The Government of British Columbia developed a Performance Measurement Toolkit for Local Economic Development. The toolkit includes a 5 step process including an inventory, visualizing your path, choosing indicators, planning implementation, and how to communicate results. To explore the utility of this toolkit and measurement of economic development generally, the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (RDI) developed an Economic Development and Performance Measurement project. This three phase project (indicator selection, data collection and analysis, and knowledge mobilization) was intended to pilot the Toolkit in a Basin-Boundary community. This project was undertaken in partnership with Community Futures Revelstoke, the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Revelstoke.
The purpose of this report is to identify, list, and report on trends for indicators of economic development relevant to the municipality of Revelstoke. These indicators and the report are intended to be replicable - something that can be updated and tracked over time. RDI staff worked with a small working group to identify those indicators of economic development important to Revelstoke (see Appendix A). For each indicator relevant and current data sources were identified. Where no data source was found, it was not possible to proceed with analysis, but such indicators were flagged for potential future data gathering. Once available data were collected, analysis was conducted to identify trends. The results are presented in the following report. Data sources and analysis methods were tracked for each indicator, a summary of which can be found in Appendix A. For each of the indicators reported, there are detailed data sets, tables, and additional graphs.
We created a unique reporting template, as opposed to using the provincial template, as using a format similar to the RDI’s State of the Basin can facilitate comparison to the regional scale, as well as to other communities within the region. Due to the economic focus, the indicators selected fall under two of the four RDI research pillars: economic and social. Indicators draw on available data from a variety of sources including federal, provincial, and local governments, as well as non-profit initiatives. All indicators used are quantitative, but it is important to remember that while these indicators provide a foundation of knowledge, quantitative indicators only tell part of the story. Data were collected at a scale as close to the Revelstoke municipality as possible, including: census subdivision, Columbia Shuswap Electoral Area B, Columbia Shuswap Regional District, Thompson Okanagan Development Region, School Districts, and Local Health Areas.
As with any research, there are limitations and qualifications for the indicators and data sources presented in this report. For example, varying data release cycles explain why some of the indicators report data from previous years. Additionally, as new data sources become available the decision can be made to switch to a new data source, one that uses a different method and presentation than previous data. In these cases, new data cannot simply be added to old because of the differences. Potential results of this include restarting the ‘baseline’ year or, where there are historic data available from the new source, long term trends may differ from what was presented in the past. While indicators can be good guides and conversation starters, it is important to understand their limitations, and use other complimentary data sources, including local information and research that can provide critical context.