Tammy Shields is not wasting any time in her new role as executive director of AdantageHOPE.
With new leadership, comes a new vision for the organization. Shields is bringing an innovative approach to economic development that maximizes local resources with a team of five local contractors.
“The ideas we have are taking it in a new direction,” she said. “My vision through this new direction with AdvantageHOPE is that we take Hope forward and elevate it to its rightful place as a provincial icon and a place that attracts people here.”
Shields believes the solution to current municipal tax woes is based around the idea of sustainability. In other words, the community needs a larger tax base.
“I think that we run pretty lean in Hope in terms of our municipal structure, maybe not compared to the way things used to be in Hope but the way other municipalities work in the modern world,” said the local commercial realtor. “Yes, I think that spending needs to be responsible and in check but in my opinion cutting spending and looking at that only is sort of a short-term solution. I think that growth is inevitable in Hope because of our location and I think it’s important that we take the range of that so that it’s a managed and deliberate kind of route.”
In addition to carrying forward the work that’s already been done, such as the branding initiative, a big focus for AdvantageHOPE will be on further developing and promoting the local tourism industry.
“Anybody that is going to come to Hope to set up a business, live here or buy property here is going to be a visitor here first,” said Shields, who has been involved with the local chamber and AdvantageHOPE for years. “Yes, we still need to try and get those big employers, but that can’t be our only focus. We have a lot better chance of success with economic development with incremental growth. More visitors to Hope is economic growth in Hope.”
AdvantageHOPE is planning an open house in the fall to inform residents about the new vision for the organization moving forward.