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Fate of job commission in the balance By Chris Woodall A decision on the future of the Sea to Sky Economic Development Commission may be made by next week. Last month the provincial government pulled the financial plug on the eight-year-old organization that attempts to attract businesses to the Sea to Sky corridor and encourages entrepreneurs — with guidance and start-up cash — to create businesses that will make the Sea to Sky economy more diverse. Economic Development Officer Robert Fine announced in November that he was leaving the commission to accept a position as general manager of the Kamloops Economic Development Corporation. When the commission got the axe in December, questions arose as to whether it could exist as a shell or if it would be better to roll up the carpet on its operations. "We haven't had a meeting yet," commission chair Corinne Lonsdale said earlier this week. The group is scheduled to get together soon to determine what its future will be. "We need an administrator, even if it's to wind down the commission," Lonsdale said. A motion relating to the economic development commission will go before the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District council Monday, but the content won't be determined until the commission meets. Sea to Sky Corridor communities like Whistler and Squamish have occasionally expressed a desire to have a commission, but Lonsdale says no municipality has jumped forward to indicate it will create a development commission of its own. Meanwhile, the Community Futures Development Corporation of Howe Sound has created a branch of the Western Youth Entrepreneurial Program in partnership with the federal government. The program lends up to $10,000 to young adults, age 19-25, to start a service or product business or to expand an existing one. "More and more young people say they've got a great idea, but don't know where to go to fine tune the idea," says Jeff Dawson, general manager of the Community Futures Development Corporation. "This project is a viable option for those young people willing to work diligently to get their businesses going." In a recent development, the Howe Sound Development Corp., is launching the "Let's Talk... Youth in Business" conference Feb. 22. Partnered with a Squamish high school and Squamish businesses, conference organizers hope to attract gung-ho young entrepreneurs or businessperson wannabees to learn insights and practical information about how to start their own business. For more information about the conference, call Bryan Stewart at (604) 892-5467.

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