Province winding down development corporation
Government looking to replace the organization with a Regional Economic Advisory Council
“No decisions have yet been made regarding staff or the assets. Staff will be required over the coming months to carry out the management of SRDC held properties.” Economic Development Minister Heath MacDonald
The provincial government is starting the process of dismantling the Summerside Regional Development Corporation (SRDC).
The province announced 10 months ago that it intended to buy out the other SRDC shareholders and replace the organization with a Regional Economic Advisory Council. However, it had since taken no overt action to do so.
That changed Monday during SRDC’s annual general meeting.
The province moved to reduce the number of board members from nine to five, consisting of three civil servants, Summerside CAO Bob Ashley and Dan Kutcher, president of the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce. The province is the majority shareholder of the organization while the city and chamber are minor stakeholders.
Economic Development Minister Heath MacDonald has confirmed that the new board will manage the SRDC’s assets and staff while the organization’s operations wind down. It will also try to figure out what to do with the SRDC property in the city, including the Holman Building, the Harbour Quay building and the engine test cell it built in Slemon Park and leases to Vector Aerospace.
“No decisions have yet been made regarding staff or the assets. Staff will be required over the coming months to carry out the management of SRDC held properties,” said MacDonald.
Kutcher attended the AGM and said he left with a lot of unanswered questions.
“There’s a big difference between an advisory council and an organization which can actively develop underutilized properties,” said Kutcher.
“We’ll just have to wait and see where it goes.”
The province had previously announced the creation of four Regional Economic Advisory Councils, one of which will be responsible for East Prince/West Queens.
The councils, whose members will be appointed by the province, will fulfill some of the same roles left vacant by the SRDC, but not all.
For example, a big part of the SRDC’s mandate was to stimulate economic growth by developing property.
A government description posted online about the advisory councils does not include the same function.
The province plans to announce its appointees to the councils later this week.
“(The councils) will report to the province and will help guide and develop economic growth strategies for the region,” said MacDonald.
“We believe this is an important step for economic and population growth in the region and we are looking forward to working with the new council. It’s an excellent opportunity to have members of the community provide direct input into decisions that affect the regional economy.”