Town debates next steps in economic development

by Vance Gutzman

Economic development was front and centre of the agenda of Deep River’s finance and administration committee this month.

At the heart of the issue was $60,000 set aside for an economic development contract services position.

The town budgeted for that position last fall but didn’t clarify what it would entail.

Town council referred the issue to the finance and administration committee during budget discussions last fall, and confirmed that decision in March.

Councillor Ron Desrochers got the ball rolling once the item hit the committee table.

“If you want to bring businesses to town, our objective shouldn’t be to hire a person, but reduce taxes,” Desrochers said, noting that the previous council chose not to continue with an economic development officer after John Walden retired from that position in 2012.

Desrochers added that he would support the creation of an economic development committee instead, and would gladly be its chairman.

Councillor Megan Aikens, although not a member of the finance and administration committee, was present in council chambers for the discussion, and said the issue stemmed from council’s strategic planning session last September.

“We identified there were some marketing challenges we had,” Aikens said, adding that often people moving to this area for employment are taking up residence in surrounding communities, rather in Deep River itself.

“We talked about what other communities had that we didn’t,” Aikens said.

“We also talked about what Deep River does have and what makes us unique.”

for the full story, pick up a copy of the April 18 NRT…