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Saanich moves to boost economic development with hiring of manager

Mitchell Edgar comes to the district with plenty of related experience
Mitchell Edgar is the new economic development manager for the District of Saanich. (Courtesy District of Saanich)

The largest municipality on Vancouver Island has put an iron in the fire to stoke economic development.

The District of Saanich recently hired Mitchell Edgar as its new manager of economic development, a position that will see him oversee related programs and work to expand, retain and attract business to the community.

While he will be focused on Saanich, he expects to collaborate with the various regional and industry specific groups and associations in Greater Victoria on projects that impact the municipality.

“I see it as a partnership approach,” said Edgar, who has been doing a lot of networking and research in his first six weeks on the job. He pointed to such projects as the film studio planned for Camosun’s Interurban campus, which would see the district partner with both the college and the Greater Victoria Film Commission.

Part of his role will be to create an economic development strategy for the district, which Edgar envisions as an important piece of the overall well-being and sustainability of the community.

The hiring is part of council’s vision for a “sustainable Saanich,” Mayor Fred Haynes in a release.

“This work will strengthen the economic base and contribute to improving community quality of life and sustainable prosperity for Saanich,” he said. “Mitchell’s strengths in the areas of opportunity identification and development, investment attraction, strategic planning, project management, community engagement and partnership building, and evaluation of complex issues will be valuable to our community.”

Edgar has over 20 years of experience and has led a variety of projects ranging from developing and implementing strategic plans for local and regional governments, to providing marketing and business development solutions for businesses and non-profits. He has worked in a similar role with other municipalities, including the City of New Westminster and District of Squamish, and in recent years did consulting work for both the Township of Esquimalt and the Town of Sidney.

“I look forward to helping existing businesses expand, and attracting new businesses and investment and supporting emerging sectors and innovation,” he said.

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