The Second Annual Business Walk is taking place in downtown 100 Mile House on the morning of Nov. 29 – with a change in its main point of focus.
It’s once again being held as just one part of a business survey by the District of 100 Mile House, the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce (SCCC), the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and the province as a joint venture in polling as many local businesses as possible.
District director of economic development and planning Joanne Doddridge says there is “definitely something different” in this year’s Business Walk.
“In an effort to help with economic recovery and determining what businesses need the most, we’re going to have more wildfire-type focused questions.”
Organizers are placing more overall importance on their survey questions this year, she explains, because they want to hear how businesses are doing to gain a clearer assessment on the impacts this summer’s fires had on the local economy.
While the five regional recovery managers will share the information they collect, MJ Cousins holds role in representing 100 Mile House and South Cariboo CRD areas G, H and L, Doddridge explains.
“We are hoping the results of the survey will really help to inform the recovery manager’s work in doing her assessment of the local economic impacts and developing a recovery plan.”
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is participating in this project through its BC Wildfire Service, she adds.
Doddridge explains that even if you are not available or are not approached during the business walk on Nov. 29, calling the District office to request an appointment can result in someone coming out to visit your business to get your feedback to the survey questions directly.
“For town businesses, we will make sure that they get a copy of the survey and that they can participate if they want to,” she says, adding there will be a timeline, yet to be determined, so it’s important not to delay this too long.
SCCC executive director Shelly Morton says this year’s project has 23 volunteers helping out, so she and Doddridge are hoping they will speak with as many or more as last year, which totalled 103 businesses through just 19 volunteers.
“This is not a membership drive. These are just fellow business people and economic development practitioners [and other business professionals]. They are all volunteers just coming out to chat with the businesses about how they are doing.”
It is just a short visit of five-to-ten minutes duration, and then the team that analyzes this survey data will work together to make sure business needs are identified, and even fulfilled, where possible, she explains.
“If they are interested in participating and they are in the outlying area, they can talk to MJ Cousins, and she will come and talk to them about the survey, and possibly even added questions she may have for them.”
Doddridge says the project represents a great partnership between the District, the SCCC and the province.
Morton says it is “really important” that the recovery manager talks to each and every South Cariboo business she can, so Cousins shares a genuine, face-to-face conversation with businesses affected by the wildfires this year.
While Cousins’s work with the recovery won’t end until at least the end of March, this survey will be wrapping up much sooner, she explains.
Morton adds the Business Walk is happening about a month later than last year’s, so she and Doddridge hope those who can’t feasibly participate on Nov. 29 make an appointment to answer the survey questions by January, as the report will be issued shortly after the New Year.
“We really appreciate their participation in the Business Walk and survey.”
All the information collected is held confidential, and will be used to assist in an economic recovery plan, Morton adds.
Contact MJ Cousins by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at the District office at 250-395-2434, where you may also book an appointment with staff for a survey visit.