Back to the drawing board for Burden

Qualicum Beach council throws a wrench into region-wide marketing plans

Funding for the Oceanside Initiatives marketing plan for the region may be in jeopardy after Qualicum Beach council decided not to contribute the $10,000 requested.

Over the objections of Mayor Teunis Westbroek and Coun. Dave Willie, council decided Monday night $5,000 was enough for the town to kick in.

Coun. Mary Brouilette said Qualicum Beach is, or already has, putting money and effort into similar initiatives through its extensive cultural plan, and that a $5,000 contribution to this project, along with an offer to share what the town has already done, is a reasonable way to proceed.

“We have already stepped forward,” said Brouilette, who put the $5,000 option on the table, which was also supported by councillors Bill Luchtmeijer and Scott Tanner. “I think $5,000 is more than reasonable.”

Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce CEO Kim Burden and that group’s president, Robynne Shaw, were in attendance Monday night but did not address council. Burden gave a presentation at a recent council meeting and explained he could get $30,000 in matching funds for the initiative from the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) if he was able to secure $10,000 each from Qualicum Beach, Parksville and the Regional District of Nanaimo. Parksville has approved its $10,000 contribution and the RDN is expected to consider the request in the fall.

According to ICET, the Oceanside Initiatives project is intended to follow up on a recent competitive analysis for the region, which recommends a business attraction strategy focused on the Lifestyle Entrepreneur. The project will include research and the development of specific tools which will be used to attract entrepreneurs and businesses through media, foreign and local investment presentations, trade shows and direct inquiries.

“By reducing this to $5,000 it cripples the project,” said Willie. “I think it’s a worthwhile investment.”

Westbroek agreed, saying Qualicum Beach should be a “full partner” in this project. He also said kicking in the full requested amount could pay off on other issues, including cooperation on any future discussions about the costs and use of the Qualicum Beach Airport.

“I know it seems we are going the extra mile (by contributing $10,000), but sometimes that’s a good thing,” said Westbroek. “Perhaps by going a little extra on this agreement we will create some goodwill on the airport.”

Burden was asked for comment on the Qualicum Beach decision as he left council chambers Monday night.

“I have to figure out what we’re going to do, so no comment,” he said.

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