A District of Sicamous decision to withdraw from the regional district’s economic development service as of Jan. 1, 2018 did not sit well with Columbia Shuswap Regional District staff and directors.
The district announced their withdrawal as a participant from ‘Economic Development (Electoral Areas C, D, E and F) Extended Service Bylaw No. 5268 in a Nov. 9 resolution.
Instead, the district will launch the Sicamous Development Corporation (2018) that will provide economic development services directly to the district.
“Given the lateness, staff thinks the district should make provisions for 2018 for whatever items that are being pursued,” said CSRD chief executive officer Charles Hamilton. “It’s a bit troubling to be right in the middle of budget considerations and have the funding completely withdrawn. It should be something that was presented to (CSRD) economic development committee.”
But Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz told directors at the Nov. 16 CSRD board meeting in Salmon Arm that substantisl research has been done and the withdrawal was discussed at in-camera meetings for the past several years.
“We also realize the timing is not great, so if we have to pay another year into it, then that’s fine,” said Rysz.
“I’m glad to hear that; we just completed a regional economic development plan which included Sicamous,” said Electoral Area C South Shuswap director Paul Demenok. “This is really bad timing. Do we now leave Sicamous out?”
Rysz pointed out he was a conduit for a decision made by district council.
He explained district’s new development corporation will be comprised of the town manager, chief financial officer and four other members.
“We have five different projects on the go right now. We purchased a new medical clinic that will be managed by the corporation,” Rysz said. “The reason we’re behind this is because the allocation of funds we give to CSRD, we want to put in our own corporation and Area E will be considered as well.”
Area D Falkland/Salmon Valley/Deep Creek director Rene Talbot asked if the District of Sicamous could pull out of economic development, why could he not withdraw from the milfoil control program, which does not benefit his area.
Hamilton explained he could withdraw, but only if two-thirds of the board were in support, and questioned the effect such a move would have on the regional district’s budget.
Electoral Area E director and CSRD chairperson Rhona Martin assured the board her area would remain in the regional district’s economic development committee. Directors then voted unanimously to accept Sicamous’ withdrawal.