The rural municipalities of Piney and Stuartburn are once again joining forces, this time to spur economic development in the province’s Southeast corner.
The Piney Stuartburn Economic Development District will take a regional approach to economic development, community development, and tourism.
Piney councillors Mel Parent and Ken Prociw, and Stuartburn councillors Konrad Narth and Jerry Lubiansky comprise the new entity’s board.
"I think it’s an opportunity for the RMs to achieve meaningful economic growth in an area that’s often overlooked or under-utilized," Parent said.
The two RMs lie beyond the Winnipeg metropolitan region, but still have strengths to offer businesses, she said.
"We’re on a main highway, we’re close to the U.S. border, there’s much land, affordable taxes—there’s great opportunities for development and opportunities for business. I think people sometimes just forget about us."
The board hopes to create job opportunities and improve quality of life for residents, but their first task is to hire an economic development manager whose role will include marketing, business development, and liaising with provincial agencies.
The board will also formulate a five-year action plan.
Parent said they want to help existing businesses grow, attract new ones, and encourage young adults to return after university.
The two RMs have teamed up before. In 2016, they launched Sunrise Corner, a regional tourism partnership.
Parent said the new economic development district will build bridges with Sunrise Corner and the Piney Regional Chamber of Commerce, as it looks to improve economic opportunities in the two municipalities.