Regional district looks at area?s economic future 

The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District is using the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Olympic bid as an impetus to plan its economic direction.

The Olympics are expected to generate up to $1.5 billion in revenues. Regional economic spinoffs could equal or exceed that number.

The SLRD?s board of directors discussed an enhanced-economic strategy paper during their Aug. 27 meeting.

The paper, which was drafted by regional district staff at a workshop, focuses on new economic ideas within the region, especially the Sea-to-Sky corridor.

The regional economic plan will be further explored at an upcoming workshop.

The SLRD governs the Sea-to-Sky corridor?s rural areas and looks after regional planning, water systems, sewage treatment, waste management, transportation and recreation and library funding.

The region?s population is expected to triple in the next 25 years, from 33,000 to 100,000, due to its popularity as a recreation and tourist destination.

The B.C. government recently released a transportation report on the Sea-to-Sky Highway between Horseshoe Bay and the Highway 99-97 junction north of Cache Creek.

Proposed upgrades and improvements, which include widening the highway and establishing a commuter rail system, could cost as much as $1.3 billion.

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