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CVRD Leaning Towards Hiring A New Cowichan Economic Development Manager

Richard 'Hub' HughesThe latest edition of the South Cowichan Echo is out. Another Peter Rusland article is also available right here at Cowichan Conversations.

Fish on bikeThis Rusland piece demands a response. I had a pithy preamble ready but pulled it. The article should generate a good number of comments and so dear readers it is up to you.

We need an Economic Development function like a fish needs a bicycle!

And now, Here’s Peter…

Peter Rusland

Peter Rusland

Hiring a new Cowichan economic development manager has been parked while regional directors attend a workshop to mull what that manager — hired or contracted — would do, and how it would grow the Warm Land’s job and tax base.

Cowichan Valley Regional District directors moved and seconded the resolution that discussion on Economic Development Function 121 be referred to a workshop, then brought back to a future Regional Services Committee meeting.

Cowichan Economic DevThe manager’s job has been empty since Geoff Millar retired in 2014. The search for a new manager was initially posted.

The CVRD’s financial statement shows Millar earned $88,413 that year, and $112,000 in 2013.

His job performance was not based on results — as the board did not have results indicators — and he could not cite any specific businesses he brought to Cowichan after running Economic Development Cowichan — currently with a budget reduced to about $528,000 annually — for more than a decade.

CVRD Director Klaus Kuhn

That poor showing is outlined in 2015 in consultant Jerry Berry’s $45,500 report about CVRD’s dysfunctional economic-development department.

Berry’s blunt report followed an *award-winning story by the News Leader Pictorial questioning if EDC is good bang valley taxpayers’ bucks.

Youbou/Meade Creek Director Klaus Kuhn said he was “troubled” by the idea of simply hiring a new EDC manager.

Duncan Councillor and CVRD Alternate Director Sharon Jackson

Duncan Councillor and CVRD Alternate Director Sharon Jackson

Kuhn said Berry’s report suggests hiring a manager from outside the CVRD.

He explained the CVRD has “a clean slate” to revamp the CVRD function and ask “where do we go from here?”

Duncan Director Sharon Jackson basically saw the past EDC model as “a 15-year albatross around our necks.”

Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone

Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone

”Ladysmith Director Aaron Stone agreed, noting the CVRD should hire “a coordinator with an entrepreneurial attitude.”
“I see a less-entrenched model (to provide better resources for the taxpayer dollar).”

CVRD Director Kate Marsh

CVRD Director Kate Marsh

North Cowichan Director Kate Marsh noted the EDC isn’t stimulating the local economy “so we need to hire an expert … to help us capitalize on our area.”Marsh added CVRD staff says “they don’t have time to do economic development.”

The board passed Cowichan Station-Sahtlam-Glenora Director Alison Nicholson’s motion to stage a workshop to discuss EDC options.

CVRD Director Alison Nicholson

CVRD Director Alison Nicholson

It also moved and seconded that the CVRD chairman and Corporate Secretary be authorized to sign a three-year (renewal) lease, starting Feb. 15, for the Economic Development Division located at Community Futures Cowichan, 135 Third Street, Duncan.

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4 comments to CVRD Leaning Towards Hiring A New Cowichan Economic Development Manager

  • Harry Donaldson

    Should mention this as well,

    “That poor showing is outlined in 2015 in consultant Jerry Berry’s $45,500 report about CVRD’s dysfunctional economic-development department.”

    Oh my god, 45,500.00? Thats more than many people make in one year? Did he hand out gold coins for participation?

  • Harry Donaldson

    Looks like we are hiring another manager for the Economic Development Corp. My guess he/she will be compensated well over 100 000 annually. He/she will have over 500 000 of our taxpayer dollars to use. This after the CVRD decided to stow the position and handle it in house, this after a very expensive consultant informed them as such. Now we find staff are too busy to handle this portfolio.

    Can someone please tell me whatthe hell is going on down there?

  • marty bond

    The economic development portfolio belongs to…….drum roll……planning manager!

  • Farmer jo

    With so many cows to pull out of the mud youd think the CVRD would let this rest for now. I for one think the City of Duncan should take the funds , sorry, no faith in the CVRD right now.

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