Comox Valley municipalities and electoral areas have reached an agreement that allows Cumberland to withdraw from the economic development function of the regional district, effective this year.
Last year, the Village announced its intention to withdraw because council wishes to spend money on initiatives that directly impact Cumberland. These include eco-tourism, and commercial and industrial development.
“We found that we were wanting to go in a different direction than they were wanting to go in,” Mayor Leslie Baird said. “Developing a new model of providing economic development services is a strategic priority of the Village. By withdrawing from the economic development service of the CVRD we’re now able to explore this in more detail.”
Terms of the withdrawal include Cumberland paying $40,000 per year into the service from 2016 to 2019. Council was aware of the ‘withdrawal penalty’ when it unanimously approved the motion to withdraw. With $52,000 budgeted on a yearly basis, the Village would have paid $208,000 over the next four years to remain in the service.
Jesse Ketler — the Village representative on the Comox Valley Economic Development Society (CVEDS) — will resign her position effective immediately.
Two members of Courtenay council — Mayor Larry Jangula and Erik Eriksson — had expressed disappointment in Cumberland’s wish to withdraw from the service. But CVRD board chair Bruce Jolliffe says local governments “will continue to work together, to grow and promote suitable economic development for our communities.”
The CVRD has been contracting with CVEDS since 1988. It is in a contract until 2017 to deliver economic services including the Vancouver Island visitor centre, destination marketing and other strategic priorities for the region.
The CVRD board approved a 2016 operating grant exceeding $1.1 million to CVEDS.