Morinville – Since his official start date on Oct. 1, Morinville’s new Economic Development Coordinator (EDC), Schaun Goodeve, has been hard at work. Hired to develop and promote policy guidelines pertaining to municipal economic growth, he has wasted no time in pursuing those objectives. Only one month at the desk and he has already met with many town and business representatives, attended multiple town council meetings, and launched an initiative that is expected to strengthen the local economy throughout the next 25 years.
Although he is no stranger to his office, perhaps ‘at the desk’ is not an accurate representation of Goodeve’s more recent methods of acquainting himself with his role. He has left that desk many times in the past month in order to get to know the town and its residents. Mayor Holmes remarked: “Mr. Goodeve has been familiarizing himself with Morinville businesses, local and regional stakeholders, and the Town’s planning documents (specifically the Morinville Sustainability Plan: Economic Development pillar). He has also met with the Morinville Chamber of Commerce, attended a Rotary meeting, the Chamber Business Awards as well as the Council Swearing in Ceremony.” After many introductions and a lot of discussion, Goodeve is confident he knows where to begin taking action, stating: “It is clear that we require a baseline in order to understand what issues are facing the business community, but also to identify Morinville’s success stories.”
Chamber of Commerce President Simon Boersma was one of the many people Goodeve met with shortly after starting his new position. Reflecting on that initial meeting, Boersma commented: “I believe that Mr. Goodeve will enhance and strengthen the direction of growth that has already been started. I think it is wrong to ask any one person to come into this community and expect change to be created immediately. We do, however, expect to look at creating a 25 year plan and to begin working towards it in five year intervals, keeping in mind the vision of the community itself: to make Morinville the best community to live, work and play.”
The first step in Goodeve’s 25-year plan is to launch a Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Program. Phase One of that program will be in the form of a survey called the Morinville Biz Pulse. About the survey, Goodeve said: “The best way to develop an understanding of the current business climate in Town is to meet business and operators face to face and ask some key questions.” About the program objectives, he added: “The main objectives are to generate a quantitative baseline that will factor into development of an economic development strategy (including effective marketing campaigns) utilizing a survey tool. The long term objective is to demonstrate achievement of Economic Goals, Objectives and Targets established within the MSP and Morinville’s Strategic and Business Plans (e.g. Healthy Economy, Thriving Local Businesses, Thriving Local Agriculture, and Complete Visitor Experience), MDP and Coeur de Morinville ASP.” Mayor Holmes also weighed in on the survey, stating: “The results of this first phase will assist Council in determining future economic development initiatives as they relate to the Morinville Sustainability Plan.”
Town Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Deb Pare, admitted that launching a BR&E Program so quickly after hiring an EDC is rare, explaining: “It is unprecedented for a Business Retention and Expansion Program to be launched within a month of an economic development position having been filled with the trend being months if not years to develop and implement.” When asked about how he was able to commit to the program after such a short amount of time, Goodeve answered: “I have experience in BR&E programming so I knew how to initiate the process and equally important, there is tremendous support from Town Administration and Council to take action. As well, the staff has been very accommodating and expedient in providing the information that I require.” No word yet on when the survey will take place.