By Kevin J Sabo
For the Advance
Paintearth Economic Partnership Society (PEPS) Economic Development Officer Carol Thomson joined Castor Town council for part of their April 23rd meeting to let them know about what her office has been doing.
Thomson, who had been invited to speak by the Town council, let them know of several ongoing regional projects, such as the always popular Eat-Local supper, the Health and Wellness Symposium upcoming on May 10th, their management of local campgrounds, the promotion of Paintearth as a tourism area, and the several different memberships that help spread word about what the region has to offer.
The Eat-Local event, which began several years ago, has continued to attract sell-out crowds over the last several years, to the point where they have begun to release more tickets for it.
The premise of the event is that all ingredients used in the making of the meal are locally sourced from within the region and then prepared by a local caterer.
In May, and coinciding with Mental Health week, PEPS is hosting the Health and Wellness Symposium at the Castor Community Hall.
The day will feature a keynote speaker, as well as many other sessions focusing on various aspects of mind and body well-being. Lunch is provided at the cost of the $40 ticket to the event, supplied by the Prairie Farm Project. For more information, check out their page on Facebook. Tickets can be found at several local area businesses.
One of PEPS other projects is overseeing the campgrounds.
A portion of every dollar collected in camping fees stays in the individual campground, however another portion goes back to PEPS, and is then used for marketing the campgrounds as a summer destination in the rest of the province.
For the last couple of years, PEPS has also been responsible for hiring a summer student to man the tourism booth that is currently located in the parking lot of the Co-op out near the county office.
In a change for the 2019 tourism season, PEPS will be bringing on a summer student, however, instead of operating the tourism booth the summer student will on the road, promoting the region by participating in parades, running information tables and doing other work to promote the region.
Finally, PEPS supports other local events, and is participating in the Global Petroleum show, with three regional businesses going along, paid for by PEPS.
“We are allowing these businesses that otherwise couldn’t afford to go attend the event and get the word out that they are here,” said Thomson, before telling council that it would be the last year with PEPS involvement with the show.
In addition to the Global Petroleum Show, PEPS is also responsible for paying for membership dues for participating partners such as the regional partnership of Battle River Alliance for Economic Development (BRAED), the Coal Association, and the Canadian Badlands Tourism Association, to name a few.
When asked about the benefits of remaining in PEPS, Thomson said, “None of the municipalities could afford an Economic Development Officer, but by partnering in PEPS they cost-share.”