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Business community echoes optimistic State of the City

The Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce is seeing some of the same positive economic indicators highlighted in the 2018 State of the City Address.

Mayor Bill Given talked about the improved numbers in the oil and gas industry, travel and tourism and a number of other areas in his speech. Chamber Chair Chris Sepola-Podsada says the upturn in the economy is welcomed by many. While she thinks it’s good to focus on the positives she says there are a few concerns on her radar.

“We’re already heading into a bit of a labour shortage from what I understand. I think that also, I agree with Mayor Given, I think that that’s going to be an issue, especially with the new hospital opening.”

During his speech Given talked about the need to look for partnerships the city can enter in to to help meet that housing need. There is a particular concern about affordable housing. The city is already having conversations with the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Grande Spirit Foundation to address that issue.

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Sepola-Podsada says advocating to business owners as opportunities arise could be a good step for the city as well.

“Especially with what Mayor Given was sharing with us [in the State of the City], there would certainly be business people in the room who would perk up at certain things and think, ‘I can take on that opportunity and help our community further.'”

Sepola-Podsada says she thinks Grande Prairie is an entrepreneurial and resourceful community that will embrace the challenge. She says it’s something she’s realized we are known for while networking with other chamber members.

The Chamber expects to release survey results soon that will help give a better picture of business confidence in the region.

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