CVRD board suspends Economic Development Commission activities

The Cowichan Valley Regional District board voted Wednesday night to suspend operations of the Economic Development Commission.

The vote comes in support of a staff recommendation. General manager Ross Blackwell explained that six of the appointments to the commission expired at the end of June, and three were empty due to resignations, leaving the commission with just two functional members. It would be premature to continue operations he said, as the board is in the process of a complete overhaul of the economic development function.

Following the retirement of former economic development function manager Geoff Millar in 2014, the CVRD board hired a consultant to examine the function and the commission, as there were misgivings about how it was working and what outcomes were being achieved.

Consultant Jerry Berry of JB Consultants Inc., delivered a scathing report to the CVRD board in February, detailing significant dysfunctions and recommending big changes take place.

The future direction and structure of the economic development function has not yet been determined by the board.

The Economic Development Commission had separately come to four different recommendations, which were also put before the board Wednesday night.

They were to repopulate the staff complement for the economic development function as quickly as possible, that the commission likewise be repopulated and operationalized as quickly as possible, that consideration be given to broadening the representation on the commission and that priority be given to resolving the function to support the long term livability of the region.

The board chose to follow the staff recommendation instead.

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