Economic Development Strategic and Future Growth Plan
The Economic Development Strategic & Future Growth Plan functions as a road map for the Town of Three Hills and its partners in the community to bring about its vision for the future. The strategy is predicated on the fact that economic development must be action-oriented and have specific strategic objectives, goals and actions that can be identified and evaluated over time. The strategy also functions as a direct extension of the input and feedback received through an extensive consultation process with business and community leaders. Through the engagement, the vision for the Economic Development Strategic & Future Growth Plan was developed.
"The Town of Three Hills creates an environment where our people and businesses are inspired and welcome to come home to.”
The process for undertaking the Economic Development Strategic & Future Growth Plan has been as follows:
- BUSINESS RETENTION AND EXPANSION: Through the use of MDB Insight’s Triage BR+E, a random sample telephone survey was done with 70 businesses. The result of these surveys uncovered individual business concerns as well as overarching challenges and opportunities for business development.
- BACKGROUND REVIEW AND BASE ANALYSIS: A background review was conducted of existing documents to understand the current planning and policy context. This was followed by a detailed economic base analysis that studied the local demographic, workforce and industry context. A commercial gap analysis also identified potential opportunities for future business development or attraction to meet population needs in retail and personal services.
- STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATIONS: A series of workshops with businesses and community members was held in addition to a workshop with the Economic Development Strategic & Future Growth Plan Steering Committee.
- SOARR ASSESSMENT: A strengths, opportunities, aspirations, risks and results (SOARR) assessment was conducted to categorize findings from the Triage BR+E, background research and engagement phases into an analytical framework to help inform strategic planning.
- IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: Taking the SOARR assessment results, this stage identified the strategic objectives and potential goals, actions, partnerships, timing, and performance measures to guide the implementation of the Economic Development Strategic & Future Growth Plan. Where appropriate, cost considerations were also included as well as potential sources for funding assistance.
Ensuring Three Hills remains a model for strong business engagement, support and growth, and maintains an unparalleled quality of life that welcomes home its entrepreneurial alumni and extended families and friends.
Why? Building on the strong sense of pride among community members and businesses, this objective makes connections to being open for smart growth which maintains the rural character the community values, while also being aware that some positive changes are needed in order to have progress and be capable of retaining youth or welcoming back adults that have once lived in the community as youth. This includes strong communications, coordination and collaboration with strategic partners in order to ensure existing and, new businesses are set-up for success.
Ensuring that communications infrastructure is reliable, accessible, and affordable and that a continuous supply of investment-ready land is available for development.
Why? Infrastructure gaps that prevent the community from competing for investment or population growth stand in the way of Three Hills’s success. Having sufficient land available for targeted industries will enable a balanced and stable economy that has room to grow in a controlled manner.
Ensuring appropriate plans and processes are in place to minimize barriers to high-employment development and support growth in strategically relevant industries.
Why? Three Hills currently has land that is not maximized for optimal employment use or density and has various processes and competitiveness considerations that require attention in order to make investment attraction easier in the sectors that are of strategic interest and other growing parts of the economy.
- Finalize 2019/2020 Implementation Plan and subsequent actions, required to achieve the objectives with the Economic Growth Committee.
- Align the Economic Development Strategic and Future Growth Plan with Council’s Strategic Plan (October 2019). Adjust the Implementation Plan accordingly.
- Proceed with the Area Structure Planning of future growth areas (to be determined by Council)
- Execution of the Implementation Plan.
- Annual review of Objectives and Implementation Plan