Blackfalds welcomes new economic development officer

Chris Johnson

BLACKFALDS – The Town of Blackfalds welcomed Christopher Johnson, as the new Economic Development Officer (EDO).

Johnson worked in economic development and tourism in his hometown of Oakville, Ontario, and Banff and Lake Louise Tourism. He says he is interested in Blackfalds because of the community’s young demographic and innovation.

“The Town of Blackfalds is a young and vibrant community suitable for the life of a growing family. While current amenities are suitable, and recreational facilities are world-class based on the Town’s scale, there are abundant opportunities for growth and enrichment as an Economic Developer. Within the Town of Blackfalds, I have found a shared passion for the success of building a greater community.”

Chief Administrative Officer Myron Thompson said that the town is fortunate to have Johnson’s expertise leading the town’s economic development and tourism department.

“Chris will work alongside other municipal departments, businesses, and the community to develop new and existing business ideas, mentor those ideas, and collaborate to further develop and expand the economy within the Town of Blackfalds,” he said.

Johnson said his passion for economic development stems from the ability to see a town’s potential and adds that “there is a sense of pride from taking part in improving the well-being and quality of life of a community.”

The new EDO has his work cut out for him but already has plans for Blackfalds’ future, including the creation of more capital and more labour, as well as supporting economic growth within the town by local and non-local consumers. He also recognizes the challenges of the present, specifically the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“COVID-19 has left devastating impacts on business development and tourism. However, there have been some positive aspects that we can derive from this pandemic as well,” said Johnson. “Businesses have been forced to pivot and expand in the way that they provide products and services to their customers, ultimately setting them up for greater success post-pandemic. Consumers have adjusted how they receive products and services, even focusing more on local and small business providers as their first choice.

“While we have seen a huge decline in tourism and visitation numbers globally, in some cases COVID-19 has allowed more time to be spent with family rediscovering our backyards in a less crowded and distracting environment.”

If any businesses, non-profits, or interested parties would like to discuss concerns with Johnson, they are encouraged to contact him at the town office. He said that “businesses can expect that I will listen to their concerns, weigh them against the priorities of the Town of Blackfalds and its elected council, and respond in a detailed and timely manner.”

When Johnson is not at work supporting the businesses and economy of Blackfalds, he is out adventuring with his spouse and two Siberian Huskies. He is looking forward to releasing his “inner foodie” and experience the top dining spots that the province has to offer.