Rivercorp’s budget wishlist goes unfulfilled

Campbell River's economic development organization got its allotment at the city financial planning meeting

  • Mar. 15, 2012 9:00 a.m.

Rivercorp’s 2012 budget is going to be substantially less than it was asking for.

Council allocated funds for the city’s economic development organization at its financial planning meeting Tuesday night in a package that included a number of economic bodies.

The groups, including Rivercorp, Tourism, Creative Industries and INFilm received a combined $582,500 for 2012.

Rivercorp will get the largest chunk of the funding, receiving $235,000.

Vic Goodman, Rivercorp CEO, was asking for $784,625.

That figure was a $292,625 increase over the 2011 budget and included two new salary positions.

Rivercorp hoped to add an economic development officer (with a salary of $53,663 per year) to introduce a full-scale business and retention program as well as an economic development research analyst, with a $41,111 annual salary, to assemble information and materials as well as identify and target specific businesses suited to Campbell River.

Goodman presented the Rivercorp budget to council Feb. 14 and at the time said those two positions would be key to Rivercorp’s success.

“The city has never had a fully-staffed development office and the 2012 Rivercorp budget was designed to fill these gaps,” Goodman said. “When you look at the city’s overall budget it amounts to two per cent of the city’s overall budget for economic development, Tourism Campbell River and the Visitor’s Centre to go out and promote the city and grow it. When you look at it from that perspective I think it’s a reasonable investment.”

However, Goodman acknowledged at a city committee meeting Feb. 28 that the two positions could be cut out of the budget.

On Tuesday, council chose to go with the smaller investment, but at the same time pledge its support of Rivercorp.

“They have a strong CEO leading them now and a strong board,” Coun. Ron Kerr said.

Mayor Walter Jakeway agreed Rivercorp seems to be on the up swing but warned he will be keeping the organization under close watch.

“I have no troubles with Rivercorp but I think I’ll give it one more year,” Jakeway said. “It needs to fly in 2012 or it’ll be under a really critical review.”

Coun. Mary Storry did not support the Rivercorp budget allocated by council.

“Until we can fund their operations appropriately I think that we’re setting them up for another failure and that’s not fair,” Storry said.

Last year, Rivercorp came under fire from a couple of councillors, who aired concerns that the city was not seeing results from Rivercorp. Since then, Rivercorp has welcomed a new CEO in Goodman.

Despite that, Coun. Larry Samson said he still has some concerns.

“I think it’s time we go another route,” Samson said. “Businesses will come to town when it makes business sense to them and I don’t think Rivercorp will have a say in if an entity comes to town.”

Break down of council economic funding:

  • Tourism – $150,000
  • Visitor Information Centre – $74,000
  • Creative Industries – $15,000
  • Future Forestry Task Force – $50,500
  • Cruise ship terminal – $8,000
  • INFilm – $50,000