Economic committee to be replaced
SAEDAC too big, role uncertain, city decides
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013 06:00 am
A city committee that, for more than a dozen years provided city council with advice on economic development, will be disbanded.
Described as too large and unwieldy, with an uncertain role given the city’s renewed focus on economic development, the St. Albert Economic Development Advisory Board – affectionately known in city parlance as SAEDAC (say-dak) – will be replaced.
“I think it’s due time for a change,” said Coun. Cathy Heron. “I think we were losing members under the old structure and I see this as positive.”
Prior to last year’s establishment of the city’s own Economic Development Division, SAEDAC’s chief role was to advise council on economic matters. But late last year Guy Boston, the executive director for economic development, put forward a plan to review SAEDAC’s role, something council approved.
A task force that included SAEDAC member and former Chamber of Commerce chair Charlene Zoltenko and Coun. Roger Lemieux looked at the committee’s function and found that, with 23 members it was simply too large. It was also a bit listless now that the city had taken direct ownership of economic development.
“It wasn’t efficient and wasn’t getting done what it was supposed to get done,” Zoltenko said.
In its place, the city will form a replacement economic development advisory board that will, instead of advising council, advise administration – specifically Boston and his staff. It will have between eight and 13 members-at-large.
“At this point in time more advice is not necessarily what we need,” said city manager Patrick Draper. “We’re moving in a phase of concrete action and the advisory board will help … actually start implementing some of that by making connections, arrangements and proposals with developers and business and really implement the agenda we’ve set as opposed to working in an advisory capacity.”
Council was unanimously supportive of the change. It had passed some smaller motions at the end of the year calling for an end to SAEDAC appointments and not to renew any expiring terms for committee members.
“This needs to be a working arm for (Boston) and they can, in fact, together work on our behalf to make this whole division a lot better than it has been in the past,” said Coun. Roger Lemieux.
The new board will begin meeting later this spring, once SAEDAC has officially be wound down.