The Lower Columbia Community Development Team (LCCDT), along with the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation(LCIC) have made the rounds to all city councils in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary and are ready to move to the next step – investment.
Mike Martin, chair of the LCCDT, says their pitches for investment funds received positive feedback from the different councils.
“Generally, councils were very supportive and recognition that there are now some tangible results being generated,” he said after their final presentation to Fruitvale’s council on Monday. “The region is getting better known to the investment community.”
Across the board, council members wanted to know what was going to happen with their money, should they choose to invest it into the LCIC and Martin says it is all about investments making more money for municipalities in the future.
“I think the predominant questions was around what I term as the overall cost and affordability of the service,” he said.
“What we try to get across to the councils is that, without growth, we will stagnate and it will become more difficult to maintain expected services at an acceptable cost. We need to have investments made in the region which will trigger additional tax dollars.”
At their final presentation for the Fruitvale Council, Mayor Patricia Cecchini wondered what the impact of the much-discussed potential future boundary expansion. The expansion could change some circumstances, but, Martin says, there would be a back-up plan to accommodate expansion, if it happens.
“We can’t really address that now because it may or may not occur, but I think that within those contracts, we will have sufficient provisions that those eventualities can be covered off through some renegotiations of the contracts,” he assured.
Martin says it is now up to individual councils to make final decisions on whether they will spend the money to be involved with LCIC over the next five years.
“The next step for councils is to have their own deliberations within their councils and provide direction to their representatives on the East End Service Committee (EES),” he said, adding that a meeting has been set up for next Tuesday between the ESS and the LCCDT.
There is a sense of urgency, says Martin, because the LCIC has an established system that needs funding to move forward and maintain their trajectory and investment from council is key to that.
“We have got an organization that, unless we can get some assurance of continuity of operations, we are going to have to wind down activities,” he explained. “I think it would be a huge loss to the region. The ESS has made a huge investment in this organization to the tune of $750,000 over the last four years and it would be a shame to lose that. We built the foundation and now we have to move forward.”