About RISE

RISE is an initiative of the Towns of Black Diamond, High River, Okotoks, and Turner Valley, and the Municipal District of Foothills to promote the attraction of commercial and industrial investment to the Foothills Region with a common, regional perspective, and cooperative marketing activity.

RISE has the following objectives:
  • Expansion of the non-residential tax base in rural communities in the Foothills region. Commercial, industrial and institutional development must increase in order to balance the municipal tax assessments.
  • Build strong regional partnerships. The five municipalities have similar core community values as they relate to business attraction strategies and community development. Working together will maximize limited financial and human resources, while at the same time, expand the reach and marketing impact of the project.
  • Increase community capacity. Regional partnerships will strengthen the economic viability of all communities within the partnership. Each community will benefit directly as a result of research and marketing initiatives.
While High River and Okotoks have active and well-established economic development programs, a region-based economic development perspective, and region-based marketing, is a complementary activity and is important for the future of the Foothills Region:
  • The Calgary Regional Partnership is a longstanding initiative that seeks regional cooperation on issues of mutual interest – issues that transcend individual municipal boundaries with their impact on economic, social, environmental, and fiscal systems. Issues of this nature include but are not limited to transportation, watershed management, economic development, urban planning, and municipal infrastructure. Economic development becomes a thread in this fabric; the type of activity encouraged and/or facilitated must not only reflect competitive realities, but also reflect municipal capacity to both accommodate specific types of growth, and welcome the social, economic, environmental, and fiscal characteristics unique to specific industry sectors.
  • A regional marketing plan provides a key advantage over a go it alone philosophy – it represents (to an investor) a critical mass of people, resources and potential business opportunities.
  • The Foothills Region is rapidly growing. Planning issues related to watersheds, infrastructure demand, and land use transcend municipal boundaries. The path economic development chooses in the Region has a fundamental influence (positive or negative) on the magnitude and nature of the planning issues challenge. These issues become even more critical in light of the high value residents (and prospective residents) place on lifestyle in the Foothills Region. Lifestyle is a key motivator for values-based Foothills Region resident interest in a number of emergent issues: watershed protection; potential for sprawl; water supply constraints; quality schooling and facilities; quality job opportunities; housing variety and affordability; and pollution. These interests can't be adequately addressed on an individual municipal basis.
  • There has been a growing list of regionally-cooperative initiatives in the Foothills Region owing to recognition that quality of life in the Region is a cooperative effort. Cooperative economic development pushes the ball forward in this regard.
  • There is ongoing initiative (High River, Okotoks, M.D. of Foothills) to municipally cooperate to accelerate development of the Aldersyde industrial corridor. This corridor represents one of the single largest industrial land holdings in the Calgary Region and has very significant ramifications for, and impact on, the Region. Given their scale and location, these lands have a unique economic development role to play in the Region. Together with other industrial and commercial lands in the Region, the vibrancy of industrial and commercial lands can be greatly assisted by consensus development direction vision, and coordinated marketing.
  • With a critical mass of population and infrastructure, this initiative represents the Region's chance to inject vision and values into the economic development process – to influence investors and entrepreneurs, to attract targeted activity, and to conduct Region-based dialogue aimed at generating cohesiveness of vision in the Region. The strength of vision, uniqueness of vision, and resolve to pursue vision (including an ability to say 'no' to or not actively promote less desired activity) – have a direct correlation with success at marrying economic development to enhancement of quality of life and lifestyle.
  • Given lifestyle is a strong driver in the Foothills Region and brings with it a specific vision and set of values, this initiative represents an opportunity to build a distinct identity and uniqueness for the Foothills Region, and its communities, within the larger Calgary Region context.