Some facts about the Economy in High River

The High River Chamber of Commerce is giving the Vital Signs survey a thumbs up for the information they collected about small business in the community.

The Chamber kicked off small business week discussing the survey results with an evening meeting October 18th.

President Steven Muth says the survey has some great information in it.

“It does give us some very good building blocks,” said Muth. “To help our business owners and our residents learn how we can improve the economy of High River. Business owners can learn from this to say that there are some opinions of consumers whether they agree with it or not are still the opinions of the people who want to give the money so they have to adjust to those opinions.”

Muth added the survey shows consumers don’t understand what is in town so the Chamber and business owners have to do a better job of educating the public as to what is here.

“I believe there is more in High River than what a lot of consumers think there is. That is why there is a bit of leakage. So overall I this is a very good survey we can build from.”

Judy McMillan-Evans with Highwood Community Futures says it is exciting to have all these facts all in one place.

“Having worked in Community Economic Development for the last 30 years, this is really exciting,” said McMillan-Evans. “Because so often we make decisions by guess and by golly and these are facts. The community put the facts on the table and I think it is really, really exciting and it will help everybody make decisions about the future.”

She says it is really interesting to see the realestate stats and the employment stats and see what is happening.

“Because there is so much information compacted, you can really think strategically what’s happening, what could happen and what can we do to make things happen better.

The results of the survey also helped Bow Valley College address an educational need.

Samantha Schellenberg, business development lead, said the survey helped them design a program.

“It helped us identify a number of areas where the community wanted to see additional programming,” said Schellenberg. “It also provided a bit of concrete data and statistics to bring back to internal departments so we could negotiate ways to offer additional post secondary education and career related training that actually was in demand by the community and needed by the community.”

In the fall of 2018 they will be offering a Business Administration Program that starts off as a certificate program that can be expanded to a diploma program and then to a degree program.

A PDF of the Vital Focus can be downloaded from the Town of High River’s website (link below).


Tax Reform

Tax Reform

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Message

The overarching goal of our revised communications strategy is to promote, preserve and protect our reputation as the most interconnected, valued and influential business network in Canada.

Demonstrate our ability to empower and mobilize our network to influence the government to make significant changes to the proposed tax legislation

  • Be seen as a constructive voice of business
  • Be able to claim changes as a win
  • Remain a valuable, but respected, stakeholder to government
  • Pivot focus to overall tax competitiveness

POSITIVE – Government makes a number of positive changes to the tax reform

Original Asks

Government needs to:

  • Rethink its proposed tax changes to ensure that #ProtectGrowth of small businesses across Canada, and continue to encourage entrepreneurship.
  • Launch meaningful consultations with the business community to review tax policy – without unfairly targeting independent businesses.
  • Consider a comprehensive review of the Canadian tax system with a view toward fairness and simplification for all taxpayers, an increasing competitiveness for all businesses.

General Messaging

  • We applaud the government for listening to the concerns of small business owners, entrepreneurs and even caucus members. The new measures proposed today, while not perfect, are more balanced. We will be vigilant on their details and application, however.
  • The government’s fulfillment of its electoral promise on lowering the small business tax rate will allow businesses to free up more capital to reinvest and create jobs. It a step steering us closer to a more competitive tax system, if applied properly.
  • Although we still have significant reservations on some of the proposed changes, the Canadian Chamber’s efforts were successful and the Minister of Finance has made a noteworthy effort to take the opinion of small businesses into consideration in this new version of his proposed tax changes.
  • The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and its local members will continue to give input into the application of the measures that have been announced, and will provide valuable insight and feedback into those areas that are still not fully defined.
  • We are still open to working with the government to ensure that these new proposed measures are more balanced and will accomplish their intended goal of providing a fairer tax system to Canadians, without hurting small businesses.
  • This has to be the first step in a broader discussion on tax competitiveness, and lead to a discussion on how we can ensure that Canada has a system that is both fair and attractive to foreign and domestic investors.
  • At a time when our biggest trading partner and neighbour, the United States, is introducing a competitive tax package, we need to give our small businesses the tools they need to grow.

Wine & Cheese Reception

The participants who completed the last survey, were asked for the community’s voice on business and the economy.

The survey results will be presented to the public  at the following venue:

October 18, 2017 During Small Business week

Chamber of Commerce Wine & Cheese  Reception

Place Ramada Inn – 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Reception

Presentation at 6:30 PM followed by Q & A .

Please RSVP to the Chamber by email

All are welcomed to attend.


High River’s Vital Signs Survey Results

The Vital Signs survey was an opportunity for the community to have a voice in all the things that are contributing to life in High River. It also allowed for the collection of feedback on areas that could require more attention.

The participants who completed the last survey, were asked for the community’s voice on business and the economy.

The survey results will be presented to the public on these dates at the following venues:

October 11, 2017 6:00 PM at Carlson’s

October 18, 2017 During Small Business week

Chamber of Commerce Wine & Cheese  Reception

Place Ramada Inn – 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Reception

Presentation at 6:30 PM followed by Q & A .

Please RSVP to the Chamber by email

All are welcomed to attend.


Election Forum

A big Thank You to all of the candidates for participating in the Chambers forums and to our moderators for doing such an awesome job!!!

High River Voters Impressed With Council Candidates

Candidates for High River Town Council weighed in on several subjects brought up by voters at Wednesday nights forum at the Highwood Memorial Centre.

A couple hundred people made their way to the Memorial Centre in High River Tuesday, October 3, to take in the debate for those running for Town Council.

One voter, Mervyn Taillifer says he learned more about the first time Council candidates, but otherwise the forum went by the numbers.

“Nothing surprised me. Everybody seemed to answer questions and get along well. There was no bickering back and forth amongst any of them or anything like that.”

Mervyn Taillefer says the debate helped cement his choices of candidates heading into the election.

Bill Holmes who says it helped cement in his mind who he’ll be voting for.

“It added some other thoughts into the program. But I already know who I’m voting for. And I just hope that everybody gets out there to vote on the 16th.”

Bill Holmes says he got a much clearer picture of candidates after Wednesday’s debate.

Charlene Hanson was an active participant in the forum jumping up a couple of times to ask questions.

She says being able to speak with the candidates is a valuable experience when it comes time to cast your ballot.

“I really think when you see people and you watch how they answer questions you have a better idea, especially when you come with questions prepared, I didn’t do that. But I do want to know what they want to do when they get there.”

Charlene Hanson was an active member of the debate Wednesday as she had several questions for both incumbent and new candidates.

Questions centred on taxation, recycling, roads and downtown parking.

Election day is Monday, October 16.

Mayor’s Forum Highlights

About 70 people turned up for the High River Mayoralty Forum

About 70 people braved the weather to come hear what High River’s two candidates for Mayor had to say at the Chamber of Commerce’ first forum Monday, October 2.

Newcomer Paul Milligan says it was a good night with lots of good questions.

“The questions from the crowd, some were very difficult, some have been around a long time and brought up memories and issues,” he says. “I thoroughly enjoyed tonight, it was exciting and something new for me, but I was certainly happy with the crowd and their responses to my answers.”

The incumbent,Craig Snodgrass gave credit to Milligan for putting his name forward and being respectful in putting his vision forward as well.

“I’m all for this and I thank Paul for being respectful of both of us and being respectful of the debate,” Snodgrass says. “I think both of us did a great job and answered the questions and we’ve got a bit of a different direction and a bit of a different feel as to what this role is and it’s up to the community to decide which direction they want to go, but as far as the night goes, I love it.”

Snodgrass says the bylaw enforcement issue that came up early is something he’s dealt with for awhile. Specifically the question from the floor had to do with loud mufflers.

“You put these little bylaws in place, or noise bylaws and everything, but it’s just a really tough one to actually enforce and then prove,” Snodgrass says. “You can give somebody a ticket for $50 for loud mufflers, but do you think he’s going to go change them? No, he’s not.”

Milligan suggested residents get more involved by taking down licence plate numbers and providing as much information to police as they can.

Economic development and the downtown core were a concern with Snodgrass discussing the amount of available square footage available just after the flood to now which is about half what it was.

craig snodgrass oct 2 1017 001High River’s incumbent Mayor Craig Snodgrass speaks to the crowd at the Mayor;’s forum Monday night.


Milligan did not want to go to a higher tax rate for unoccupied space feeling landlords already have enough to deal with.

paul milligan forum oct 2 2017High River Mayoralty candidate Paul Milligan answers a question at the Mayor’s forum Monday night.

As usual the issue of parking downtown came up again.

Mayor Snodgrass says the Town is going in the right direction.

“My viewpoints is that we are moving in the right direction and we are improving access to the fronts of these businesses by providing employee parking and getting them off the street and allowing space for patrons,” he says. “Are you going to sell your soul to the vehicle or to the vibrant downtown, we chose the vibrant downtown and it’s proving to be successful already.”

Milligan says, especially where it concerns accessible parking consultation may be needed.

“We’ve seen quite a change in parking and so I think it’s just a matter of engaging the people to fully understand their concerns and seeing if some resolution can be made for maybe a smaller user group to help address their concerns and handicap parking, all the different parking around the downtown core,” Milligan says

The candidates for council get their turn Tuesday, October 3, at the Highwood Memorial Centre starting at 7 p.m.


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