The Fernie Chamber of Commerce and the Elk Valley Economic Initiative (EVEI) are excited to announce the hiring of a brand-new position – the Elk Valley Economic Recovery Advisor. After a thorough recruitment process, Taylor Jenkins has been appointed to the new full-time role on a 12-month contract and officially started this month.

The Elk Valley Economic Recovery Advisor position was made possible by a grant from the Economic Trust of the Southern Interior BC (ETSI-BC), with support from the Province of British Columbia. The role will focus on establishing a strong economic development foundation for the entire Elk Valley by engaging with businesses and compiling economic data. This will include a Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) survey of businesses in the Elk Valley, as well as the completion of new investment profiles for the Valley and its three major communities of Elkford, Sparwood and Fernie. The reports and data generated by this work will help agencies in the valley (like Chambers of Commerce and local governments) better understand our local economy as we come out of the pandemic, and what is needed to help create more diverse and resilient communities.

Brad Parsell (Executive Director of the Fernie Chamber) explains, “We are collectively very excited about this unique opportunity to build the foundation for the Elk Valley’s economic recovery from the pandemic and future economic development with this new position. We look forward to engaging as many businesses up and down the Elk Valley as possible to really understand their opportunities and challenges. This work will be a great foundation to build on for future economic development efforts including investment and workforce attraction. We are sincerely grateful to ETSI-BC and the BC provincial government for this funding and look forward to working with Taylor over the next year.”

“I’m excited to get to work with businesses in the Elk Valley to get a better handle on their needs and challenges as we come out of this difficult period,” says Taylor Jenkins (new Elk Valley Economic Recovery Advisor). “I look forward to contributing to this important research project and developing recommendations that will make a positive impact on the health of our local economy.”

The Elk Valley Economic Recovery Advisor will start initial outreach to businesses over the summer, ramping up in the fall with the Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) survey. Reports and investment profiles are scheduled to be completed in 2022. All businesses in the Elk Valley should stay tuned for more information on this project and how to participate as it gets underway.

ETSI-BC is the Economic Trust of the Southern Interior, formerly known as the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT). The organization was created by the Province of British Columbia on February 27, 2006. Through the SIDIT Act, the Trust was allocated $50 million to assist in the growth and diversification of the economy in the Southern Interior of B.C. The Trust is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors which includes local elected officials and provincial government appointees. Two Regional Advisory Committees of elected officials from the Thompson-Okanagan and Columbia-Kootenay regions also provide input. ETSI-BC’s service area spans nine Regional Districts ranging from Hope in the west, Clearwater in the north, the Alberta border in the east, and the U.S. border in the south. For more information, visit

The Elk Valley Economic Initiative (EVEI) was formally established in 2013 to collaboratively develop regional economic development projects and initiatives in the Elk Valley towards the improvement of the region’s economy. The EVEI has eight voting seats representing the District of Elkford, the Elkford Chamber of Commerce, the District of Sparwood, the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce, the City of Fernie, the Fernie Chamber of Commerce, Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it (Tobacco Plains) First Nation, and Teck. The partnership is administered under contract by the Fernie Chamber of Commerce and is currently core-funded by the Inter-Community Business License arrangement between Elkford, Sparwood and Fernie. For more information, visit

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