The District of Clearwater will soon be hiring an economic development officer who will focus on getting more housing in the community.
Mayor Merlin Blackwell said the new position will be funded by a COVID Restart grant the district received a few months ago. He noted during a recent economic development committee meeting, the district heard from Michelle Stuttard, the health services manager at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital, that if it doesn’t have apartments for workers, the district is not going to get doctors.
Professionals want recreational opportunities, restaurants and other services that often provide unskilled jobs – and the people who fill those jobs need affordable housing, Blackwell said.
“The person will streamline processes so people understand what they need to do to deal with local government,” he explained. “He or she will work with landowners, developers, and people who want to start their own businesses. We want to get a really good picture of what’s needed in Clearwater in the way of workers, housing and so on.”
The district has been trying to encourage Yellowhead Community Services to go ahead with a proposed second apartment next to its new building on Park Drive beside the library. One of the issues with YCS is that there are not enough people on its team and it has other projects happening in Barriere.
Blackwell said the new economic development officer could possibly help move that project along.