PREDC to get no further funding and agreement is terminated
by Sandy Lindsay
January 13, 2015
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(L-R) Maureen Couture, Randy Roppel, Andrew White, Deputy Mayor Jacqueline Faubert, CAO Murray Clarke, Mayor Anne Eadie, Town Clerk Donna McDougall, Laura Haight, Gord Campbell & Linda
As far as Kincardine Council is concerned, the Penetangore Regional Economic Development Corporation (PREDC) did not live up to its expectations and, therefore, there will be no further funding for the organization.
At its budget meeting on Monday night, January 12th (2015) held in Underwood, Council made the decision to not provide any more money to the group.
PREDC was formed n 2011 to help with business development and provide information to businesses that may have considered locating in Kincardine.
It was anticipated that the group would become part of a collaboration between the public and private sector and work with government, major publics, private sector companies and small and medium-sized businesses.
PREDC was a player in what is known as 'Team Kincardine' along with the Kincardine Chamber of Commerce, downtown Business Improvement Association (BIA) and the Municipality of Kincardine.
Among the projects that the group worked on were the Bruce Botanical Food Gardens, which were to become a tourist destination site, an integrated community sustainability Plan (ICSP) to develop a long-term strategic plan and the Natural Gas Pipeline project.
PREDC is under contract until the end of December, 2016 and funded to the end of June. It was assumed that PREDC would be asking Council for $140,000 in funding but they had not yet presented their 2015 budget to Council.
"They must have known they would need some funding or non-funding," said Councilor Laura Haight. "They should not be treated separately or any differently and we should decide what the amount if going to be, if we are going to fund them at all."
"I agree," said Andrew White, "if we are doing budgets, then PREDC should have given us theirs."
"I understand that they are having their first meeting tonight," said Deputy Mayor Jacqueline Faubert, "and that their 2015 budget is being voted on tonight."
Maureen Couture added that she felt it imprudent of PREDC to not have given the figure to Council. "We are being used here and we need to deal with this and move on."
Couture also said that Council had been promised a Stategic Plan from PREDC and had not received one.
Mayor Anne Eadie said that she always supported the model that the best ambassadors for businesses are business leaders and that people in the business community should act as mentors. "We have supported them well financially and I was going to suggest we reduce the amount. Economic development is very important for not only attracting businesses but for retaining them to form a business base. So, regardless, I think we need to have some money in our budget for economic development."
Couture then added that she didn't feel that PREDC had displayed "transparency". "They were supposedly at arms length because they could do what the municipality could not. Well, I'm not so sure I trust that. They didn't tell us how much they had in the bank and it was a simple question they refused to answer. I don't trust that attitude and it really bothers me. They've had four years to prove themselves and, in my opinion, they have not delivered. There are no new big businesses, there are no new jobs ... they have not initiated anything significant."
Couture then presented a motion to Council:
"Whereas the Municipality has contracted with the Penetangore Regional Economic Development Corporation for economic development services since 2011, and whereas taxpayers have funded PREDC in an amount in excess of $500,000 and whereas there has been little or no economic development fro PREDC that has resulted in any new jobs or businesses in Kincardine, and further the initial objective of this organization was to leverage funds from other sources including other levels of government to provide ongoing funding to PREDC and that this objective has not been met, now hereby be it resolved that: 1. funding for PREDC be terminated as of December, 2014 with no funds to be allocated in the 2015 budget, saving the taxpayer about 1.5 per cent."
The motion went on to say that Council should give PREDC 60 days
notice of termination and that the CAO provide a report to Council
within that period setting out possible alternative options for
economic development planning. Councilor Randy Roppel
immediately seconded the motion."My concern," said Mayor Anne Eadie,
"is that if we throw out this model before we have something else in
place, I don't think that's good. I think we have to look at
the pros and cons of the model and I would like to defer it until we
have something better."
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015