Trivial expense

Cost of transporting borrowed backdrop should be paid by District of Sooke

The council decision to permit the use of the Olympic Ozone display backdrop in a private venue continues to generate value to the community and put Sooke on the provincial radar.

Silver Streak Boats in Sooke has been selected among eight from nearly 400,000 small businesses in B.C. to be profiled in the 2012 BC Small Business Profile report jointly published by the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Innovation and Western Economic Diversification Canada. Silver Streak currently employs 21 people.

However, with my recent expense submission to the EDC I expect some in the community will raise questions in relation to the expense.

First of all, the trivial $2,242 expenditure was already approved by the District.

To the extent that CAO Mr. Parliament could legally bind the District to a commitment by virtue of the bylaw delegating that authority to him, I don’t believe it’s actually up to council at this point. What is required of council is a policy that will allow District resources to be leveraged by any private enterprise to assist with economic development, which after all, is what public investments in community resources of this type are intended for.

My approach to the EDC was in anticipation that the payment would have to come from a budget, and the most appropriate budget would be that of the EDC, which has delegated authority over its own disbursements. To the extent that council has decided anything on the matter, it is the delegation of authority to both Mr. Parliament and the EDC generally, and the specific decision to allow the public display to be utilized in a private venue. The rest is logistics, and it would be unreasonable for the District to repudiate a decision made by a properly delegated authority, micro-manage the EDC, or expect a private enterprise to assume significant costs related to the public portion of a joint effort.

As to the optics of the matter, every taxpayer benefits, the province stepped up to assist, and I fail to see the harm or the objection. Private enterprise contributed an idea to leverage the investment made by the district in the Olympics. That idea, which is private intellectual property, now combined with existing public investment and drawing in provincial resources, is a capital asset that is worth much more than the sum of its parts, and is freely available to anyone that wishes to capitalize on it to the benefit of all.

This initiative can stand as a model of exactly how well public and private investment can work together to benefit the entire community.

The province first profiled the Silver Streak/Sooke initiative in an article on the BC Jobs website, a copy of which can be viewed here: http://www.silverstreakboats.com/pdfs/2012Feb_BCJobsPlanBackdropsBoats.jpg

Terrance Martin

Project Manager

Silver Streak Boats Ltd.

Sooke