On Feb. 15, the Comox Valley Regional District board reviewed the final Comox Valley Economic Development Service report and approved implementing its recommendations. The review process, which took 11 months, followed the statutory framework in the Local Government Act in which participant representatives (CVRD, Electoral Areas A, B and C, City of Courtenay, Town of Comox), assisted by a third-party facilitator, reviewed the terms and conditions of the service, and undertook negotiations to identity common interests and reach agreement on the issues identified.
Based on recommendations from the final report, the service will transition to the Comox Valley Regional Tourism Service focused on providing regional tourism information and destination marketing services.
“The adjustment to the service purpose means economic development services will no longer be delivered to the region through the CVRD and instead undertaken individually by each jurisdiction,” said CVRD board chair Jesse Ketler. “Businesses will still be supported locally. Regionally, the focus will be on tourism and destination marketing. Discussions demonstrated the need for this unified tourism approach to support our tourism sector, and ensure a managed and collaborative approach to attracting visitors to our amazing community.”
The Town of Comox will shift from being a formal service participant, and will continue to participate in the service by contract for the provision of destination marketing and visitor services. The Town will continue providing contributions to the outstanding mortgage for the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre until the debt is retired and will be entitled to any benefits arising from the disposition, lease or re-purposing of the facility during that period. In respect to the centre, transition planning will be initiated in 2022 to identify and assess options for the facility. This process is expected to be completed in 2023.
In addition to the tourism service contract with the Town of Comox, the CVRD board approved a similar arrangement with the Village of Cumberland so that the Village may also contribute to and benefit from the tourism service. The Village will eventually be invited to consider joining the redesigned tourism service as a formal participant.