New Online Tools Streamline Access to Community Data, Investment Opportunities

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February 10, 2022

People now have access to two new online community planning tools, offering easy access to data-driven insights and investment opportunities for communities across B.C.

Available to the public and local governments, including municipalities and regional districts, the Community Information Tool and the Community Investment Opportunities Tool provide central access points for community data, encouraging economic development and helping community planners and investment organizations thrive in the digital economy.

“I’m excited for the launch of these new planning tools as part of our efforts to offer a better, faster and easier service for people, businesses, and Indigenous and local governments searching online for data about communities in B.C.,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “Whether you work for a municipality or you’re a business owner, investor or community member interested in insights and opportunities, these tools can give you access to important community data.”

As part of the StrongerBC Economic Recovery Plan, the Ministry of Citizens’ Services received $700,000 to develop the Community Information Tool, including the integration of industrial lands data, which helps investors and planners identify industrial land vacancies for investment opportunities. The Community Information Tool and Community Investment Opportunities Tool are part of a suite of data-driven planning tools being developed under StrongerBC to provide communities with accessible resources for economic and community growth.

“Community development supports our work to build an innovative, sustainable and inclusive economy for all British Columbians,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “Throughout the province, we’ve listened to local people’s need for community planning resources. Easy, accessible tools like these will allow our communities to strengthen and grow, helping to drive economic recovery as we emerge from the pandemic together.”

The Community Information Tool combines more than 40 public data sets, including census information, Data BC, the B.C. Data Catalogue and industrial lands information into one visual resource. The tool allows people to collect location-based data that they would typically need to search for on several websites. Categories include population, median household income, labour force, key sectors and connectivity. Users can also discover insights and patterns among B.C. communities using search filters for specific characteristics, such as economic health, access to education and health care, connectivity, infrastructure or emergency management.

Powered by the same database, the Community Investment Opportunities Tool connects investors with industrial, commercial and agricultural properties available for investment throughout the province. Community representatives can post properties available for sale or lease to investors. Interested investors can search for available opportunities by filtering based on various criteria.

The tools will assist economic planners to promote investment and plan infrastructure, helping level the economic development playing field between larger, well-resourced communities and smaller communities that might not have similar market access.

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