Cuts to LCIC funding proposed

Economic development in Greater Trail has been thrown a curve ball after East End Services committee has recommended withdrawing funding.

Economic development in Greater Trail has been thrown a curve ball.

In a mandated service review of the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC) on April 16, the East End Services (EES) committee,  recommended to withdraw funding after its three-year contract ends in December.

“This came as a total surprise,” said Mike Martin, chair of the Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society (LCCDTS).

“It is really unexpected to go from three years of full support and funding, to receiving notification that the East End has recommended discontinuing the service.”

The LCIC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the LCCDTS, and was created in 2010 to provide economic development services within the lower Columbia region; and to serve as the “first place of call” as opportunities develop.

The regional district, in particular the EES, committed to funding the LCCDTS $224,000 per year as flow-through funding for the LCIC until the review, at which time the board could decide if it was desirable to continue with the partnership.

Before the axe officially descends on the Trail-based enterprise, the EES recommendations will be presented to the full board at the regional district’s meeting in Grand Forks on Thursday.

The regional district will not be issuing any statements regarding these recommendations until after the boards have made their decision on Thursday, said John MacLean, chief administrative officer.

As part of its 2013 plan, earlier this month, the LCIC put forth a request for proposals to create a unified regional recruitment package to allow employers, educators, and healthcare providers to attract and retain key employees.

“All initiatives for 2013 will continue to go forward,” said Martin.

“We have received tremendous support from the community for advancing forward what seems to be a much needed initiative.

“Now we will have to sit down and discuss how to move forward in the absence of funding from the regional district.”

The East End Services, also known as the East End “Seven”, is a partnership between five municipalities; City of Rossland, City of Trail, villages of Warfield, Montrose and Fruitvale; and electoral areas A and B.

In August of 2010, Sandy Santori took on the position as executive director of the LCIC.

“Our mandate is to undertake programs and projects designed to grow and diversify the local economy (Lower Columbia Region) by attracting new business, retention and expansion of existing businesses and actively supporting and leading on priority initiatives, projects and programs that have been identified as regional economic drivers,” he said at that time.

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