Bonnyville looks at ways to improve economic development

Bonnyville has begun tracking businesses coming into the community and those leaving in a new economic development initiative. At the last council meeting a report was presented that showed 16 new business licences were purchased since January, and ten businesses have chosen not to renew their licenses.

Deputy mayor for the Town of Bonnyville, Elisa Brosseau says the report is the beginning of the economic development initiative.

“I feel economic development something we can build on and get stronger at. Instead of just going in full throttle were just taking little baby steps and starting with what do we have on hand now that we can start monitoring,” she explained. In August Town Administration was directed to start tracking business licences and to present reports quarterly.

Council will plan on what to do with the information and how to expand on it as it goes, said the deputy mayor. For example, one element that may be explored more is why the businesses chose not to renew their licence.

Another element Brosseau would like to monitor is what types of industries are leaving town and which ones are opening. “It’s certainly something that I think we should start looking to in the future. Any new type of business coming to Bonnyville that we might be able to capitalize on and help build in the future.”

As for those closing, at this time the town does not track why they closed or how many people they employed before closing. “It’s definitely a concern when it’s a business that might employ 20 people as opposed to a new  business that might employ just one.”

From the list provided by Administration, Brosseau said the businesses opening were as diverse as those that closed. No one industry stood out as either more opening or more closing.

The most prevalent industry in Bonnyville is oilfield services with 33 active business licences. Second to oilfield services is restaurants with 29 active licences. Followed by electrical services, property management and janitorial services all with 19 active business licences.