Shuswap Economic Development Society:
A look at the Strategic Plan

“I wake up and ask myself what should I do today?
Go fishing? Go golfing? Go skiing? All of it is possible here.”

– Business Roundtable participant on the perks of living in the Shuswap

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has a distinct identity as one of British Columbia’s principal tourism sectors.The region is popular due to its access to nature, highly valued lakes, beautiful surroundings, ample outdoor recreation opportunities and vibrant small-town communities.The CSRD is comprised of several distinct communities and spans from Seymour Arm all the way to Golden, B.C. Each electoral area within the district has an individual yet interconnected economy that is worth cultivating.The abundance of environmental attractions coupled with the area’s laidback lifestyle including local festivals, art, dining, wineries, and more, has created a destination area with infallible character and undeniable potential.

One driving force behind the Shuswap Economic Development Society is to maximize the full potential of the Shuswap areas (specifically C, D, F and G). SEDS is contracted by the CSRD to provide economic development services for the South Shuswap (Area C/G), North Shuswap (Area F) and Falkland, Silver Creek, Gardome Lake and Salmon Valley (Area D). A way that this can be done is by enacting a strategy to bring successful economic developmentthat can revitalize communities, developand rehabilitate affordable housing, promote sustainability, attract investments, build wealth, encourage entrepreneurship, and create jobs.The SEDS Project Team aims to support the provision of effective, strategic, and beneficial economic development – beyond just the peaksummer and winter tourism seasons.With a vision to promote a year-round local economy that supports our vibrant communities and healthy environment;the SEDS team has collaborated with community members, businesses, organizations, and local leadersto create a strategic plan that targets areas for development within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. Founded from a passion to increase the overall opportunities and quality of life for those who are living, working, studying, and playing within the Shuswap neighborhood, this strategy aims to achieve eight different objectives which primarily focus on the needs of residents and local businesses.

SEDS Strategy – 8 Main Objectives

  1. Maintain our rural character and sense of place
  2. Diversify our economic base
  3.  Promote 4 seasons of business
  4. Enhance quality of life for all ages
  5. Strengthen the local labour market
  6. Promote vibrant community centers
  7. Increase access to housing
  8. Build climate change resilience
Grounded within the community’s values this strategy’s objectives are listed according to how community members ranked their impact (with 1 being the highest).Along with the main objectives, we have the concrete steps, initiatives, projects, programs, or actions that will take place to allow us to move towards the overall vision and help us to achieve our goals. These actions are phased according to when they should be initiated – butnot necessarily be completed – overthe next five years. Together, the organized objectives and concrete actions serve as a roadmap to identify where we are going and how we’re going to get there.

Action Plan

  • Foundational Actions (Ongoing)
  • Year 1 Actions (Phase 1)
  • Year 2-3 Actions (Phase 2)
  • Year 4-5 Actions (Phase 3)

Foundational Actions
The foundational actions within the strategy are set with the purpose to be ongoing. Rather than fulfill these actions to a completion, foundational actions are repetitive processes, meant to be revisited as the region and economy evolves. These actions outline some of the existing work already in process as well as highlight the baseline steps which are essential pillars for supporting the viability of other projects. The central themes across these actions include continuing current initiatives, furthering connections, and liaisons, sharing information and resources, strengthening community assets, building on the region’s competitive advantages, and coordinating clear messages. A further cornerstone of successful economic development in B.C.
includes collaboration with Indigenous peoples. Aspects of this key foundational action could include identifying economic development ortourism partnerships, strengthening the presence and visibility of Indigenous culture within thearea, and signing joint letters of understanding or collaborative agreements. The foundational actions of the SEDS Economic Development Strategy are as follows:

  • Support ongoing business engagement, networking, and business planning/entrepreneurship programs
  • Continue to improve broadband coverage across the whole area
  • Develop a marketing and branding strategy for the Shuswap project area
  • Continue relationship building and engagement with local and neighboring Indigenous Nations


Throughout the Economic Development Strategy project – which took place between April and December 2022 – a number of possible actions were generated in response to the question of “how we should pursue economic development”. Thislong list of potentialsteps was then condensed and refined based on community members and business’ priorities, the Project Team’s evaluation, and a gap analysis that ensured there were adequate actions to meet each objective, and that no objectives were lacking concrete steps to make them happen.This strategy contains 29 actions altogether which are further defined and categorized into six different areas of priority.

SEDS Strategy – Action Areas
  1. Improve community services and infrastructure
  2. Market a business and labour friendly environment
  3. Grow healthy local food systems
  4. Inclusive active transportation and housing
  5. Recreational programming and spaces for all
  6. Promote year-round tourism

Phase 1 (Year One)

Encompassing almost half of the full scope of actions, phase oneasserts an ambitious but essential beginning to the strategy. Of the twelve actions which are included in this phase, each of the six strategy areas are acknowledged (see image below), providing the groundwork for the future phases of the project. Even though the direction of marketing a business and labour friendly environmentseems to be the more prominent area of action within this phase, the true focus lies inimproving community services and infrastructure.As community members and businesses identified access to housing, healthcare, and schooling as some of the major barriers within the region, the needto prioritize more collaborations with the Province became principal. Secondary areas of focus for this phase include such actions as promoting local business services, implementing a labour market plan, supporting the establishment of year-round events/entertainment,diversifying tourist accommodations, and encouraging local farmers to explore options for succession. The complete list of phase one actions for the SEDS Economic Development Strategy is as follows:


  • Work with the Province and developers to encourage affordable and available housing including a wider range of housing stock
  • Work with the Province to attract more health care professionals and provide improved access to health services
  • Work with the Province and local school district to explore building more schools and expanding education options
  • Promote the “buy local/Shuswap grown” campaigns to support local procurement and shared local business services
  • Develop and implement a labour market plan
  • Develop a permitting and development guidebook
  • Conduct marketing and develop amenities to attract remote and/or tech workers and young families
  • Continue to liaise with and support Shuswap Tourism initiatives
  • Continue promoting the Shuswap local economy at industry conferences, tradeshows, and community events
  • Support more year-round events and festivals, arts and entertainment including for youth
  • Support expanding and diversifying tourist accommodations while responsibly managing short-term rentals
  • Encourage local farmers and agricultural landowners to explore options for succession

Phase 2 (Year Two – Three)

Phase two of the SEDS Economic Development Strategy includes some of the community members’ and businesses’ most highly requested actions. Despite being a relatively shorter list, the phase two actions include projects of large scale and in turn endorse changes necessary to accommodate future growth. Concentrating on problems like the inconsistency of servicing/infrastructure across the Shuswap project area, and the need for improved and pedestrian friendly roadways; the primary areas of focus within this phase will be on improving community services and infrastructure and inclusive active transportation and housing.Relying on community and Ideashare engagements, our Project Team hopes to help enact specific suggestions from the public, like the request for more walkways and bike paths throughout the region, apedestrian activated crossing light to cross the highway in Sorrento, as well as lakeside walkingtrails. An additional action of phase two would be looking into establishing a CIC in the Shuswap Region.Raised as a suggestion during community engagement for a way to help support local businesses and local non-profits that provide essential services; a CIC would be an innovative and relatively new support system for rural economic and businessdevelopment.All the phase two actions of the SEDS Economic Development Strategy are as follows:


  • Support identifying priority areas for improved utilities, servicing, and waste management
  • Advocate for identifying priority roads and pathways to be upgraded and made more bike and pedestrian-friendly
  • Encourage (and support permitting of) pop-up shops throughout the region
  • Advocate for designating more commercial and industrial land and maintain online inventory of what’s available
  • Encourage more childcare spaces
  • Encourage cycle tourism and create a cycle tour route
  • Promote shared services and facilities to support new and smaller-scale farmers
  • Support the creation of a community investment co-op

Phase 3 (Year Four – Five)

Phase three of the strategy aims to continue building off the successful progress of earlier phases. The primary areas of focus for this phase are on advancing inclusive active transportation and housing and recreational programming and spaces. Specific goals of phase 3 look at enhancing thevibrancy of communities, attracting more commercial activity, and maintaining the health of the land. Actions will therefore include addressing the the desire for more indoor recreational facilities, creating space for more car/bike parking at beaches, seeking more areas to launch non-motorized watercraft, and ways to achieve more stable and year-round employment. With the implementation of these actions, it is alsoimportant to consider the changing demographics of the area especially in planning for recreationalfacilities, for example to ensure there are adequate spaces that would appeal to youth asmore young families move to the area.The phase three actions of the SEDS Economic Development Strategy are as follows:


  • Activate village centres through pedestrian-friendly design, densification, and wayfinding and signage
  • Support improved public beach and lake access, parks and green spaces while maintaining ecological health
  • Attract investment/big employers that will support year-round employment
  • Advocate for expanded public and greener transportation options
  • Support the development and equitable distribution of more recreation facilities
Each of these components was developed based on community input, past plans and strategies, and the Project Team’s expertise as well as experience in local economic development. Within each of these sections, the actions are listed in order of priority, with the highest rated atthe top. On top of sharing our strategy, our Project Team recognizes that monitoring and evaluation are an essential part of successfully implementing any economic development plan.Therefore, there are two types of monitoring methods included in this Strategy:
  • Outcome monitoring: Is the Strategy helping to achieve community objectives?
  • Process monitoring: Are the Actions in the Strategy being implemented?

Monitoring and evaluation updates are intended to be shared with community members, staff, andthe CSRD Electoral Areas C, D, F, and G as the we see progress through the action steps.

This Strategy was created through acollaborative and community-drivenprocess, and developedby reviewing and building onpast plans, policies, and initiatives; and conducting research into past and currenttrends in the Shuswap local economy whiledrawing on best practices from aroundthe province.The overarching goal of this Strategy is to support the provision of effective, strategic, andbeneficial economic development services for Electoral Areas C, D, F, and G within the ColumbiaShuswap Regional District. The Strategy is organized into Vision, Objectives, Strategy Areas, andActions which are all centered around improving the quality of life for Shuswap residents. We are passionate in facilitating work to revitalize communities, develop and rehabilitate affordable housing, promote sustainability, attract investments, build wealth, encourage entrepreneurship, and create jobsbecause the Shuswap Economic Development Society strongly believes the Shuswap is a place where you can have it all.


You can view the full Shuswap Economic Development Strategy here:

The creation of the Shuswap Economic Development Strategy depended on the involvement of many community members and organizations, the business community, and the Shuswap Economic Development Society Board and staff members. We would
like to acknowledge the contribution of those individuals who helped guide this project as a Task Force, including Mark Bourgeau, Gary Christopherson, Maria Otting, John Reed, and Jay Simpson. As well we recognize all those who contributed their time, knowledge, and ideas.

Technical support for this project was provided by EcoPlan International.
We acknowledge and are grateful that this work is taking place on the Traditional, Ancestral, and Unceded Lands of the Secwepemc People.