Last month the City of Merritt invited Nicola Valley residents to participate in the WorkBC Thriving Communities survey.

The survey tasked business owners, people looking for work and those currently employed to provide their feedback with the goal of using locally sourced data to build a comprehensive strategy for the current economy of Merritt and a thriving future that benefits all community members.

And I know the path to continued full-time employment is challenging for many.

Uncertainty in certain sectors, job losses, the forestry crisis and other issues have unfortunately put a strain on the bottom line of many British Columbians.

This past year has been especially difficult on Merritt and the surrounding communities in light of the severe downturn in the forestry sector and other economic challenges.

Seven straight months of province-wide job losses is doing nothing to aid an already difficult situation.

I hope that this survey was well responded too, as a variety of voices and concerns must be shared in order to have a full view of what is required to get residents of Merritt back on their feet.

The Thriving Communities Launch event is planned for February 27th in Merritt.

This survey can also provide an idea of the services needed for laid-off workers from any industry here in Merritt as well as a reminder of what is currently available.

WorkBC helps strengthen the backbone of a community by improving skills, exploring career expansion options and helping many to find a job.

I also implore you to access the full range of services of the local WorkBC office as needed, such as personal and mental health services like counselling from Interior Health, job search resources and employment planning, as well as training and work experience opportunities.

I am eager to hear the results of the survey and the path of progress moving forward for the beautiful city of Merritt.