The District of Sechelt has officially entered into a partnership with Sechelt Innovations Ltd. (SIL) the business development group aimed at creating more business opportunities in Sechelt.
Sechelt council gave staff direction to seal the deal during an Oct. 23 committee of the whole meeting.
In addition to the partnership council moved to contribute $300,000 to SIL in exchange for 300,000 shares in the company. The money was already earmarked for the initiative and calculated in the District’s five-year financial plan.
SIL had been waiting on approval from the Inspector of Municipalities to officially launch and Sechelt Mayor John Henderson said that approval was given on Oct. 23.
During the committee meeting everyone except for councillors Alice Lutes and Mike Shanks were in favour of partnering with SIL.
“I have continually been against this process of this company being set up so therefore I have to vote against the motion,” Lutes said. “I think the money could have been spent more effectively for economic development in a different way.”
Coun. Chris Moore was wholeheartedly in favour of the move.
“This is for me probably the most solid step that this District has taken towards fulfilling our mandate of balancing the scales of residential/industrial tax inequalities of the District of Sechelt,” Moore said. “We are extremely fortunate to convene a board with a huge scope and level of experience in generating business. If we can’t do it with this group, we can’t do it.”
The SIL group has already lost a key member, Coast Reporter learned this week.
SIL’s director of business development Kirk Exner has quit. He was to head up SIL with manager of business development Dave Jephcott.
“Mr. Exner joined us to help us get started and after getting involved and doing a lot of great work for the last several weeks has decided it’s not quite the right fit for him so we’re parting as friends and we carry on,” Henderson said.
He noted council won’t decide whether to re-staff Exner’s position, which paid $60,000 a year.
“As we evolve into having the board in charge it will be up to them to decide. The board will take over essentially in the next few days officially and it will be up to them to decide the best way to staff the operation within their budget,” Henderson said.
The District of Sechelt plans to officially launch SIL with a party on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Seaside Centre. Find out more and pre-register for the free event at www.sechelt.ca.