Wednesday, 28 March 2018 11:01

PEP honoured at EDA awards conference for Oyen Rail Yard

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Palliser Economic Partnership (PEP) received Excellence in Economic Development awards at the Economic Developers of Alberta awards conference held in Banff on March 22. Pictured from left: Walter Valentini, executive director for PEP; Bev Thornton, President of the EDA; Oyen Mayor Doug Jones; Jay Slemp, chair of PEP; and Bruce Tannas, Alberta Culture and Tourism - EDA Silver Sponsor. Palliser Economic Partnership (PEP) received Excellence in Economic Development awards at the Economic Developers of Alberta awards conference held in Banff on March 22. Pictured from left: Walter Valentini, executive director for PEP; Bev Thornton, President of the EDA; Oyen Mayor Doug Jones; Jay Slemp, chair of PEP; and Bruce Tannas, Alberta Culture and Tourism - EDA Silver Sponsor. Contributed

Palliser Economic Partnership (PEP) was the recipient of two economic development awards of excellence for its work in seeing the Oyen Rail Yard and Logistic Park become a reality.


PEP received its first award in Business and Investment Attraction -Large Communities/Region with Populations over 100,000 for the project that is operating in Oyen during the Economic Developers Alberta Awards of Excellence annual conference on March 22. They also received the Alex Metcalfe award, a recognition of the "best of the best" from all the finalists in the small, medium, and large Business and Investment Attraction categories. The Oyen Rail Yard and Logistics Park was selected by a panel of peer reviewers out of 14 projects.
"We were sure surprised. At the end of the day, it was a team effort between us, the Town of Oyen, and Special Areas. It was a great group. Doug Jones did a tremendous amount of work keeping it moving," said Jay Slemp, chair of the Palliser Economic Partnership. "It's great for a small town to have this project and to be recognized. It helps get our story out there. It shows other small communities that things are possible. We're working hard to keep rural Alberta alive and I encourage others to work hard and keep going. Nobody else will do it for you. And, keep looking for partners to help the project along."
Doug Jones, mayor of Oyen said winning the overall award was a special honour.
"I didn't think we'd win the overall award. This is great for Walter (executive director for PEP), great for Special Areas, and great for the Town," said Jones. "This is quite the recognition. Our community of 1,000 persons has accomplished a very significant outcome not just for the town, but for the entire region."
Jordan Christianson, chair of the Special Areas board said in a press release, "“we are excited by the Economic Developers Alberta recognition of the Oyen Rail Yard Logistic Park with their Large Community Business and Investment Attraction award. This is an exciting project which is creating real opportunities for local and regional development in rural east-central Alberta. The Oyen Rail Yard and Logistic Park shows what we can build when we work together as a region and would not have happened without the hard work, dedication and support of all the project partners. On behalf of the Special Areas Board, I am pleased to congratulate Palliser Economic Partnership on this award, and to thank the Town of Oyen for their enthusiastic support for this project”.
The EDA Awards of Excellence honour Alberta individuals for their contribution to the profession; as well as Alberta communities for excellence in: Business and Investment Attraction (BIA); Business Retention and Expansion (BRE); and Community Economic Development (CED). The winning communities and organizations and the names of their initiatives are:
Business Retention and Expansion (BRE):
-Small community/region- Big Lakes County- Diversification and SME Support Initiatives (Phase I): Sector Profiles & Tours
-Medium community/region- Town of Cochrane- Cochrane Dollar Project
-Large community/region- CAEP- Central Alberta Economic Partnership- Regional BRE & Toolkit
Business and Investment Attraction (BIA):
-Small community/region- Town of High River- Rooted in People
-Medium community/region-Strathcona County- You Can in Strathcona County
-Large community/region- Palliser Economic Partnership- Oyen Rail Yard and Logistics Park
Community Economic Development (CED):
-Small community/region- Town of Drumheller- Drumheller Dinosaur Street Walk Project
-Medium community/region- Economic Development Lethbridge- Ignite YQL 2017
The Alex Metcalfe Award recognizes the "best of the best" community project in each of the BIA, BRE and CED categories. The Alex Metcalfe Awards went to:
-Business Retention and Expansion- Town of Cochrane- Cochrane Dollar Project
-Business and Investment Attraction- Palliser Economic Partnership- Oyen Rail Yard and Logistics Park
-Community Economic Development- Town of Drumheller- Drumheller Dinosaur Street Walk Project
The individuals recognized are:
The Economic Developer of the Year:
David Kalinchuk
Economic Development, Rocky View County
The Outstanding Young Professional :
Jennifer Fossen; Economic Development, Town of Wetaskiwin
The President's Award recognizes an EDA member who has made a significant contribution to the organization. This year’s award was presented to:
Sara Chamberlain, Airdrie Economic Development

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