Economic development opportunities sought

Municipal planner Ian McIntosh will devote more of his time to economic growth opportunities.

Changes to the municipality’s development services department will allow municipal planner Ian McIntosh to devote his time to economic growth opportunities.

Municipal administrator Tom Day said a new planner has been hired to take care of day-to-day planning issues, freeing McIntosh’s time for economic work.

“We had no resources allocated to further economic development,” he said.

Mayor Janice Perrino said McIntosh is ideal for the role since he is already the initial contact with potential developers.

In addition, McIntosh will examine directional signage into the community, take inventory of municipally-owned lands and examine the opportunities for those lands and look at ways of marking Summerland to those who do not work here but wish to live here.

“These are people who work elsewhere and are looking to have their families taken care of here,” he said.

He added that the municipality will continue to work to attract businesses.

“We recognize they aren’t coming here as quickly as we’d like,” he said.

There is still interest in Summerland as a business location.

A bylaw in the works will rezone lands in the Bentley Road area for business development.

Earlier, the municipality had an economic development officer on staff, but that position was eliminated in November, 2010.

At the time, Perrino said the cut was necessary and the community could not afford the position.

“This position, with its current model, is not working,” she said at the time.

She added that the municipality would rethink ways to meet the needs of economic growth.

The change in McIntosh’s duties and the hiring of a new person in the planning department are both necessary, Perrino said.

“We definitely need another planner,” she said.

Day said McIntosh’s position is not the same as the former economic development officer’s role, since the focus of the earlier position was to bring businesses into the community.