City council officially dissolved the city’s former economic development arm, Rivercorp, Monday night following the model’s failure to deliver the results many expected.
At Monday’s council meeting, Coun. Charlie Cornfield, who was on council at the time Rivercorp was created, said he was sad to see what had become of his council’s hard work but added he’s pleased with the new direction the city is going in.
“As disappointed as I am to see the model that myself and council had supported and encouraged – it didn’t work the way we had intended – I have great faith in what we’re doing now. It’s working well,” Cornfield said. “It’s kind of sad to see but at the same time, we’ve turned to a new page and that’s really good to see.”
The current council made the decision in 2015 to move the city’s economic development function into City Hall operations. Rivercorp was widely criticized by the public for a lack of visible results during its last few years and a review of economic development was ordered by council shortly after it took office in December of 2014.
Freeman Mary Ashley took over the reins of Rivercorp as trustee while the transition took place.
Mayor Andy Adams said the city’s economic development services are now under the guidance of City Manager Deborah Sargent, with Economic Development Officer Rose Klukas reporting directly to Sargent.
Adams noted that Klukas’ office is next to his and to Sargent’s in City Hall.
“This helps with a lot of synergies that go on and opportunities for investors to come in and meet and greet and make those connections,” Adams said.
“We’ve set a new path and a new direction and I think it has been a very positive experience to date.”
Coun. Colleen Evans said she was happy to see council arrive at this point.
“This has been a key council priority. To get to the point today that we are almost there feels really good,” Evans said. “For me and many other council members this feels like a milestone that we are sitting here today, wrapping up a model that we’ve moved forward from.”
That model also includes a new tourism strategy which is in its beginning stages.
The city hired Destination Think earlier this year to revamp the system and create a new marketing strategy for the City of Campbell River.