimalt targets economic future

Esquimalt wants to hear from its 16,200 residents about how to spur on economic development in the seven-square-kilometre community.

Over the past year, the township consulted eight local economic sectors: small business, ship repair and defence, tourism, arts and culture, development, education and training, environment and health and wellness.

“Now we want to hear from the ninth sector, the public sector,” said Mayor Barb Desjardins. “They’re active participants. This isn’t just ‘read and explain what others have said.’ This is get your hands dirty and contribute to the process.”

The township is hosting two public economic roundtable discussions on Wednesday (April 23), from 7 to 10 p.m. and April 26 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Archie Browning Sports Centre lounge, 1151 Esquimalt Rd.

An online survey is also also available until May 10 at esquimalt.ca, where residents can find economic development summaries for each sector.

“We’ve put together eight backgrounders, now we’re asking the public which areas they think should be a priority, and what they think is missing,” said Bill Brown, Esquimalt’s director of development services.

The township is using the gathered information to create an economic development strategy after council identified it as a priority.

Brown said the township has already implemented some recommendations that stemmed from roundtable discussions, including the installation of a public washroom near the West Bay Marina earlier this year, and facilitating talks between private landowners and federal departments looking for office space near CFB Esquimalt.

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