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CVEDS 'valuable' but needs better communication

The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) and the Comox Valley Economic Development Society (CVEDS) will work on a number of recommendations as a result of an independent review of the economic development service function.

Urbanics Consultants was retained in 2013 by the CVRD to perform the review of its economic development service function, and of that function's service delivery. The reports from Urbanics were received by the CVRD board of directors at its meeting Tuesday night.

The service function was reviewed using a combination of literature review and interviews with nine local governments and their respective economic development organizations.  Examined were aspects of administrative structure, staff size, governance structure, role of elected officials, funding methods, requisition limits, cost-recovery methods and borrowing practices.

The service delivery was reviewed by comparing the costs to deliver core economic development activities across a peer group of communities, reviewing CVEDS' adherence to the provisions of the service agreement, and reviewing the operation of the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre.

"The service delivery and the service function reviews were useful processes, in that they identified a number of things that are working well with local governments and other like-minded business organizations, as well as identifying some areas that can work better," said Edwin Grieve, chair of the CVRD.

"For example, the review identified that CVEDS is delivering a valuable service for the Comox Valley, but that we need to see improved transparency, public consultation and communication to keep residents informed on activities, and that the local governments must continually work with CVEDS to define and agree upon their respective roles and expectations."

"The CVEDS service review clearly reinforces the importance of regional economic development in the Comox Valley.  Several of the report recommendations are complementary to specific areas of the updated Comox Valley Regional Economic Development Strategic Plan and the society's detailed 2014 work plan,' said Ian Whitehead, president of the CVEDS board of directors.

"The service review process was a most worthwhile undertaking, highlighting service delivery areas in which we have clearly succeeded, and noting specific areas for improvement in our service delivery. We intend to continue to enhance our focus on communication with, and outreach to, the regional community, ensuring our services are drawn upon by a broad spectrum of local businesses and industries."

The full reports from Urbanics Consultants can be found on the CVRD website at www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/ecdev.

— Comox Valley Regional District

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