Editorial: Explaining the change to the EDC

Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne explains rationale for change to commission

This council is committed to seniors, youth and families at risk.

Our focus has and will continue to be the well being of the community as a whole.  I believe economic development is about ensuring the economy of the district grows and that in doing so, the well being of everyone must be considered.

As Mayor, I am recommending to council that the Economic Development Commission, as we know it is, abolished and we move to an arm’s length advisory process to better achieve these goals.

Economic development and community well being will only come if we create the opportunity for people with expertise in their various areas of interest, to get together in an environment with the sole mandate of coming up with ideas, A s a result my recommendation to council will be to dissolve the Economic Development Commission and create the following three Advisory Panels to the Mayor;

1. The Advisory Panel to the Mayor on Economic Development to be chaired by Dr. Steve Grundy, Vice President Royal Roads University,

2. The Advisory Panel to the Mayor on Arts and Beautification to be chaired by Brenda Parkinson, former councillor and;

3. The Advisory Panel to the Mayor on Community Health and Social Initiatives to be chaired by Nicky Logins, Executive Director of the Sooke Family Resources Society.

The District will advertise the meetings for each of these groups. The meetings will be open to any members of the public who wish to attend.  Funds will be budgeted annually in the district budget in amounts similar to what was budgeted for economic development in the past, but will include economic, arts/beautification and community health/social initiatives.  As the panels come up with ideas staff will be assigned to assist in bringing the ideas to council to consider what assistance and/or funding should be approved. The panels need to be able to come up with ideas that will move the community forward without being encumbered by bureaucratic processes.  The chairs of each of these panels will have direct access to the mayor and the council with their ideas.

I invite all members of the community to become involved in a panel or panels bringing with you ideas that will further the well being of the community.  We need everyone to take a turn rowing this boat we call Sooke.

Mayor Wendal Milne