City of Fort St. John
Fort St. John is B.C.’s energy capital and is known to those who visit it as the Energetic City. Centered in the heart of B.C.’s robust energy region with major involvement in the natural gas, wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric industries, the City of Fort St. John offers access to a range of energy sources that serve as the community’s economic base.
Located on the banks of the Peace River, home to two hydroelectric dams, with a third in development, Fort St. John is home to the energy service sector that builds, operates, and maintains the facilities. But the energy sector aside, it is the residents of Fort St. John who serve as the economic engine and lifeblood of the community.
The City of Fort St. John addresses the opportunities facing its community through its Official Community Plan. With an environment that is built for business, the City of Fort St. John remains focused on a business retention and expansion program that works closely with local businesses and seeks to attract new opportunities to Fort St. John.
The Official Community Plan looks 25 years into the future of Fort St. John, focusing on four growth principles: economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, social inclusion, and cultural vitality. Located in the traditional territory of the Treaty 8 First Nations, the Dunne-za, cultural diversity has grown to include several different cultures that celebrate their traditions in their new country.
Lori Ackerman, Mayor of the City of Fort St. John, described to The Canadian Business Journal, “Social inclusion is the essence of having a safe, healthy, accessible, and friendly city. We realize and value diversity. We work to ensure that the fabric that holds the community is strong, vibrant, and forward thinking. Without this, we can never support the strong industries we have.”
Much like a small business, the City of Fort St. John focuses on business growth within its community and works to develop attractive business measures to grow the economic base of Fort St. John.
“It’s important for people to understand that the economic development theory of chimney chasing is archaic,” Ackerman said. “It takes 90 per cent more effort to attract a business than it does to retain the ones that you have.
“It’s important to have our businesspeople heard and connecting with council. Businesses in British Columbia are an integral part of our community. Small- and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy so it’s vital that we hear what they have to say.”
The City of Fort St. John recognizes of the challenges facing its community, and has developed a healthy environment that brings businesses, residents, and families to the city. The City of Fort St. John works alongside its local businesses and industries to establish best practices that meet quality of life standards for the community.
New neighbourhoods in Fort St. John represent the growth occurring in the city, with population now pushing 19,000. Fort St. John continues to expand and has a bevy of construction and industrial projects underway to support this growth, such as a new fire hall, under construction and ready for next year, as well as the new Fort St. John Hospital, which opened this summer.
Home to British Columbia’s youngest demographic, Fort St. John also highlights its well-developed walking trail system, and continues to build on this outdoor recreational amenity. It is these elements that combine to make Fort St. John an attractive community for both old and new residents.
“We will create a community that provides good experiences for those who live here,” Ackerman detailed. “We firmly believe that you will come here to work, but you will stay here to live. The Affordable Housing Committee is bringing forward recommendations to the City on how to encourage accessible and affordable housing as well.”
The City of Fort St. John strives to establish a financially sustainable infrastructure plan moving forward. Alongside a high quality of life, an inviting community, and a prospering local economy, the City of Fort St. John remains a strong community of choice.
“It’s important for us to ensure that we have a good financial picture moving forward because the most important economy is in your wallet,” Ackerman concluded. “Our intention is to have a community where nature lives, businesses prosper, and families flourish – that’s our compass bearing and that’s where we’re heading.”