by Colin Smith
How much does Morinville pay to be part of Edmonton Global? The annual amount the regional economic development organization is seeking from Morinville, as one of its 15 shareholders, is going up.
But at Town Council’s regular meeting Tuesday there was uncertainty about the exact figures, which led to deferral of a recommendation to include the increase as part of the 2021 Operating Budget.
The item had already been deferred at the previous Council meeting when the Administration had recommended amending the Budget to include a recently announced increase in the annual funding contribution for Edmonton Global, which would go up $23,000 to $49,000.
On Tuesday Councillor Nicole Boutestein opened discussion of the matter following a brief report by Corporate Services Director Shawna Jason.
“Really, at this point right now, due to the contract with Edmonton Global, we don’t really have a choice with this,” she stated, then asked for the exact figures involved.
Chief Administrative Officer Stephane Labonne said information provided to him indicated the Edmonton Globe increase would result in a 2021 Budget top-up of $30,344.51, following a top-up of $17,701.95 in 2020.
Boutestein asked if the amount set out for Edmonton Global in the upcoming budget would then total more than $53,000.
As this wasn’t clear, Labonne suggested the item be deferred to the next regular meeting of Council, while clarification of the numbers was sought.
Boutestein made a motion to defer the matter to the December 8 regular Council meeting that passed unanimously.
Earlier in the meeting Council had discussed its Edmonton Global shareholder status during a closed session. Closure of the discussion was based on the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, section 16 (Disclosure harmful to business interests of a third party), section 21 (Disclosure harmful to intergovernmental relations), section 24 (Advice from Officials) and section 25 (Disclosure harmful to economic and other interests of a public body).
Global Edmonton was created by the Capital Region Board, now the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board, and incorporated as a non-profit company in June 2017.
Along with Morinville, the shareholders of the organization are Beaumont, Bon Accord, Devon, Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Gibbons, the City of Leduc, Leduc County, Parkland County, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Strathcona County and Sturgeon County.
In 2019, shareholder contributions to Edmonton Global totalled $2 million, double the previous year. At the end of that year, the organization had net assets of $723,096, up from $424,268 at the beginning of 2019.
According to its website, the purpose of Edmonton Global is to promote the Edmonton Metropolitan Region globally, with a focus on attracting and retaining business investment and trade, and the aim of radically transforming and growing the economy of the region.
Its activities include on-the-ground and investment support, providing trade mission participants and facilitating meetings such as the NanoCanada International Conference on nanotechnology and advanced materials to take place in Edmonton next October.