Business retention survey shows possible Hudbay closure impact

A set of business survey results released Friday may play a role in deciding Flin Flon’s economic future.

The Regional Economic Development Commission (REDC) and Community Futures Greenstone released the results of a recent business retention and expansion survey.  The survey, conducted back in June, went over what plans, forecasts and potential challenges business owners saw both presently and in the near future.

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The release of the survey results Nov. 8 is part of the Economic Development Transition Project. This project is a joint effort launched after the initial announcement of Hudbay’s pending closure of most mine operations in Flin Flon. The company’s most recent projected shutdown date is in the first half of 2022.

Of the 67 businesses interviewed as part of the survey, just over half said they believed the pending Hudbay mine closures in Flin Flon would impact their business. Forty-three per cent anticipate a reduction in their workforce, while another 27 per cent are either unsure they will remain in business or believe they will not be able to continue operating.

“This data will help the communities better understand the challenges, issues and opportunities as the region works to address the potential impact of the Hudbay mine closure,” reads the report. 

“Through the aggregation of data and the supporting comments, communities typically will use this information to develop programs and initiatives, amend and update local government policies, and identify partners that can help to support a strong local economy.”

When asked to give three advantages of working in the Flin Flon region, business owners listed the region’s greatest asset as its people, with the report describing them as “friendly and supportive”. Also included as assets were tourism and quality of life, including affordability and recreational opportunities.

By contrast, the three highest challenges for business owners surveyed were local governments – which were, according to the report, “not seen as business friendly” – aging infrastructure and a lack of services and amenities.

More than half of the businesses polled have been active for more than two decades, with 63 per cent having stable or increasing annual sales. Just under half expect their sales to increase over the next fiscal year, while 29 per cent have plans to expand in the next three years.

Only 43 per cent of business owners polled rated the local business climate as “good”.

Following the survey, the next step for the Economic Development Transition Project is to complete a full transition plan, gathering more input from the community to help steer Flin Flon’s economic future. 

A public consultation process, similar to the process behind the creation of Flin Flon’s recent strategic plan earlier this year, will be part of the planning.

An outside consulting firm, B.C.-based EDCD Consulting, was selected to complete the project.

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