Tofinoâ€™s municipal council recently dished out about $8,000 to several local economic development efforts.
The funding stemmed from recommendations Tofinoâ€™s Community Economic Development Committee (CEDC) brought to a recent council meeting.
Council agreed to give: $2,000 to the Tofino-Long Beach chamber of commerce (TLBC) to help grow the chamberâ€™s â€˜Buy Localâ€™ campaign, $5,000 to hire a contractor to prepare a framework for the CEDC, and $1,000 to support an Innovation Island workshop series.
â€œAs chair of the (CEDC) I can say that thereâ€™s a sense that there have been a number of initiatives that have some potency that we feel canâ€™t really get underway without at least getting some seed money to move them forward,â€ explained Coun. Dorothy Baert at a recent Tofino council meeting.
Baert said the money would be taken from councilâ€™s special projects reserve, which has about $60,000 in the tank.
â€œThe amounts weâ€™re talking about today arenâ€™t so high relative to that but there considered to be kind of critical to moving this work forward,â€ she said.
She said the TLBC has had its eye on a buy local campaign for some time but about $2,000 of â€œseed moneyâ€ was needed to get the initiative rolling.
â€œThis is a small amount of money to put forward to get a specific project that the committee has identified as a value,â€ Baert said.
Mayor Josie Osborne said the Buy Local program would be aimed at promoting the purchase of products from local businesses as well as the purchase of products made locally.
â€œThe idea of the seed money is, recognizing that the chamber is limited in its existing resources, they needed a bit of a start to really flesh out what the whole program is going to look like,â€ Osborne said.
â€œI think this was the (CEDCâ€™s) way of saying, â€˜If youâ€™re going to do it, do it right, and weâ€™re going to help you get it together so that you can do it right.â€™â€
Baert said the $5,000 contractor was needed to sort through the CEDCâ€™s past work and lay out a framework for future efforts.
â€œThe idea is that somebody would be contracted to pull together the work of the last couple years of the committee and lay out…where we are, where we are going, and what are the action steps that need to be taken,â€ Baert said.
â€œIt needs to have a focused professional craftsmanship to go through these things and to lay out something thatâ€™s a reasonable and workable plan that the committee could move forward with.â€
Coun. Greg Blanchette wondered why such a contractor would be needed.
â€œIâ€™m not clear on what developing the framework is; to my mind thatâ€™s kind of the committeeâ€™s job itself, to develop this framework,â€ Blanchette said.
â€œNow the committee is recommending that we hire somebody to develop the framework, what am I not understanding?â€
Osborne responded that the CEDC is not resourced as well as other committees.
â€œWe donâ€™t have the expertise in community economic development amongst the district of Tofino staff,â€ she said.
â€œIn order for this committee to really tackle some of the scope under its terms of reference, it needs some of that expertise to facilitate and move it together.â€
She added the committee would not realize its potential without some support.
â€œIf it doesnâ€™t have the expertise on the committee, the committeeâ€™s just continually spinning its wheels,â€ she said.
â€œIf there isnâ€™t a coordinator or person with expertise whoâ€™s hired to help move things along, things tend to not move along and the committeeâ€™s recognizing that it needs this help.â€
Coun. Al Anderson asked for further clarification on what the position would be tasked with and Osborne reiterated that it would help the committee establish a framework.
â€œThis particular contract is to really develop that framework, or strategic plan almost, for that committee and its work,â€ Osborne said.
â€œItâ€™s not ongoing secretariat services, although that may be something that comes out of this that the committee wishes to consider if our own staff canâ€™t resource it the way that it needs to be resourced.â€
Council also agreed to provide $1,000 to support an Innovation Island workshop series.
Osborne said Innovation Island will bring its workshop series to Tofino in the fall and suggested the district should support the en route initiative.
â€œIf the district of Tofino provided up to $1,000 to complement the workshops in terms of their promotion and providing lunch at the workshops it would attract more (people),â€ she said.