The general consensus is that regional economic prosperity is tied to an area’s ability to prevent, withstand and recover from a major disruption. The Economic Development Administration considers resilience in three ways: a region’s ability to recover from a disaster; a region’s ability to withstand a disaster, and; a region’s ability to avoid/prevent a disaster. To this end, it appears that there are two types of answers: steady-state and responsive. Having two types of answers does not mean that they are exclusive of each other. Both must be incorporated into future plans in order be somewhat resilient. Because of the ever-increasing potential for natural, economic, and political disasters it is becoming more and more important for economic development to be as disaster resistant as possible. It is also critical to understand that disasters do happen. The key is to minimize the negative impact.
In the case of a disruption to “normal” South Delta is in the best position to act as the hub of the economic development community’s network for coordination, information dissemination, and grant administration. It is imperative in these situations to have prior knowledge of the types of assistance that may become available from agencies such as the Economic Development Administration, the Federal Emergency Management 39 Agency and the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ongoing experience with these agencies makes the district the logical focal point for post-disaster recovery.
It is also important to not lose site of the fact that the district can and should be the leader in pre-disaster planning and development guidance. When one thinks of a disaster, it is generally with the idea that it is very sudden. That can certainly be the case. Economic and natural disasters that have occurred in the region, most recently, however, have been rather slow moving. The district in its collaborative efforts with Delta Strong and other economic developers in the area is focusing industry placement away from flood prone areas and focusing, for the most part, on recruitment of industries that are smaller and more numerous. The “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket” style of development. However, due to certain economic development assets available in the area at least one large employer is being pursued along with ancillary businesses. If all of your area employment relies on one industry that falls to some type of disruption, recovery will be much more difficult. In addition to this more proactive approach to development of new business and industry, South Delta is also actively trying to assist existing industry to become more resistant to issues that may arise.