Powell River is an open, welcoming and inclusive community and was recognized as such by the United Nations’ World Urban Forum. The region is home to people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds.
In particular, it has become a destination for International Students who travel to the community to study in local schools and a new private school campus that has been established.
For many years, persons with physical and developmental disabilities have made Powell River home because of its inclusiveness and accessibility. Thanks to the work of Inclusion Powell River, one of the largest employers in the region, persons with disabilities are able to find employment in the community and pursue past times they wouldn’t normally to be able to experience in other centres such as hiking trails, canoeing and sailing.
Adopted in 2009, the Sustainability Charter (http://www.powellriver.ca/content/sustainability-charter-0) is the product of citizens, community leaders, and local agencies, including the Tla’Amin First Nation, the City of Powell River, the Powell River Regional District, Vancouver Island University, School District 47 (Powell River), and Catalyst Paper. It sets out a clear statement of the region’s intention to become more sustainable over time and to work closely together to achieve that vision. Currently Community Leaders are working on an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP), which will put words into action.
The Spirit of Partnership
The Powell River Region has a strong history of creating innovative partnerships to move projects forward for the betterment of the community.
The City and the Tla’Amin First Nation signed the first Community Accord in British Columbia, agreeing to work side by side in improving life for all residents of the region. As a result, the two communities have formed business partnerships like PRSC Land Development Ltd and Freda Creek Community Hydro Partnership to create jobs and new revenues.
School District 47 and Vancouver Island University partnered to create dual credit trades programs that have become a model for the rest of BC. Under the program students are able to graduate high school with enough credits to begin an apprenticeship in the field of their choice.
The City took a bold approach to reducing major industrial tax rates for Catalyst Paper Corporation ($18-million in savings) and in turn made a deal to take ownership of needed lands and assets. This partnership has not only led to the future success of the company and the maintaining of jobs in the community, but opened the doors for the attraction of new investment by other businesses.
These partnerships are just a few examples of how the community works together to make things happen.