Hinton has significant competitive assets; the community, which is located on the doorstep to the Rocky Mountains, is rich in natural resources and beauty that millions of visitors and dollars worth of goods pass through every year on extensive transportation infrastructure.
Economically, Hinton has major natural resource extraction and processing firms located in and around the community. These have proved to be excellent cooperate citizens beyond providing stable and well-paying employment to residents. Its economy is robust and diversified, which helped it weather the recent economic recession that gripped the province and country.
Despite these advantages, Hinton’s population has stagnated for nearly two decades at under 10,000 residents and the town has not been able to leverage its considerable resources into sustained growth. Adding to these pressures, nearby growth threatens Hinton’s economy as communities like Edson expand, partly due to lower cost housing and the securement of major investments, including a $300 million healthcare centre.
Hinton also faces physical challenges, such as rocky, sloped terrain, resulting in higher costs for residential, commercial and industrial development. The increase in wildfires and altered environment caused by the western pine beetle have the potential to threaten the tourism market and the stability of forestry for years to come. These situations highlight the need to further diversify the local economy.
While there is considerable opportunity for growth and development, the Town and its partners in economic development lack a firm strategy to fully embrace the opportunities. The Town has signalled significant interest in addressing economic development strategically via its most recent Corporate Strategy, where this Economic Development Strategy is intended to provide with a cohesive vision for economic development and tourism success, supported by strategic objectives and actions to fully leverage the assets of this unique community.
This strategy is designed for maximum impact and actionability. Staying true to this objective, the entire strategy and implementation plan is contained in this single chapter, with the remainder of the document consisting all supporting materials from the background review and consultation process.