Council approves over $20,000 extra for Rivercorp

The city will reimburse Rivercorp for the money it spent to recruit a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

The city will reimburse Rivercorp for the money it spent to recruit a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) despite objections from one city councillor.

Mayor Charlie Cornfield recommended council allocate $21,869 from its contingency budget to Rivercorp for its CEO expenses and to complete current programs this year.

“There were some unbudgeted expenses,” Cornfield told council Tuesday night. “Council, during its 2011 budget deliberation on Rivercorp funding, did not provide contingent resourcing for the recruitment of a new CEO.”

Cornfield said it cost $11,700 to hire CEO Vic Goodman because Rivercorp paid for several job applicants’ travel and interview expenses as well as relocation costs for Goodman, who previously lived in Saskatchewan.

Cornfield said Rivercorp, the city’s economic development organization, has been representing Campbell River at various tourism events and conventions which are valuable to the city.

“If we lose our booth space, it’s very hard to get it back,” Cornfield said. “And Rivercorp needs money to carry out these initiatives. These programs and costs were deferred at budget until such time as Rivercorp secured a new CEO. Now that the CEO has been in place for several months, programs have been implemented promoting Campbell River and its business activity to year end.”

Cornfield said it’s anticipated Rivercorp will need $10,169 to pay for those programs, including Geoscience BC, a program that aims to stimulate mining exploration.

Coun. Ziggy Stewart reminded council he has been outspoken on the issue of Rivercorp and has been critical of the job Rivercorp has done for the kind of money the city has invested in it.

“This is in no way a reflection of the volunteers who work on this board, they do a great job,” Stewart said. “But Rivercorp itself seems to have some flaws. I’ll use an analogy, if you will, to a leaky boat that uses taxpayers’ money to fill the holes. I don’t know why there are overruns continually, but it goes to the heart of the problem – that there is a problem.”

Coun. Mary Storry said she had been hesitant to support the funding prior to Tuesday’s council meeting, but changed her mind after speaking with Rivercorp’s CEO.

“I wanted to to take the opportunity to thank Mr.Goodman, who spent time with me to work through my angst with this issue,” Storry told council.

Council supported forwarding $21,869 to Rivercorp with the exception of Stewart who was opposed.

Cornfield added that “there are a number of exciting new initiatives coming” including the B.C. government’s new Job Action Plan, which Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell said he is considering Campbell River as a pilot community for.