Election 2014: Ron McRae responds to economic development plan

City of Kimberley: Ron McRae is not impressed by candidate Don McCormick’s Economic Development Strategy, announced last week.

Mayor Ron McRae is not impressed by candidate Don McCormick’s Economic Development Strategy, announced last week.

“It is interesting to watch Councillor McCormick pretend to get excited about something that already exists,” McRae said. “Perhaps it’s why many call this the silly season.

“With regards to Councillor McCormick’s economic development strategy for Kimberley, it… well it simply isn’t. Despite boasting that he would release an Economic Development Strategy for months, he hasn’t. A strategy is a plan. It consists of actions with specific goals and deliverables. Instead it would be better to call Councillor McCormick’s issuance “Some ideas Don would like to see discussed.”

McRae says the discussion points are not new.

“They’re the same points the City has been planning and acting on for the last three years. Councillor McCormick states he would like to use the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan as a place to begin the discussions. Sadly, although he is the Chair of the Planning and Development Committee, he appears unaware that the City has been using the ICSP as the foundation and lens for discussion and decision making since it was developed.

“Councillor McCormick says he wants to talk about initiatives involving tourism, the SunMine, clean-tech, government services, value-added wood products, remote workers, post-secondary education, amenity migrants, import replacements and an eating disorder clinic.

“I believe listening and discussing these points are vitally important. But so is action. That is why in the last three years the City has: increased tourism; started the SunMine project; worked to strengthen relations with government and other sectors; welcomed an increase in amenity migrants and remote workers; seen a growth in our international student numbers; and witnessed a consistent increase in new and growing families choosing Kimberley and building our community.

“We’ve done it all better than ever before, presenting our community in a manner that is relevant, contemporary and professional. We’ve also intensively engaged Kimberley through the much needed communication and branding development process, which established a stronger foundation for developing our community. Now we share our community with professionalism, authenticity and confidence, instead of desperately trying to sell it. And we’ve accomplished all that without fracturing our community spirit and sense of place. That’s an extraordinary success.

“Councillor McCormick has been part of City Council for the last three years, so it’s disappointing he appears to be just awakening to these opportunities and actions. Perhaps he has forgotten he voted for their advancement? It is nice to hear that Councillor McCormick has warmed up to the glaringly obvious need to continue to attract new business and development that are a good fit for the community. Rather than running off on his own to advance building prisons, he’s now willing to consider projects that may continue to make Kimberley strong and proud. I’m immensely proud of the work our City has done to build the future. I’m confident we’ll continue to build on the solid foundation we’ve created together.

“I believe that Economic Development is actually Community Development. It is not simply selling out a community to the lowest bidder. It is determining how to best share it with each other and the rest of the world, that’s how smart Return On Investment is achieved. I’ll continue to commit to strong planning and process, not desperate petitioning and disjointed political posturing. I’ll continue to develop and deliver a diverse future, not hasty short-term sales discussions disguised as a strategy. I’m committed to ensuring we remain solidly good and not shakily great.

“I’ve been privileged to have had the honour to work together with this community to shape its future. With your continued confidence, we’ll keep working together.”