Three Rivers plans to remedy its underspending on economic development

·2 min read

THREE RIVERS — Less than 20 per cent of what Three Rivers had budgeted for economic development in its 2019-20 budget has been spent by the municipality.

So Coun. Gerard Holland and Coun. Ronnie Nicholson have suggested the town strike a committee consisting of community members that would focus more on boosting economic development across the region. It would also pinpoint what funding opportunities exist that Three Rivers might be missing out on, Nicholson said.

"We're leaving a lot of money on the table," Nicholson said during a Three Rivers committee of council meeting earlier this month. "We have different levels of government banging on our doors, telling us there's money out there for us."

Nicholson noted many people across Three Rivers' region have the talent and experience in the necessary fields. A committee would enable them to use their skills to better Three Rivers.

"It's not rocket science," Holland said. "If we're going to try and get some serious economic development it's something we should get started sooner rather than later."

A few councillors voiced their approval of the request.

"We need the people that have been within the communities since the get-go," Coun. Cindy MacLean said. "They know a lot about what's going on, more than any of us sitting here."

Deputy Mayor Debbie Johnston said having a designated person or group would give the community a more clear point of contact for matters on economic development. The request was carried and will potentially be finalized at a future meeting.

Nicholson suggested that council could still set some priorities to provide direction for the potential committee, and it could be temporary until Three Rivers' official plan is finished in the next year or two.

"Economic development is something that we have to move forward and we can't wait until the official plan," Mayor Edward MacAulay said.

Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian