Transportation key to Island economy

NANAIMO – Island Economic Summit will take place next week, offering a forum to better understand the Island's economic climate.

An upcoming summit will give attendees a better understanding of the Island’s economic climate and transportation is key, according to Vancouver Island Economic Alliance president George Hanson.

Hanson said there is a need to focus on attracting investment for new business and business succession on the Island and topics such as transportation will be featured at the State of the Island Economic Summit, which takes place Tuesday and Wednesday (Oct. 29 and 30) at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in downtown Nanaimo.

“Transportation is always a critical piece for us to ensure that all of the transportation network to and from the Island, and throughout the Island, is connective and accessible and affordable, and has the frequency it needs to make living and working on the Island a viable thing for people,” said Hanson.

To that end, there will be a number of transportation-related topics, including a presentation speech by Ferio Pugliese, president of WestJet Encore, at the summit’s opening dinner, and a panel discussion Wednesday focusing on a variety of forms of transportation, with B.C. Ferries’ president and CEO Mike Corrigan, Steve Roth, vice-president of Seaspan Ferries, Nanaimo Airport president and CEO Mike Hooper, and Port Alberni port authority CEO Zoran Knezevic.

Other guest speakers include B.C. Premier Christy Clark, Roger Brooks, of Roger Brooks International, who will be discussing tourism destination marketing, and Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail, talking about social media and the B.C. political environment.

The summit is going on its seventh year and Hanson said while it was initially a gathering of people who would share thoughts, or a “thinking group,” it has evolved.

“From there, it’s continually grown to become really a signature event on the Island for this kind of grassroots thinking because we put the summit together based on the actual interaction, networking feedback we’re getting from people on the ground, as opposed to a top-down thing where we simply invite or pay big-name speakers to come in and entertain people,” Hanson said, adding that it’s more about involving as many people as possible in the presentation in order to get a balanced perspective of what’s happening.

For a complete schedule of events, please visit

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