"I believe Municipal Economic Development professionals have a lot to offer our First Nation neighbours especially those that need assistance in building capacity on the economic front. My experience is; it takes time, patience and resilience (spirit) to build successful partnerships, we (municipalities) have a lot to offer and more to receive. "
Vicki Blanchard became the Economic Development Manager for the Municipality of Sioux Lookout in February of 2014, bringing 27 years’ experience in public, education, health and the private sectors, with a track record in project management. Vicki has forged successful project partnerships with key business, industry, tourism associations, government and First Nations. She has worked directly with Ministers, Members of Parliament and Executives in the development of new programs, amendments to policies and legislations including; Ministerial Committees on economic development, tourism, human resources, skills development and Aboriginal education and business.
What attracted Vicki to Sioux Lookout were the community’s continued efforts to strengthen partnerships with neighbouring First Nations’ communities, and the opportunity to lead the First Nations-Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI) in partnership with Lac Seul First Nation and Kitchenuhmaykoosib lnninuwug First Nation (Big Trout Lake), one of six pilot projects in Canada funded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (Cando).
Vicki has played an instrumental role in leading "Sharing Conferences” to provide a collaborative planning process wherein First Nations’ communities and Municipalities could share with each other their existing planning processes to ensure that planning, land use, growth management, and transportation strategies on or near Aboriginal settlement lands are compatible with neighbouring Local government strategies.