Councils wary of proposed regional committee

A Shuswap-based work group being proposed by Community Futures received a lukewarm reception from two desired participants.

  • Dec. 4, 2013 8:00 p.m.

A Shuswap-based work group being proposed by Community Futures received a lukewarm reception from two desired participants.

Community Futures Shuswap has invited the City of Salmon Arm, the District of Sicamous, Shuswap  Tourism, Salmon Arm’s Economic Development Society (EDS) and others to form an inter-organizational committee that would work to develop economic/tourism opportunities in the region.

Community Futures executive director Joanne Mason told Salmon Arm council her board was asked by Salmon Arm’s downtown improvement association to take the lead on this initiative, noting her organization is not just about lending money and supporting business.

“One of our primary focuses is community economic development, and that’s why we were asked to assume the lead on this,” said Mason.

Despite suggesting the job might be suited to the city’s Economic Development Society, Cannon agreed to take part in the committee. Coun. Alan Harrison was supportive of this, as long as it didn’t cost the city any money. Meanwhile, Couns. Marg Kentel and Chad Eliason suggested the committee might be redundant with mandates of existing local government agencies.

“If Coun. Cannon thinks this is a good expenditure for her time, I’m happy to have her go and work on it…  but I’m not willing to spend any money on this and I’d be hesitant to allocate a ton of staff time to it,” said Eliason.

Sicamous council wound up deferring discussion Community Futures’ proposal until more information is received. This was after district chief administrative officer Heidi Frank said Mason wanted her to sit on the committee, meaning staff time, and after Frank and Coun. Busch suggested similar work is already being done through the Shuswap Lake Integrated Planning Process and the Thompson Okanagan Tourist Association.

“I totally agree with you, Coun. Busch, on this, because we have a lot of these programs and groups working all on the same initiatives,” said Sicamous Mayor Darrell Trouton. “And there’s different levels, it seems. What do you support, what don’t you support… and how much time and money do we spend of the taxpayers?”

Both councils, however, were supportive of another Community Futures request relating to two programs aimed at helping young people establish their own business during the summer.

In a separate letter, Mason asked they consider waiving the business licence fee for those enrolled in Community Futures’ Summer Student Youth Entrepreneur lending program, for school, college and university students, as well as their Biz Kids Program, for youth ages 10 to 16. Both programs are aimed at helping participants establish their own businesses in the summer months.

Salmon Arm council was told by staff that the city cannot waive fees, but that council initiatives could be used to cover the cost of the 10 to 12 applications that may come forward in 2014. Staff will be looking to see what might work best and report back to council.

In Sicamous, Coun. Suzanne Carpenter said the district needs to do whatever it can to support youth in the community. Asked if there might be any budget implications, district administrator Heidi Frank commented, “not really, because the flipside of this is, if this program wasn’t in place we probably wouldn’t get the businesses anyways.”

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