On the ec/dev front

Municipal councils talk a lot about economic development. Sometimes they even invest money in it.

But what can a town or M.D. realistically do to attract industry? One thing is to have a regulatory framework in place that at least doesn’t discourage industry from setting up shop. That pretty much exists. But in practice, when it comes to primary industry, the factors have little or nothing to do with municipalities. Sawmills set up where there are trees. Wells are drilled where there’s something under there worth drilling for. It’s handy to have a town nearby, but industrial activity can and does happen without it.

So again, what can a town, say, do to stimulate more business? The focus inevitably settles on tourism. Something should be do-able there, you would think. Make the town attractive. Keep the amenities shipshape. Put some effort into promoting the attractions and so on.

But – as a new municipal employee put it to us last week – don’t start cleaning up your house when your visitors are at the door. In other words, make sure you are looking your best before you start promoting your town as a great place to visit.

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