Deakin lobbies city for more staff

Economic development office ‘stretched thin’ with requests from all directions, manager says.

Port Alberni economic development manager Pat Deakin is one step closer to upping his workforce.

The city’s economic development office currently consists of one-and-a-half people: Deakin and his half-time assistant Stephanie Stephens.

While Deakin said it hadn’t been decided whether or not he would receive another half-time position or upgrade the current one to full time, council gave him and director of corporate services Theresa Kingston $50,000 for the new proposed half-time position.

(The city has yet to adopt its financial plan or finalize the budget.)

Much of that, Kingston said, will go towards benefits received by full-time employees that the half-time position does not get.

For Deakin, whose workload has been likened to that of “a performer spinning pie plates, trying to keep them all up in the air,” the half-time position help will make a huge difference in what his department is able to do.

“It would allow us an ability to go out after people operating in a particular sector.”

Currently, Deakin said, his office is so swamped that they’re often left letting people come to them.

Deakin gave the example of an individual working in the high-tech sector for whom their place of residence didn’t matter.

“What we could do faster, more completely and better would be find all of the associations, companies, websites, Facebook pages or magazines that these folks subscribe to and issue indications to them to come check the community out.”

That’s something Mayor Mike Ruttan and council would like to see happen.

“We believe there is a lot of work for actually helping new companies work through the process of getting themselves set up,” Ruttan said, adding that “it’s difficult when there’s just one-and-a-half people to make that occur.”

If given the extra help, Deakin said he would see the much-bemoaned lack of brochures on the ferry dealt with.

He’d also be able to tackle the lack of external marketing, something Ruttan is keen to see happen.

“As a city council we believe that marketing Port Alberni is a huge need but it’s not one that we’re able to address given the personnel,” Ruttan said.

“Having the additional half-time person would allow us to focus on that outreach work,” instead of being swamped with ad requests for various publications.

“You’ll bail on meetings, priorities, phone calls you should be making to get it done,” Deakin said, adding that their in-house expertise ends up stretched thin.

It’s a city hall wide problem, Deakin said, that stretches across departments.

“I’m grateful to get the opportunity.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

twitter.com/AlberniNews

Just Posted

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

BCHL: Bulldogs announce the departure of head coach Matt Hughes

Hughes led the Alberni Valley Bulldogs for two seasons

Man charged after knife waved at 7-Eleven store clerk

Port Alberni’s Jared Dallen Stein charged after consecutive robberies

New scholarship at Pacific Coast University boosts disability retraining

BY MIKE YOUDS SPECIAL TO THE NEWS A new scholarship provides a… Continue reading

Applications open for bursary, scholarship funding at North Island College

Current and future North Island College students are eligible to apply

Port Alberni Fire Department engages Indigenous youth in fire awareness

Workshop took place as part of Gathering Our Voices event in Port Alberni

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

Short list for new gnome home includes Parksville, Coombs

Five potential locations have been chosen by Howard’s owners who will decide Tuesday

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

Most Read