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

Just Posted

Vancouver Island pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Port Alberni cyclist collides with passing car

Cyclist received minor injuries

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations receive grants to bring ancestors’ remains home

Grants are part of the Royal B.C. Museum’s new repatriation program

Get ready for a week of sunshine across Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is forecasting temperatures in the high teens all this week

North Island Tour De Rock rider Benjamin Leah leads team to Port Hardy

“You don’t have issues and problems when you look at these kids and how much they’re going through.”

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Vancouver Island designated as foreign trade zone

Designation simplifies importing and exporting and provides duty relief

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

North Island Midget Eagles bit by Alberni Valley Bulldogs, hammer Nanaimo Clippers

It was a bit of an up and down rollercoaster ride of a weekend for the North Island Midget Eagles.

Most Read