A great turnout marked the March 4 reception held by the rejuvenated Kentville Development Corporation Ltd. at the Designer Café. - Submitted
On March 4, the Kentville Development Corporation Ltd. (KDCL) unveilled its new strategic direction for the next three to five years.
The Designer Café was the backdrop the KDCL reception where president Cate Savage and members of the board of directors introduced the organization’s goals for business development in the town.
KDCL’s vision of building a “vibrant business and service sector in our growing and prosperous community” will be supported through five areas of focus, Savage said. They include business development, people and community, infrastructure and investment, marketing and communication and advocacy.
“We are extremely proud of this plan and pleased with the support of the local business community and the town of Kentville, both of who will be critical partners in meeting the goals,” Savage said.
“There is much work to do, and it won’t happen overnight, but the timing of this focus and the commitment to get things done is exactly what Ray Ivany’s ‘Now or Never’ report has challenged us to do. Together, with our stakeholders and partners, we can help business in Kentville, and the community as a whole, prosper and grow.”
Both the KDCL and Mayor Dave Corkum acknowledged the work of previous board members and recognized that each piece of the journey has played a role in where the organization is today.
Joining Savage on the current KDCL board are Leigh Morrison, vice president; Geoff Muttart, secretary; David Fagan, treasurer; Jason Blanchard; Sue Hayes; Frances Schaagen; Wes Rand; Betty Ann Balcolm; Gary Morse; and Lindsay Young.
KDCL is in the final stages of hiring a full-time chief operating officer.
“Having a dedicated person to move this plan along successfully will be critical. We are very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead,” Savage said. “Working with other organizations, such as the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce and the REN, will make our ability to succeed even stronger.”
The town is keen to boost the rebirth of the development corporation, but might not kick in as much money as the new group would like. Instead of $150,000 for this fiscal year, the town is considering contributing $125,000.
The group’s mandate would include business retention, expansion and recruitment, advocacy and special projects aimed at promoting ‘growth and prosperity within Kentville and the business community,’ a town staff report states.
A request was made last month for $150,000 in funding for the group - $130,000 in annual funding gathered through a flat area rate and $20,000 in a grant to cover start up costs.
Work to restart the defunct development corporation has been underway since 2011. Founded in the early 1980s, the organization petered out around 2003 after the business improvement district taxes were phased out.