How do you solve a problem like Rivercorp?

It’s hard to see much appetite for feeding the city’s municipal development corporation many more tax dollars

So, Rivercorp and CEO Vic Goodman have agreed to go in different directions, as the banalities of corporate speak were put into play last week.

Except they’re not going in different directions, in my mind. They’re both going out the door. Vic is just going first.

It’s hard to see much appetite for feeding the city’s municipal development corporation many more tax dollars. It took a rough ride in last month’s municipal election campaign. Former mayor Walter Jakeway was never a fan of Rivercorp and newly-elected mayor Andy Adams sure didn’t sound like a Rivercorp booster in his inaugural address last week.

“Economic development will need to be more focused, results oriented, and accountable,” Adams said. “I look forward to sitting down with the Rivercorp board and collectively set a new direction.”

So, what do we want Rivercorp to do? Create new business and jobs, right? Attract more investment to Campbell River.  So, how do you do that? Hand out information. Network. Produce fancy brochures and dynamic websites. Well, Rivercorp has done all that. But, so far, nobody is happy with the results.

It will be really interesting to see if dumping their CEO and then conducting an internal review can change anything about this organization.

It may be saddled with an impossible task. As much as voters clamor for the city to do something about economic development, it’s really not in the city’s hands. The market will determine if businesses locate here. The LNG plant proposal for Campbell River’s Elk Falls mill site came about because of the cheap industrial site and a speculative climate for LNG development in the province brought about by…the provincial government.

In an article on Forbes’ website, a writer identified six ways for the American government to create economic growth: encourage innovative entrepreneurship, reform immigration, end the costly war on drugs, require the unemployed to volunteer, cut health costs and remove unnecessary and unclear laws. And that’s it. For the whole United States! It’s all pretty nebulous stuff

In light of that, what’s Rivercorp going to do? I’m thinking the only real things it can do is give tax breaks to compete with other cities but I suspect they probably constitute unfair trade practices.

The only hope in the Forbes article is to encourage innovation. It’s hardly an economic development plan but it might lead to something. Down the road. Later on. Somewhere. Sometime.

The only real income generating idea I’ve heard in a while is Coun. Charlie Cornfield’s community forest proposal. The city can generate business for itself by farming and harvesting trees. It’s good for the city and the taxpayers’ bottom line. It will generate more money than Rivercorp ever did.

But it doesn’t create other businesses.