Imagining Who We Could Be A Local Economy Story

That one word describes the community’s economy in 2040 and for those who knew it back when, that puts the community in a whole new light. Resource industries, long the dominant players, now share the economic platform with mountain recreation and leisure, arts and culture, education and health and in every one of those areas, we’ve become the West Yellowhead hub. Grab a treat from the sidewalk vendor, and we’ll hop the tour bus for a whirl through this bustling community.

Passing streets alive with outdoor art and inviting gathering spots, we’re tempted by the busy specialty stores and services that make “shop local” a happy reality. Many shops have a unique flair, proof that a truly creative class has taken root here; people who bring creativity to their work and want to live in a creative environment. Some came to study at Alberta’s newest campus, and never left. Heightened interest in art, heritage and culture has translated into enticing museums and galleries with one-of-a-kind finds including the hand-painted snowboard standing outside that shop, made right here from West Fraser wood.
Theme 4 Local Economy
Indeed, our community’s presence in forestry is expanding to include such products as furniture and root medicines harvested from the forest floor. Other industry clusters are forming around medicine, green industry and tourism. Many are plugged into one or more of the renewable energy sources now available here, which include micro hydro, solar, geothermal, bioenergy not to mention the wind farm standing on the horizon.

At Innovista, our tour joins a group of industrial leaders attracted by the park’s status as a centre of excellence for eco-industrial business. Here one tenant’s waste becomes another’s starting material, saving money for both. Meanwhile, work rolls ahead on Innovista Phase II, a research and development business park with a one-stop business incubation centre.

The Hinton service area has become a tourism magnet not only for industry, but for medicine and heritage. What better place than here, where adventure options also abound. It’s now the hub of the Yellowhead for mountain biking, with expanded facilities, linked trails, shops, training and must-do competitions. Biking is also on the menu at the new indoor recreation facility. This popular centre also offers a climbing wall, a waterslide, gathering spots and places to eat or shop. Not to mention a full slate of bike trips, ski weekends and other activities.

Economic Growth
Time for lunch and the dining options are fine. We choose the farmers’ market, where fresh and locally processed foods look as good as they taste. Some come from our community garden and greenhouse, which is making a profit. Among the gardeners are students, who learn entrepreneurial skills even as they earn money for school programs - with seniors volunteering as mentors.

With continuing population growth, this community is an economic hub like none other. It has come to consensus on whether or not to become a city, finally putting that issue to rest. Highway 40 is upgraded and busier than ever, a direct link to northern beauty and to the port at Prince Rupert. The Highway 16 bypass is pushed back to the distant future. Beyond a doubt, the next time global resource prices fluctuate, our community will cushion the ride.

“I would like to see Hinton as a safe, family oriented, little metropolis. I want to spend my hard earned paycheque here, nowhere else. I want people to be proud to live in Hinton.”
- Community Consultation Participant