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Keeping CVEDS' feet to the fire

February 7, 2013 · 5:32 PM
Comments

Dear editor,

In this era of special interests, it’s essential to keep up the pressure to obtain answers on CVEDS and whose vision of economic development it really serves.

We need to know — how can CVEDS run an ad promoting the Raven Coal Mine as a current investment opportunity, when this opposes the position of the CVRD board and the many concerned citizens and groups of the Comox Valley?

We also need to know why getting basic, unfiltered information out of the taxpayer-funded CVEDS is a challenge for all our local media.

Why does CVEDS give special privilege to Cayet (Trilogy), Target, Walmart and SportChek? As part of its advertising strategy, will CVEDS promote the valuable lot at Fifth and England vacant now for almost eight years since the Palace Theatre fire? Is support for the downtowns of Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland on its agenda or part of its mandate?

CVEDS’ taxpayer-funded ad (Dec. 8) states one of the top three reasons to invest in the Comox Valley is the box stores. These stores offer largely part-time hours and minimum wages.

Many of our downtown stores offer niche products, locally or sustainably produced and unique. The dollar value is higher than the mass-produced, offshore items that proliferate in landfills.

If more of the workforce is earning a minimum part time wage, how does this support local downtown merchants? How can this support a healthy, vibrant and diverse quality of life? How does it attract the next generation of independent entrepreneurs that will keep our communities thriving?

Events such as WinterFest, Elevate the Arts and Market Days invite people to share in downtown festivities and build community spirit. These unique celebrations also encourage us to imagine new possibilities.

But if all CVEDS attempts to attract to the Comox Valley is the low-priced, high-volume, part-time-hiring box store, how does that help build our community’s future?

As requested: Come clean, CVEDS, so we can learn what you’re doing to improve our local economy. Taxpayers, small businesses and our downtowns depend on you. Transparency builds a healthy community and sustains the Valley we love to call our home.

I would certainly like to see more accountability and learn how CVEDS appears to act independently of local government, their funding body. If not the CVRD, Comox Valley’s elected counselors or the tax-paying public, then to whom is CVEDS answerable and responsible?

Are they really serving the best interest of a diverse Comox Valley if they won’t speak up and let us in on what they’re planning?

S.M. Smith,

Royston