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COMMENTARY · 1st April 2010
Walter McFarlane

… And the barber winds up with more economic developers on his doorstep the next morning expecting free haircuts. Oh, sorry, didn’t see you come in.

The topic of organizations that are working to produce economic development, particularly in the Sacred Circle is a joke with an unfunny punch line. Let’s take a head count. Who all is doing economic development in Kitimat? Raise your hands now. Don’t be shy; I can see you in back…

To name a few… there is the District of Kitimat, the City of Terrace, the Regional District, the Chamber of Commerce in Kitimat, TEDA, KTIDS, SNCIRE, The Kitimat Retire Kitimat Group, any tourism committees and on a technicality, the Kitimat Daily, Terrace Daily, the Northern Sentinel and Terrace Standard.

Isn’t there an old saying about too many cooks spoiling the soup? Even Rick Brouwer, in his presentation to Council admitted there were too many of these groups in the region.

However, there were oddities in this presentation. Brouwer expressed his group was thinking outside the box. Not just labelling the region by what it was called on the map, but by doing the steps that would come logically in industrial development.

One thing SNCIRE does have over the other groups is they are based around the Sacred Circle and their board of directors covers several communities in this region… but not all of them. They do plan on increasing the number of board members. However, this does not help growth in Kitimat. During the budget process, Dianne Hewlette of Investor Services in Kitimat commented about having to respond immediately to any inquiries for port development as she has to beat Prince Rupert to the punch.

Another problem is, if the economic development groups were to form a musical band, each group would bring the same instrument… same style of instrument to the Orchestra and play the same tune.

Councillor Richard McLaren wanted to know what the difference between SNCIRE and KTIDS was. The response: SNCIRE covers a larger area than KTIDS. He also expressed they are trying to bring all the groups doing economic development together… which is what KTIDS have been trying to do in Kitimat.

However, perhaps the most credible thing he said was that the people of the region are a resource which is being over looked... and something else he said holds some weight as well… But something needs to be saved for the conclusion.