Investor Attraction Program progressing

County of Paintearth has been in creating mode recently as they have been working on an investor attraction program.

A request for proposal form has been generated to find desirable candidates who are interested in agricultural industrial development.

This project is the implementation phase which follows from research and market testing completed by the county in partnership with the Battle River Alliance for Economic Development (BRAED) from 2017 to 2019.

This body of work will form the basis for a targeted investment attraction process specific to Paintearth County.

It is anticipated that the project activities will be in-depth conversations with a shortlist of qualified investors with interests that complement those of Paintearth.

The target is to increase the County’s economic diversification, particularly in value-added agriculture.

The project is set to launch Jan. 6, 2020.

“It’s a pretty good set up so far,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michael Simpson.

A timeline has been created to keep the focus on track.

For the first couple of months, the county will get familiar with the program and work on other details.

This will include firming timelines, consultant schedules, refining scope of work and clarifying expectations.

It is also anticipated that the consultant will visit Paintearth County and meet with stakeholders who will be integral to the success of the project.

It is anticipated that the final foundational research and test marketing pieces being completed by BRAED will be available for review by January 31, 2019.

From February to March, they will be taking the results of the value-added agriculture industry development work completed by BRAED on behalf of the entire region.

The consultant will then recommend the priority opportunities which are to be presented to investors.

This recommendation should be in the form of a briefing to Council with a well-developed rationale which responds to the County’s strategic goals.

The actual execution of this plan will begin in March and end in November.

Ongoing reports will be given on the success of the program throughout.

Town request

A letter from the town of Castor was reviewed during the regular council meeting.

At the town’s meeting on Sept. 9, they received a letter from BREOC (Battle River Economic Opportunities Committee) asking for assistance with funding non-eligible expenses like legal fees.

The funding would be used as a cushion for these types of expenses.

Castor asked Paintearth County to possibly explore the Paintearth Economic Partnership Society (PEPS) for funding as this group services the region with a focus on enhancing economic development.

Council recommended they talk with PEPS about them considering adding these expenses into their yearly budget.

The county is a managing partner.

“If PEPS is to contemplate seriously, they will need a number,” said CAO Simpson.

“I think they said $20,000,” said BREOC chair and councillor George Glazier.

This $20,000 would be split between the seven municipalities and PEPS.

The counties are expected to contribute 35 per cent while the towns supply 10 per cent.

“It was brought up as a discussion point at the last BREOC meeting and everyone was going to take it back to discuss and see how they wanted to fund it,” said Glazier.

Villages are not included as they do not contribute.

Council made a motion to table the information as they wait to get concrete numbers.

Public hearings

The county hosted three individual public hearings for the Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) between the County of Paintearth and Special Areas No.2 and No.4, Flagstaff County and Stettler County. The hearings were uneventful.

The county is now preparing the next steps towards passing them.

Parkland Regional Library budget

The 2020 Proposed Budget for Parkland Regional Library was brought to council’s attention.

Council approved the budget although none of the local libraries in the area are apart of this particular region.

Parkland asked all of their respective council members in the system for their support as roughly 75 per cent of the votes allow the budget to pass.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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