Trail has inked a new $244,000 deal for economic development in the city.
The three-year agreement with the Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society (LCCDTS) was approved during Monday night council, thereby advancing respective services from the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC).
“It’s absolutely great we were able to come to an agreement with the LCCDTS on a new economic development services agreement,” Mayor Mike Martin clarified. “This is a municipal agreement between the City of Trail and the LCCDTS.”
The city withdrew from a regional economic development partnership earlier this year after council members voiced concerns about the service’s efficacy for Trail. Instead, the panel chose to pursue a direct relationship between Trail council and the LCIC for services rendered.
Martin says the new agreement irons out council’s issues with the previous contract.
“Those revolved around three points,” he explained. “Accountability of the organization, and more to the point of understanding what the metrics are, what measures are in place.”
He added, “And having more comprehensive reporting directly back to council as opposed to (reporting) through a regional district function.”
All but one member, Coun. Robert Cacchioni, agreed with the group’s decision to enter into a three-year deal at the cost of $80,000 annually with CPI (inflationary costs) over two years.
Cacchioni maintained his original stance, that being the money is better spent elsewhere.
He said his understanding was the proposal would be for two years and at a fixed rate.
“I am speaking against the motion …,” he began. “Previous council invested in Victoria Street upgrades and this council decided to build the new library/museum and walking bridge … in total council has spent almost $30 million in terms of improving economic development in the area, and I weigh that against this … any jobs that have been created, at least I believe, have been created on the impetus of council and council’s decisions based upon the infrastructure upgrades.”
Coun. Kevin Jolly countered that the city can’t replicate the service for the ascribed amount of money nor can Trail afford even one missed opportunity.
“It’s like any type of sales or promotion job,” he said. “It can be challenging at times and we don’t always see the fruits of their labour up front.”
Trail has been invested in economic development for almost 10 years, he added.
“At the end of the day we have to give this an opportunity to fly on its own, and I think the last couple of years we are starting to see some tangible benefits … From my perspective we are getting good value and this contract allows us to get out of the muck, per se, in terms of the political issues we’ve experienced in the past … we’ll give this a run for a couple of years and re-evaluate it down the road, so I am speaking in favour.”
Martin pointed to favourable terms that include a 180-day provision for renewal, and the possibility of council having input into development of the organization’s strategic plan to ensure City of Trail concerns and opportunities are considered by the board.
“It was a very good set of contract negotiations with the two organizations,” he concluded. “And they were, as we were, looking for a solution … we had a number of meetings that were very constructive at arriving at what we feel works for both organizations.”