Nakusp’s economic development agency is asking Village council to triple its annual contribution, from $25,000 to $75,000.

The Nakusp and Area Development Board made its pitch for more support at the November council meeting.

“Ultimately, this is about capacity. The Village only has so much of it, and important plans may go unaddressed,” the NADB’s President Corrine Tessier told council. 

The Village of Nakusp and the RDCK entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the NADB in spring 2021. Funding from the Village, RDCK, Columbia Basin Trust, ETSI-BC and NACFOR allowed the agency to hire a coordinator, who has been implementing economic development projects that align with the priorities of the Village, the RDCK and community leaders. (That co-ordinator is Councillor Aidan McLaren-Caux, who declared a conflict and left the room before Tessier’s presentation.)

Tessier outlined a number of projects the NADB has supported in the last two years, including having an EV charging station installed, starting a ‘buy local’ program, offering business advice to more than 200 local businesses, supporting a rural immigrant program to bring skilled workers to the community, among others. 

“Having a paid EDC has made a significant difference,” she said. “Not only for launching specific projects, but by building a base of professional processes to support our area, and to complement Village and RDCK capacity.”

But the funding dries up soon, and the NADB doesn’t want to lose its momentum. And rather than going home, they want to go big.

“Given that large projects take time, commitment, and consistency, we ask for a multi-year funding arrangement of three to five years,” the president said. “Year-to-year uncertainty is preclusive of big projects, and big wins for the Village.”

The organization is looking for $75,000 from the municipality. The proposal asks the Village to continue providing an annual $25,000 contribution, as it did in 2022 (up from $10,000 in 2021). It also asks for $50,000 from the NACFOR Legacy Fund – $25,000 for “initiating and leading a major project to benefit the community” and $25,000 to be used as seed funds to get matching grants from other agencies. The “major project” would be jointly decided upon with the Village.

With this funding in place, the NADB says it can: continue to act as an information and support hub for local business and non profits, helping them grow and build capacity; develop new projects through community consultation, bringing the results to council for setting direction; access funding that the municipality might not qualify for; work on big-picture projects that are too much for the small local government. “An example is starting the long process of addressing the housing crisis, because no other organization in the village is working on it now,” the president said.

The other benefit of the proposal is that $50,000 doesn’t come from taxpayers’ pockets.

“There is a relatively stable and sufficient funding source (NACFOR Legacy Fund) that can be used to leverage outside funds to amplify the effectiveness of the projects, and that is not taxation,” the report says (their italics).

The whole $75,000 for each of three years could be reduced if the NADB can secure funds from other sources for the organization’s operations and projects.

Council thanked Tessier for her proposal. The request will be included in the Village’s upcoming municipal budget discussions.

By John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Dec 15, 2022 at 13:03

This item reprinted with permission from   Valley Voice   New Denver, British Columbia

Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated