Yes, council will take part!

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

The Town of High Prairie will be represented when the High Prairie and Area Business Support Network holds its first meeting in the near future.

Council decided at its Sept. 9 meeting to appoint Councillor Debbie Rose with Councillor Arlen Quartly as an alternate.

Rose, Stenhouse and Mayor Brian Panasiuk attended a Big Lakes County meeting Aug. 26 to hear Deanna Basarab, workforce consultant for Alberta Labour and Immigration, pitch the idea. In short, the network would help businesses boost their services and bottom line.

Rose suggested sending a rep for one meeting to see “how it goes” and proceed afterwards.

She added she saw value and potential in the network, because paid staff are driving the group, instead of volunteers.

Stenhouse asked if it was a duplication of services, seeing it was something the High Prairie and Area Chamber of Commerce should be doing.

However, the chamber has been largely inactive for some time and comprised of volunteers, not paid staff, who can drive the network.

“It’s an easy opportunity to support the business community,” said Rose.

Council also heard that Basarab can work with the business community to advise them of what programs and/or grants are available during the COVID pandemic.

Councillor Brian Gilroy preferred waiting one month until the organizational meeting before appointing a member, but the majority of council noted the first meeting would occur before then. Basarab requested immediate participation.

Gilroy and Stenhouse opposed the motion to send a member of council.

Community Futures Lesser Slave Lake executive director Josh Friesen is also working with Basarab on forming the network.

Community Futures led a network that met monthly from February 2017 to February 2018. About 15 people attended luncheon meetings in the first few months before attendance dropped to about four in the final months before folding.

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