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Town of Westlock seeks feedback from the business community

Online survey runs May 23 to June 13
The Town of Westlock's first-ever business survey runs May 23 to June 13.

WESTLOCK – The Town of Westlock wants to hear from local business owners to help better understand their needs and provide additional supports to encourage more economic development.  

To do that, the town has created its first first online business survey, which runs May 23 to June 13. The survey is a direct outcome from recent council discussions around a draft tax incentive bylaw that was presented at the May 15 committee of the whole meeting.

“Council wants to know how the existing business community feels about development in the Town of Westlock,” said CAO Simone Wiley. “It’s about data gathering, our council is always very data driven. They want to have information before they make a decision and engaging the business community is the best way for them to get that information.”

The survey lists eight questions that include opinions on operating a business in Westlock, whether they are satisfied with several factors that impact doing business here, revenues, what supports would encourage expansion or growth and how they anticipate changes to their businesses over the next two years.

Information gathered will be used to help develop programs and supports for businesses.

“We’re always looking at ways to spur development and what more we can do,” said Wiley, noting the town looked to other municipalities to see what they were doing with regards to economic development. “Maybe a little bit surprisingly there’s a lot of communities who have various incentive programs so we thought it was time to start that conversation with council.”

Planning and development manager Danielle Pougher put together the draft tax incentive bylaw to get that conversation started and noted as of April 1, there are 402 active business licenses in Westlock. “We have had a sizeable amount of new business licenses that we haven’t had previously, this year,” she said. 

Wiley noted historically, Westlock’s business growth has been “slow and steady” while the past couple of years have seen more “visual commercial developments.”

“We’ve seen a lot of growth from within, so a lot of growth from our existing businesses,” added Pougher, noting recent expansions and relocations as well as several new businesses in the works for downtown.

“It’s nice to see small business locate downtown,” added Wiley. “I think there might be future opportunity for us to come up with some programs and maybe incentivize downtown locations as opposed to those highway-commercial. It’s important for small towns to keep their downtowns vibrant.”  

Results of the survey are expected to be presented to council, along with the draft tax incentive bylaw, at the June 26 regular council meeting.

Kristine Jean,

Kristine Jean

About the Author: Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean joined the Westlock News as a reporter in February 2022. She has worked as a multimedia journalist for several publications in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and enjoys covering community news, breaking news, sports and arts.
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