In British Columbia, Canada, a public entity called Metro Vancouver is a federation of 21 municipalities, one Electoral Area and one Treaty First Nation that collaboratively plans for and delivers regional-scale services. Its core services are drinking water, wastewater treatment and solid waste management. Metro Vancouver also regulates air quality, plans for urban growth, manages a regional parks system and provides affordable housing. The regional district is governed by a Board of Directors of elected officials from each local authority.
Now, Metro Vancouver is in the process of establishing a regional economic prosperity service that will focus on regional collaboration to advance shared economic, livability and sustainability goals in Canada’s Pacific Gateway.
Metro Vancouver’s Board of Directors endorsed a business plan for a new service that will establish a regional brand to attract strategic investment; the kind that contributes positively to livability and sustainability. It will work closely with public and private sector stakeholders to identify investment priorities and to collect and analyze relevant data, while leveraging the regional district’s considerable resources and positive reputation.
“Metro Vancouver is consistently rated as one of the most desirable places to live – but issues like the disparity between residents’ incomes and housing prices threaten our long term sustainability,” said Metro Vancouver Chair Sav Dhaliwal.
“Our aim is to enhance the region’s economic prosperity by helping our member jurisdictions attract the right kind of large scale investments, so that we may more fully realize our region’s vast potential as a great place to live and do business,” he added.
The new service seeks to promote foreign investment that will increase the number of well-paying, high-quality jobs in the region, which will in turn contribute tax revenues to support public infrastructure and service upgrades for the benefit of all residents.
“World-renowned for its natural beauty, Metro Vancouver is home to diverse, innovative, and creative industries, public authorities, universities, and local government agencies. What’s needed is a mechanism to coordinate the efforts of these sectors to enhance the region’s shared prosperity, livability and sustainability,” said Linda Buchanan, Vice-Chair of Metro Vancouver. “The new service will complement and amplify the existing economic development efforts of member jurisdictions and stakeholders in the region.”
The business plan was developed under the guidance of a steering committee and advisory group comprising representatives from public and private sectors, including the Port of Vancouver, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, the Surrey Board of Trade, the Motion Picture Industry Association of BC, Telus, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Seaspan, BC Chamber of Commerce, Mustel Group and others.
The model for the new service is based on the National Zero Waste Council, a Metro Vancouver initiative that has gained national and international attention for its work in bringing together leaders from many sectors to prevent waste and to accelerate Canada’s circular economy. The new service will be managed within Metro Vancouver and overseen by a Management Board comprising Metro Vancouver Board appointments, including both Metro Vancouver Directors and individuals from across the region who possess strategic insights and experience related to the attraction of strategic investment and knowledge relevant to regional prosperity members.
It will engage the private sector, member jurisdictions, and First Nations as well as agencies of the federal and provincial governments through two Advisory Groups, which will help set priorities and provide insights into broad national and international trends.
“Metro Vancouver is Canada’s gateway to the Pacific and we’re a hub of innovation thanks to the dynamic interaction between companies, academia, public agencies, entrepreneurs, and other talented people working to develop new technologies, products and services. Safeguarding our long-term competitiveness, prosperity and sustainability requires a concerted effort today,” added Dhaliwal.
The annual operating budget will start at $0.4 million for 2019 and is expected to increase to $2.5 million by 2023. Over the next several months Metro Vancouver will appoint a Management Board to provide oversight in the development of the marketing strategy and will begin recruitment for an executive director and resources for the new function.
Photo of Vancouver via Adobe Stock.