Deakin ties population to city’s future economy

Get to 20,000 people by 2026—that’s the goal City of Port Alberni economic development manager Pat Deakin set for himself.

Get to 20,000 people by 2026—that’s the goal City of Port Alberni economic development manager Pat Deakin set for himself during his department’s budget presentation last Wednesday.

“I chose 20,000 for the goal because that was the high point in the city’s population back in 1971,” said Deakin. According to the 2011 census, Port Alberni’s population is at 17,743 people—a decrease of 12 per cent from 1971.

Deakin said that  many elements have to be in place for the city to achieve that goal—not all of them that the city can control but all of them that impact the city’s success.

“Everything is one and all are interconnected. Social issues and our response or lack of response to them, the look of the community, the attitude about local government and small business, the way we talk about it, the online banter, our industries or lack of them, the weather… all of these impact our ability to attract good media, businesses, investment, new residents, new visitors and more,” he said.

Deakin would like to see a task force to focus on some of those issues, including Port Alberni’s health, safety and the city’s high crime, illiteracy and poverty rates.

The way residents see and talk about the city has an impact, Deakin added.

“I think we could take a promotion to a whole new level if we were indeed proud of Port Alberni.”

Millennials, as a bigger generation than even the baby boomers, remain a top target demographic for the city, he said.

According to Deakin,  specific assignments for 2016 include the regional airport, an alternate route out of the Valley, the district energy system, graffiti removal, the acquisition of waterfront lands, rebranding, the Clutesi Haven RFP, a charette to visualize possible streetscape improvements to the Johnston Road corridor, the SPROUT program introduced to council by Uptown merchant Kevin Wright, the clarification of external marketing roles and business attracting and retention.

Deakin is asking for $26,200 for business development and $326,009 for economic development.

“In respect to business development, that account is used to bring new revenue sources into being,” said Deakin, adding that the line item was originally added to fund the startup of the community forest and is now funding the district energy project.

In 2015, Deakin was given $45,000 for business development. As the district energy project was not fully realized, only $34,557 was spent.

Of the $309,700 Deakin was given for economic development in 2015, only $275,747 was spent due to a delay in upgrading his assistant to full time.

Of the money he is asking for in 2016, 56 per cent is for salary for his two-person department and 34 per cent for marketing,

He has added another 7 percent for consulting and 3 per cent for miscellaneous expenses.

“What I’m proposing for this year is a decrease in the business development account and an increase in the marketing and advertising portion of the economic development account,” said Deakin.

That would show a decrease of 0.75 per cent in the tax requisition for those functions. Deakin’s budget from 2017 to 2020 amounts to an approximately one per cent increase in tax requisitions for business and economic development.

“The consulting portion would amount to $25,000 and be used for assisting in, for example, the next component of a high value biomass cluster or a global centre of excellence in forest firefighting,” said Deakin.

“I am also suggesting that some consulting be used to explore the opportunities afforded by a municipal bond.”

Municipal bonds are used by municipalities to fund capital expenditures.

“They are mostly issued by bigger cities but I do think it’s something we could look into and pursue.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelly McGiffin, left, Dwayne Stern, batboy Jackson McGiffin and Kirk McGiffin are reviving the Port Alberni Cubs—this time as an over-55 baseball team. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni’s McGiffin brothers revive Cubs baseball at 55-plus

The boys of summer are 55-plus now, but back on the baseball field

The intersection at 10th Avenue and Dunbar Street. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Safety improvements planned for Port Alberni intersection

10th Avenue and Dunbar Street is an “intersection of concern” based on incident data

Members of Huu-ay-aht First Nations conducted two checkpoints on Monday, May 10, asking people who enter the territory to respect the sacred principles and to act accordingly while on Huu-ay-aht land. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Huu-ay-aht First Nations set up checkpoints in territory

Access restrictions come after forestry incidents

Bulldogs forward Brandon Buhr is knocked off the puck by Grizzlies defenceman Lindsay Reid. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs beaten back-to-back by Victoria Grizzlies

Victoria Grizzlies named Island Champions while Bulldogs take second place

In 1903, if you were looking north down First Avenue with Alberni in the distance, this is what you would have seen. Scattered houses along River Road are visible, as is the corner of Watson Block building in the lower lefthand corner of the photograph. This photo is part of the 24,000 online collection of the Alberni Valley Museum. View this one and more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN02975 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Historic street scenes of Port Alberni

Take a peek back in time with the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promotes the government’s BuyBC food program in 2019. (B.C. government)
Money running out for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in B.C. schools

‘Looking at ways to support this type of program,’ minister says

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Experts now predict 33.6% rise in B.C. home sales for 2021

BCREA economists also predict home prices to increase by 14.3%

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read