(Black Press Media file photo)

(Black Press Media file photo)

Sooke joins regional economic partnership

South Island Prosperity Partnership creates ‘task force’ to help local economy recover from pandemic

Sooke is taking a step towards economic recovery.

The District of Sooke has joined the South Island Prosperity Partnership, a regional initiative that aims to help boost the economy.

“As we move toward our post-COVID economy, the District of Sooke understands and supports the strategy of regional economic development collaboration. Joining SIPP and participating in the Rising Economy task force will be a key element driving our sustainable and diverse economic recovery and resilience,” Sooke Mayor Maja Tait stated in a press release.

SIPP is an organization with more than 65 public and private partners, including 11 local governments, nine First Nations, three post-secondary institutions, nine associations and non-profits, and 30 major employers.

“SIPP works to bolster our region’s economic and social prosperity by catalyzing the creation of high-quality, household-sustaining jobs, so that more families can afford to live, work and build a life here,” the organization states on its website.

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Amidst the challenges that COVID-19 has presented, SIPP created a task force to help economic recovery across the region.

“The primary focus of the task force is to provide guidance and gather input to inform a recovery strategy. Some initial actions include conducting a business impact assessment and evaluating demand for a Business Recovery Centre,” SIPP announced. “The task force will also measure impact on key economic assets, assess employment issues, and explore business transitions and new emerging opportunities.”

Tait said Sooke considered joining SIPP in the past but held off, wanting to instead try and develop something at a more local level.

“As things developed and under this council, it’s looking at what our internal capacity at a local level is. At this point, we all on council feel being part of a regional South Island solution is the way to go,” said Tait.

“The intent here, especially coming out of COVID, is that there is strength in numbers, there is importance in working together to draw in economic stimulus to the region. And then through our own local initiative we can look to attract what we feel is appropriate to our own individual community.”

Tait added she is looking forward to joining the table of discussion moving forward, and that having not participated, Sooke may have missed out on opportunities.

“We may have missed out simply because no one is aware of what Sooke is offering,” said Tait. “If we are not at the table showing what we have, no one knows what’s available.”

The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce also joined SIPP, which will aim to help chambers of commerce across the region join forces in creating strategies for economic recovery. The partnership includes Sooke, the West Shore, Saanich Peninsula and Esquimalt Chambers of Commerce.

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