Har­bour Grace hints at bud­get con­tents

Plan­ning to hire eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer in 2015

The Compass - - NEWS - BYANDREWROBINSON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Although de­tails of the 2015 bud­get were not finalized by the time Har­bour Grace coun­cil held their fi­nal meet­ing of the year on Dec. 18, dis­cus­sions that night did of­fer a glimpse of what’s in store for the new year.

Coun. Gord Stone, co-chair of the town’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, tourism and her­itage com­mit­tee, said some en­cour­ag­ing con­ver­sa­tions in­volv­ing provin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials con­vinced the town to ap­ply for fund­ing from the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency (ACOA) to de­velop a her­itage and re­vi­tal­iza­tion plan for Har­bour Grace.

A mo­tion to pre­pare and sub­mit the ap­pli­ca­tion was ap­proved at the Dec. 18 coun­cil meet­ing. A five-per­son com­mit­tee will also be cre­ated to spearhead the project. Stone told fel­low coun­cil mem­bers the town needs to act fast to iden­tify who will serve on that com­mit­tee.

“The ac­tual ac­cep­tance of the plan is go­ing to be con­tin­gent on the com­mit­tee be­ing in place very quickly,” he said.

Stone said the plan would hope­fully iden­tify pri­or­i­ties for the town re­gard­ing de­vel­op­ment, her­itage preser­va­tion and beau­ti­fi­ca­tion, and as­sess how much cash is needed to re­al­ize that vi­sion.

At the pre­vi­ous coun­cil meet­ing, it was agreed the town would hire an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer in 2015. Coun­cil ap­proved a mo­tion at the Dec 18 meet­ing to ad­ver­tise for the po­si­tion.

As Mayor Terry Barnes sees it, the new hire will iden­tify fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties the town has pre­vi­ously not availed of and serve as a li­ai­son be­tween the town and the business com­mu­nity.

“There’s an aw­ful lot that we don’t know when it comes to gov­ern­ment and dif­fer­ent agen­cies that have money for dif­fer­ent things that we can avail of,” Barnes told The Com­pass. “If we had an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer, they can spe­cial­ize in look­ing for money for the town.”

With that in mind, the town hopes that by find­ing space in its bud­get to ac­com­mo­date hir­ing an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer, op­por­tu­ni­ties cre­ated through that po­si­tion will gen­er­ate rev­enue for the town in ex­cess of the as­so­ci­ated salary.

Stone notes such work was once spear­headed by re­gional eco­nomic boards spread through­out New­found­land and Labrador. ACOA elim­i­nated its fund­ing for the 20 re­gional boards in 2012.

Ear­lier this month, the Town of Car­bon­ear an­nounced it would hire an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer.

Although de­tails of the 2015 bud­get for Har­bour Grace were not an­nounced prior to The Com­pass’ dead­line, the town’s tax struc­ture for the new year is in place and un­changed from 2014.

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