With all due respect to Mayor Taft’s response in the August 19th edition with regards to my thoughts about the valley’s economy, I am not looking for a job as economic development officer for the valley. But I do see the screaming need for one in our communities.
Mayor Taft did a fairly good job describing some of an economic development officer’s tasks: identify, focus and determine strengths and weaknesses. However, these are not the things that a committee or staff or council members should be doing; an experienced economic development officer should. Our history dictates that councils and staffs do not have the time or skills to develop innovative inducements to companies and government agencies. Given that folks are leaving and stores are going empty proves my point.
What is needed more than anything else is a strong commitment to have an officer in place by such-and-such a date. What is needed is the two municipal governments agree to share both the costs and the benefits of such an officer, and a commitment from both current and future council members to put an economic development officer in place, and then take the expert’s advice. You don’t need committees. You don’t need a strategy. A strategy is something an economic development officer develops. The last thing you don’t need are consultants. What you need is the determination to make things happen in 2011, not 2012 as stated. Mayor Taft laid out a method to spend money, take up time, and build more infrastructure, not set to goals, nor to change village policies.
I would suggest, that an officer be hired on a two -year renewable contract, have the two villages fund this person through Columbia Basin Trust or another such government agency, have an independent location for the officer, and don’t even think about hiring other staff until he or she is run off his or her feet accomplishing the timelines and goals established prior to hiring him or her.
But it all comes back to commitment and action to change the way things are run within our communities relative to job creation. Hire the best, get the best. Make our communities vibrant and exciting! Why wait ?
David R. Pacey, Radium Hot Springs