Letter: Open letter to council and administration re economic development

Dear Editor:

As you are aware, Morinville Town Council voted unanimously at its Nov. 22 meeting to cut $80,000 in proposed economic development spending in half to $40,000. While the Morinville & District Chamber of Commerce is disappointed by this decision in light of how important economic development was as a 2010 campaign issue, we are keeping an open mind pending third and final reading as much can change on the road to a passed budget.

We strongly support and endorse the work being done on the Coeur de Morinville Plan and the continued work on the Highway 642 Functional Study as they are (to our mind) presently of greater importance to economic development than hiring an economic development officer in a town that has little usable land or land that is hindered due to issues with the provincial highway running through town.

Having met with members of Morinville’s Planning and Development Department Nov. 30 to discuss Morinville’s proposed business licence bylaw, we are pleased with the efforts to invite our Chamber to the table to have our voice heard and with the desire of Planning and Development to work with the Chamber to achieve common purposes in the future.

We are also pleased with the knowledge that within proposed future residential developments there is the concession to have pockets of retail and commercial usage where they meet the needs of the proposed community.

Economic development is of great importance to the Morinville and District Chamber of Commerce as is advocating the interests of Morinville’s business community. To this end we would rather see the hiring of an economic development officer delayed until the community has a firm grasp on whether it wishes to be a bedroom community or a community with a greater percentage of commercial and / or industrial amenities. We realize that skill sets vary among economic development experts and it is imperative the community determine its growth direction first so as to get the best value for the tax dollars invested.

In closing, should Morinville wish to put together an Economic Development Committee at some future point, the Morinville & District Chamber of Commerce would pledge its full support to assisting and serving such a committee to our mutual interests and those of the residents and business owners of Morinville.


The Board of Directors
Morinville & District Chamber of Commerce

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