The Comox Valley Regional District operates out of a new office at Harmston in Courtenay. File photo

The Comox Valley Regional District operates out of a new office at Harmston in Courtenay. File photo

Committee to explore shared services with Comox Valley Economic Development Society

Team comprised of Arzeena Hamir, Maureen Swift, Doug Hillian

The Comox Valley Regional District board has established a liaison team to investigate the potential for integrating shared services, including financial accounting, with the Comox Valley Economic Development Society (CVEDS).

The select committee comprises Area B director Arzeena Hamir, Comox director Maureen Swift and Courtenay director Doug Hillian.

The district and CVEDS entered into a new service agreement in July.

READ: Comox Valley Regional District, economic society sign revised agreement

At the Aug. 25 meeting, Area C director Edwin Grieve commended Hillian, and directors Ken Grant (Comox) and Daniel Arbour (Area A) for being an “honest and respectful team,” in reference to working with staff on re-negotiating the CVEDS contract during the past six months. He supported each director going forward.

“I think they’ve built the relationships, they have the understanding, and we can build from here… and move on in times like this when we really need economic development,” Grieve said.

Other directors, however, harboured reservations about the process moving forward. Hamir is concerned how the service would use the “lenses that the board have agreed to,” in terms of reconciliation, climate change, fiscal responsibility and community initiatives, to ensure all four drivers continue.

“There’s been a few glaring gaps, I would say, in this service,” she said.

Courtenay director Will Cole-Hamilton, noting “divided schools of thought,” also voted against Grieve’s suggested composition.

“I have reservations about this type of agreement,” he said. “I think we’re only going to come out of this united as a board.”

Arbour and Grant declined their nominations.

“I’m not seeing this going in a direction that is looking to make this a better service,” Grant said. “I was quite excited about sitting on this and trying to find a better way to move this forward. I am not seeing this happening here.”

Moving forward, Hillian said he and other directors have reservations about the structure and the history of the CVEDS organization. Nevertheless, he is willing to carry on.

“I do think we have an opportunity now, regardless of who serves on this committee, to either make this work or not,” he said.

The CVRD will prepare a report with recommendations on the potential for integrating shared services by Dec. 31.

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