By Greg Price
Questions still remain of what the exact role is of the Joint Economic Development Committee (JEDC).
The JEDC is comprised of council members from the Town of Taber, M.D. of Taber, Town of Vauxhall and Village of Barnwell.
The last meeting of the JEDC did not have enough for a quorum according to M.D. of Taber Reeve Brian Brewin, but a lot of good discussion ensued of where the organization should be headed in the future.
“We went around the table and let everyone express their concerns and we’ve heard everything from dissolving the committee to relook at the terms of reference. At the end of the day, Community Futures is going to bring back a terms of reference recognizing some of these concerns,” said Brewin at M.D. council’s Aug. 8 meeting. “The biggest thing I think is they got too involved with things it wasn’t initially intended for like letter writing. Some of the smaller communities have said it’s their only economic development. They don’t have funds for an economic development officer. It’s their only economic development so there is some interest there in it continuing, but I do believe it has to be re-defined.”
Bruce Warkentin, a business advisor with MNP was at the meeting, noting the JEDC started off as a bunch of people getting together, eating pizza and talking about what was going on in their community.
“All the sudden it was this community should be added and that community should be added and it turned into a giant where it was a lot bigger than what it started out as,” said Brewin.
In a letter from the M.D. addressed to Matt Williams, chairman of the Joint Economic Development Committee, notable successes from the JEDC were highlighted including: regional tourism visioning, business impact brunches, tourism and investment attraction readiness project, community investment readiness toolkit, updating of community profiles, and support of projects such as the Molnar pumpkin festival and the pheasant festival.
“Again, it is more to share information, it wasn’t to set policy,” said Brewin.