Parksville is joining with Qualicum Beach and the four Oceanside electoral areas (E, F, G, H) to create a Northern Community Economic Development Service.
Parksville shut down its economic development office a couple years ago because council felt “it wasn’t getting good value on the money it was spending,” explained acting mayor Chris Burger.
It reduced its economic development budget to a $20,000 contingency fund, which they haven’t used yet this year, chief administrative officer Fred Manson told council at their last regular meeting.
With the new regional service, the city will benefit from a total $50,000 regional budget, of which Parksville will pay just over $13,000 out of its existing budget.
Burger said it is a function more appropriate for the regional level and it will be more efficient for the local communities to pool their resources.
The funds will then be available for various local organizations like chambers of commerce to apply for specific projects which they will then hopefully use with other matching grants.
Burger points out that municipalities are not allowed to fund businesses directly, so the funds will only be used to promote or facilitate economic development.
Parksville council consented to the regional bylaw which is still in process at the district level.