Parksville city staff has six months, as directed by city council, to prepare a report that will outline the options and implications of a “buy local” preference clause in city policies.
Mayor Ed Mayne brought forth the particular motion pertaining to city purchasing at the Monday, Dec. 6, council meeting.
He explained where his idea of the motion stemmed from.
“I’m looking at it, and we’re not following what we preach in every opportunity and all I want to know is what can we do to get to the point where – even if it’s a couple percentages more expensive to buy something from a local business than from somebody from out of town or out of country. I would really like to say that we can get there. And right now I can’t say that.”
Coun. Teresa Patterson supported Mayne’s motion and even went further to suggest a point system structure for Requests for Proposals (RFP) by the city, where those local to the Parksville Qualicum Beach area would receive a point bonus.
Chief administrative officer, Keeva Kehler, said some neighbouring municipalities already have a similar preference in place.
“What we would need to do is have some advice from some of our counterparts as to how they’ve made it work. And then probably get some legal advise in terms of making sure we don’t put ourselves in a liability situation when we’re doing big bids or contracts,” she said.
Coun. Doug O’Brien agreed with Mayne’s preference clause, and even Patterson’s suggestion of a point system for RFPs, but also cautioned about legality.
“I think if we pursue it from a social procurement policy standpoint, I think we could probably make some headway. It’s a great idea, it’s just we got to proceed legally,” said O’Brien.