Economic development role pondered

Summerland will have an economic development officer on its staff, but that role likely will not be a full-time municipal position.

Summerland will have an economic development officer on its staff, but that role likely will not be a full-time municipal position.

Mayor Janice Perrino said a report presented recently by Helios Group suggests a full-time economic development officer is a luxury Summerland cannot afford.

“Although economic development is an important function within the municipality, the district does not currently have adequate demand for these services to dedicate a full-time resource,” the report states.

The report outlines four potential solutions. These are hiring a part-time worker for the position, sharing the economic development functions with another position, sharing services with another community or contracting the services of an economic development officer.

Of the four solutions, only the first two — hiring a part-time worker or sharing functions with  another management position — are being considered. Sharing services with another community and contracting services are not recommended.

Perrino said another option is also under consideration. This is to work with the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism to provide the services.

This option would be similar to an arrangement in previous years when the municipality’s economic development officer was also the manager of the Business Improvement Association.

While bringing in an economic development officer for a part-time position could be difficult, Perrino said it is also possible that there are young retirees who would be able to step into that role.

She said a full-time economic development officer, whose work would include promoting Summerland elsewhere, would be an expensive way to market the community.

“We’ve had someone on staff for years and they have not been able to increase the population,” she said. “It is certainly not a full-time position, given the market.”


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