Community Futures Cowichan is conducting a study on the feasibility of setting up a new association for businesses along the Trans Canada Highway.
The CFC has been awarded more than $9,000 by the province to determine if a new Duncan Highway Corridor Business Association, which would represent businesses and landowners along the TCH in the Duncan area, would be beneficial.
Cathy Robertson, manager of the CFC, said the idea for the new association came from recent meetings with the Duncan Downtown Business Improvement Association.
She said businesses and properties along the TCH are the area’s “face on the highway” where travellers receive their first impressions of Duncan and other communities.
“We felt it would be a good idea to talk to the businesses and property owners on the highway about coordinating their efforts to deal with things like local zoning, issues with their facades, crime and with the Ministry of Transportation,” Robertson said.
“We want to know if they would like an organization formed that would help them take advantage of opportunities and remove barriers.”
The funding for the feasibility study from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is part of approximately $700,000 in project development grants being awarded to eligible local governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations under the BC Rural Dividend program.
These grants, of up to $10,000 each, help rural communities develop projects to stabilize their economies and create long-term local employment.
Robertson said the next step is for the CFC to work with an independent consultant who will meet one-on-one with the business and property owners along the TCH, and hold town hall-type meetings to gather input into the idea of new business association for the highway.
“We expect to have a report prepared by the middle of the summer,” she said.