In the 10 years, I sat on Town Council, I had the privilege to actively collaborate with past councils to help establish some important advisory committees. One of those committees was the Gull Lake Economic Development Committee.
In my first term as Mayor, the growth and sustainability of the Town was a major focus for the Town Council. Our first experience with economic development was with a website developer who also had a great deal of experience in marketing communities. He helped us identify several community needs and tasks that we could undertake to improve our small town. One thing we learned early on was that there is a lot involved in improving the economy of a small town. Economic development is far more comprehensive than just looking for ways to help local businesses. We worked on a variety of tasks from the marketing of the Centennial Place Subdivision to the downtown beautification work done by the Communities in Bloom Committee. Among other things, we learned that vacant buildings downtown, make it difficult to attract new businesses and that a lack of accommodations hinders the growth of the town.
Over the years, councils tried to cover as many tasks as possible but what Gull Lake needed was an Economic Development Committee. In October of 2017, Town Council hired Lindsay Aliban as the towns' Economic Development Officer and shortly after an Economic Development Committee was formed. The committee consists of two members of the council and dedicated members of the community. The committee is a Town Council advisory committee and works with community members and local businesses looking for opportunities and ways to improve the local economy.
The committee is continuously looking for new opportunities and ways to help grow our town's economy. The committee has worked to restore the Warrens Funeral Home and is helping the Heritage Committee with the restoration of the Wong Guy Shoe Shop. The creation of the community newsletter and expanded use of the town's social media to promote businesses has been well done. The creation of the Community Markets and Summer Solstice Event has helped to bring people to the downtown. The Economic Development Officer has also assisted a number of businesses in the development of their social media presence. At the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the EDO helped businesses by collecting and sharing important financial resource information.
The EDC is making a real difference in our community, and I would encourage anyone who has an interest in improving our community’s local economy to join the group. The mural on the side of the Curling Rink says it all when it comes to improving our town. It says, “Building Communities Together”, its how our community was built, and how it will move forward into the future.
Right now, the Gull Lake EDC is holding an online auction with lots of great items up for bid. The funds will help the EDC with some important projects they are currently working on and every dollar raised will go to helping the economy of our community. For more information on the online auction go to https://www.32auctions.com/gulllakefundraiser.
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