The city of Port Moody will spend up to $120,000 to create an economic development office and hire someone to run it.
And the chair of the city’s economic development committee says it’s about time.
Coun. Diana Dilworth said discussions about just such a position date back to 2016 but economic development has been a pillar of Port Moody’s strategic plan since 2012. She said the city’s anticipated growth will present new economic opportunities that could benefit from the guiding hand of someone to identity those opportunities and build relationships with the business community.
“The city has always been more reactive than proactive,” Dilworth said. “Now we’ve made taking care of business a priority.”
Dilworth said as more people move into Port Moody, the imperative to create jobs for them so they can work in the same community will increase. She said the city’s relative lack of large chain stores and big companies creates a unique business environment.
“I think Port Moody has been getting a reputation for having some really niche commercial opportunities,” Dilworth said. “It would be fascinating to see more of those small businesses here.”
Dilworth said she expects the economic development officer, once hired, will look at ways to help local business co-ordinate amongst themselves as well as pursue opportunities from outside the city. She said the officer may also be able to light a fire under recommendations for the city’s long-term tourism plan that have never been implemented.
“We can have that person jump in and see how special Port Moody is,” Dilworth said.
A timeline for filling the position hasn’t yet been set. Dilworth said it will depend on completing the job description and the city’s human resources department executing the hiring process.
“Hopefully, that will happen sooner rather than later,” Dilworth said.
SOCIAL PLANNER ALSO BEING HIRED
The city will also be hiring a temporary full-time social planner to work on affordable housing initiatives.
The new social planner will review and make recommendations on city documents and policies to strengthen its initiatives to achieve affordable housing, work with other levels of government and service providers like BC Housing to provide social and non-market housing in Port Moody, and act as a resource for various local agencies and organizations looking to develop social services and housing.
The two-year position will be funded from the city’s affordable housing reserve.