As Wetaskiwin eyes opportunities for economic growth in 2024 and beyond, the City is investing in its strengths. And, where there are challenges, they’re embracing opportunities where they can effect change, rather than dwelling on issues outside their control.
Take the major banks’ reluctance to invest in communities of fewer than 30,000 residents, for example. Since a rapid increase in population is unlikely, that avenue for growth will likely be a dead end. However, efforts to attract business by emphasizing the community’s affordability and lifestyle benefits can reap dividends, explains Economic Development Manager Vern May.
To learn more about the economic future for Wetaskiwin, join May as he delivers his second economic development outlook at the Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, Feb. 2 at Wetaskiwin’s Best Western Wayside Inn.
In his 18 months at the helm of Economic Development, May has witnessed the ebbs and flows that define the city’s economic heartbeat.
Among the highlights, 2023 brought several grand openings and milestones from both new and longstanding businesses, including the Co-op Gas Bar, Dirty Water Dog, Elevation Fitness and Lily Lash, in addition to Onguard Protective Services, R&J International Food, Red Swan Pizza and Shoppers Drug Mart.
“There has been some progress, but there are also some significant roadblocks to growth, and I promise that this presentation will be very candid on both fronts. How businesses can leverage the successes and help us through the obstacles will all be included in the discussion,” May says.
Additional highlights from the past year include the Economic Development Department’s online data tool, GIS ZoomProspector, to help put the city on the map for business relocation, investment and expansion.
The City was also approved as a designated participant for the Province’s Rural Entrepreneur and Rural Renewal programs.
“These programs are designed to foster growth in rural communities, and their approval reflects the city’s dedication to creating an environment conducive to economic development,” May notes.
And on the tourism front, operators in Wetaskiwin welcomed more than 65,000 visitors in 2023, marking a return to pre-COVID numbers. Those visitors are a testament to the resilience of our community and the attractiveness of Wetaskiwin as a destination.
Reserve your spot!
On Feb. 2, the Best Western Wayside Inn hosts the Chamber’s February luncheon and the City of Wetaskiwin Economic Development Update, an uncensored and unfiltered glimpse into the highs and lows of Wetaskiwin’s economic journey in 2023.
Tickets are limited, so secure your spot now and be a part of the conversation that shapes the future of our city. Learn more and purchase your tickets here.