The District of Houston has been working to boost its attractiveness to prospective workers, visitors and new residents.
The district has secured funding to complete a marketing video project, which will engage a filmmaker to capture the best of Houston.
“The end product will promote Houston both as a place to visit and a place to live, with a key focus on our ‘naturally amazing’ opportunities in and around Houston,” explained Gerald Pinchbeck, Houston’s Chief Administrative Officer.
“We have applied to Northern Development Initiative Trust for $20,000 to support this project, and have committed $20,000 to the project using past Dungate Community Forest revenues,” he added.
Houston’s plan to improve recruiting and retention also includes ensuring that the town looks its best. The district hopes to achieve this goal by improving trail markings and business frontages, as well as developing bylaws that require cosmetic appeal.
In addition, Houston has taken the first steps toward developing a downtown revitalization plan. Request for proposals seeking a qualified contractor to develop the plan have recently been issued.
“The focus of the downtown revitalization plan will be identifying a unified vision for the downtown to make it stand out as a distinct area of Houston, and make it a more attractive place to stop for tourists and new businesses,” said Pinchbeck.
Mayor Shane Brienen has recently told Houston Today that, moving forward, he would like the district to focus on developing the downtown revitalization plan and continuing the Hwy. 16 corridor improvement project. Work has already initiated to improve the north side of the highway, and the district is now pursuing third party funding for south side improvements.
Meanwhile Houston’s business facade improvement program has been encouraging commercial building owners to invest in storefront improvements by accessing funding from Northern Development Initiative Trust. The program matches dollar for dollar a one-time reimbursement grant of 50 per cent of eligible costs, to a maximum of $5000 per business.
According to the 2017 Strategic Plan, which recently had its revised version adopted by council, over the course of 2018 the district will also identify what factors influence a candidate’s choice to accept a job and live in Houston. This might include exit interviews of applicants that choose not to come to Houston, as well as reviews of publicly available research.
In addition, the district plans to leverage its social media presence and partner with the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) to promote Houston.
The RDBN has already been promoting the region to potential new residents by using an infographics tool. The infographics demonstrate the advantages of living up north by comparing the time it takes to commute to work, the cost of living and average home prices between RDBN communities and Vancouver.
While the average home price in Vancouver is over $1.4 million, it only costs an average of $258,767 to purchase a home in the RDBN region.