Economic officer ‘waste of money’ – councillor

Richard Froese
South Peace News

An economic development officer is not in the plans for Big Lakes County as council considers steps to boost the local economy.
At its regular meeting May 25, council received an administration report for information.
Besides an annual salary of about $90,000, the position would cost council about $206,000, says a report from Brett Hawken, director of community and protective services.
“A more-detailed analysis will need to be completed if council were to move forward with this position,” Hawken wrote.
Grouard Councillor Jeff Chalifoux requested administration research the position and present a report and recommendation to council.
The average salary for the position in Alberta is $91,736, based on a person with a minimum four years of post-secondary education, Hawken said.
Other costs would include benefits, work supplies, travel expenses, use of a county vehicle, project funding, and more.
One councillor said hiring an economic development officer is not a good use of money.
“It’s a terrible waste of money,” South Sunset House – Gilwood Councillor Ann Stewart said.
She was on the previous council when the community had an economic develop officer for several years.
Reeve Robert Nygaard said the county had an economic development officer supported by a government grant. He added the county is open for business and new business.
“If someone wants to set up a business, we welcome them,” Nygaard said.
“I think we’re doing a good job of economic development.
“We have a new grant program to help businesses spruce up their businesses.”
Council awarded its first recipients in the Business Refurbishment Grant program at its meeting May 11.
“Economic development officers promote economic growth and sustainability in a community or region,” Hawken stated a definition on the website of Alberta Careers.
“There are many different roles an economic development officer can take.
“The most common is to support and encourage existing business while working to attract new business to their area.”

Share this post