New boss hired for troubled Cowichan Valley Regional District economic function

“I will work to assess each of the issues, and relate them to the region as a whole"

For Amy Melmock, an integral part of planning and promoting economic development in the Cowichan Valley is forming partnerships with individuals and organizations.

Melmock is the new manager of the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s long-troubled Economic Development Function, and she already has plans to bring her expertise in that area to the Valley.

She said her first priority is to meet each of the district’s directors and gain an understanding of the economic issues in each of their electoral areas.

“I will work to assess each of the issues, and relate them to the region as a whole,” Melmock said.

“I consider getting to know people in the regional district and forming constructive interpersonal relations with them as very important, and almost everything else can be built on that. We need to have a shared vision of how we want economic development to progress, and we all need to be on the same team,” she said.

Melmock, who was chosen from more than 50 applicants for the job, studied economic development at Waterloo University and St. Mary’s University and has held positions in the field across Canada.

Her vast experience will be required to rejuvenate the leaderless EDF after its previous manager, Geoff Millar, retired in 2014.

After Millar’s retirement, Jerry Berry, of Jerry Berry Consultants Inc., tabled a report on the governance of the EDF last year in which he stated that there has been a “fundamental failure to follow board strategic direction” in the organization.

Berry said in his report that there have been failures to clarify roles and responsibilities in the organization, communicate effectively and pursue previously recommended corrective action.

The EDF has a budget of more than $800,000 a year, most of which comes from property taxes.

Melmock said the traditional focus for economic development in the Valley for the past five to eight years has been on the agriculture and tourism industries, as well as film, and she intends to continue to look for new opportunities there.

She said Tourism Cowichan is developing a comprehensive strategy for destination marketing of the Valley and one of her roles in that process is to ensure that all regions are represented in that initiative.

“We also need to make sure that we are aligned with Tourism Cowichan’s strategy and are not duplicating services,” Melmock said.

“If one of Tourism Cowichan’s main focuses is on leveraging resources for marketing, the EDF could take another role, like highlighting the Valley’s extensive trail systems so people will know what’s here.”

Melmock said she has earmarked a considerable amount of time to study the many challenges facing the Valley’s dynamic agriculture industry, and will be consulting with partners on what the priorities are and how to act on them.

“As for film, I believe there is a great potential for growth of the industry in the Valley when it comes to new areas of the sector, like digital, and we can build a strong film community here,” she said.

Melmock said the Valley provides numerous other economic opportunities just waiting to be explored, including investment opportunities related to its industrial land base.

“We need to explore how the local municipalities and the CVRD are identifying those opportunities and bringing them to the forefront,” she said.

“There’s no doubt those opportunities are there, but the right people need to be put together to take advantage of them. We know the eyes are on the EDF, and I’ll work hard to do the best job we can.”

Just Posted

Bantam Bulldogs mauled by Bears in provincial final

Cowichan’s first loss comes in championship game

Sarah Simpson Column: There’s no wrong gift if it comes from the heart

Angel Tree program a way for the non-profit to collect new clothing and toys for children in need

Inspired 49ers get past Saanich

Cowichan masters rally after midfielder’s red card

Father and son score in narrow Quw’utsun loss

Brad and Quinton Thorne find the net, but their team is edged 3-2

T.W. Paterson column: This cougar story will never die

“As I walked along the last row in the Gallery, a skull mounted by one of the displays caught my eye!”

VIDEO: ‘Holiday Magic’ when Celtic Rhythms and Summit Dance joined forces in Duncan

Fun and frolic combined with more serious selections to make a satisfying evening for everyone

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Most Read