Economic development activity continues in City of Powell River.
At the May 14 city council meeting, mayor Dave Formosa said he has been working with potential investors who are looking at some of the assets the city has interest in. Formosa said these investors are different than the ones he previously reported on in a community engagement discussion at a previous council meeting.
“I met with two different sets of folks,” said Formosa. “They did make a trip into the community and a particular person toured a particular facility and left. Folks are still doing business and are still interested in our community. We are still working with them.”
Formosa said he had also worked with the Gaoshi group, which is composed of investors interested in expansion at Powell River Airport.
“They are getting very close to completing their engineering and groundwork plan for phase one,” said Formosa. “We had some pretty intense meetings here with different folks and I think we are off to getting that project well underway.
“We’re having to deal with issues with Transport Canada and also our integrated long-term plans for the airport. We’re trying to get everyone working together. We’re baking the same cake, so to speak.”
Formosa said he spent a full day working at that.
He said he has been receiving calls from mill employees and others who are concerned about the Paper Excellence mill, and jobs.
“I have a pretty good handle on what is going on there, for the most part,” said Formosa. “I do ask pointed questions to management. I continue to do that.”
Formosa said a lot of rumours are floating around about the mill reopening. He said closure is not the position of the company.
“Nobody knows what the future brings but I think everybody is getting a little ahead of themselves,” said Formosa. “But there are issues, for sure.”
Formosa said he is also getting a number of calls regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he is fielding questions and complaints, or people calling in on other people.
“We deal with them as best we can and give them the best information that we have and I explain the rules of engagement the way we know them,” said Formosa.
The mayor continues to participate in regular meetings with Vancouver Coastal Health and the province, but said the frequency of meetings is reduced from what they were in the initial stages of the pandemic.
“They are getting to be more now talking about moving to the next level,” said Formosa. “Vancouver Coastal Health tells us how we are doing and BC seems to be doing well. They had a couple of minor outbreaks in our region at one or two facilities, but even if they get one person in a ward, they call that an outbreak. Everyone is generally pretty happy but they are always warning not to let our guard down and to keep up the good work.
“We are now starting to hear more talk from both of those levels about when we open certain things and how we do it. The meetings are very helpful.”