New funding awarded for a full-time Elk Valley Economic Recovery Advisor position

Communities and businesses throughout the Southern Interior are receiving new support for much needed economic recovery. The Economic Trust of the Southern Interior (ETSI-BC) has announced the successful funding recipients of the Rural Business and Community Recovery (RBCR) Program. The Fernie Chamber of Commerce has received full funding on behalf of the Elk Valley Economic Initiative (EVEI) to hire a full-time Elk Valley Economic Recovery Advisor for a 12-month contract. The new position will look at opportunities for business retention and expansion in the Elk Valley, carry out market research, and assist with the development of community profiles for investment attraction.

“We were excited with the interest shown by communities and business support organizations throughout the Southern Interior to hire Recovery Advisors through this funding,” said Laurel Douglas, CEO of ETSI-BC. “We are delighted to provide this assistance in our region with support from the Province of British Columbia as it delivers on its StrongerBC Plan.”

After careful consideration, the ETSI-BC adjudication team selected 20 successful applicants whose projects will create a total of 30 part-time and full-time Recovery Advisor positions to assist businesses and rural communities in the Southern Interior with COVID-19 economic recovery. In total, 59 communities in all nine ETSI-BC regional districts are being served by these RBCR-funded projects, including 10 First Nations communities. ETSI-BC’s CEO Laurel Douglas and her team were inspired by the applications.  “In reviewing the applications, we saw innovation at the forefront as a key to economic recovery for communities,” said Douglas. “Our team is working closely with the recipients so their Recovery Advisors can engage and begin providing much-needed economic recovery support.”

The Fernie Chamber of Commerce developed the grant application for this new position with input and support from several key organizations in the region including: Elk Valley Economic Initiative, Elkford Chamber of Commerce, District of Elkford, Sparwood Chamber of Commerce, District of Sparwood, City of Fernie, Tourism Fernie, Community Futures East Kootenay, Regional District of East Kootenay, Teck, BC Chamber of Commerce and Selkirk College Applied Research & Innovation Centre.

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. The new Elk Valley Economic Recovery Advisor will be tasked with conducting thorough market research and business outreach, including a Business Retention & Expansion survey. This research will inform the creation of new action

plans, reports, and investment profiles for the entire Elk Valley corridor, as well as the individual communities of Elkford, Sparwood & Fernie.  We are sincerely grateful to ETSI-BC and the BC provincial government for this funding and look forward to the very important economic development work this position will achieve.”

The Fernie Chamber is now accepting resumes for the new position – with the job opportunity closing to applications on Friday 14 May 2021 at 5:00pm local time. To view the job listing, please visit the Work in Fernie job board link here.


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.


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, Tobacco Plains Indian Band, and Teck. The partnership is administered under contract by the Fernie Chamber of Commerce and is currently core-funded by the Inter-Community Business Licence arrangement between Elkford, Sparwood and Fernie.