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City advances Community Development Platform

August 02, 2017

At its July 31, 2017 meeting, City Council authorized staff to begin negotiating terms of a new agreement with the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC) and the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) based on a revised funding level of $1,204,166 for SSMEDC and $277,890 for SSMIC. Staff is recommending the amount of funding dedicated towards economic development initiatives remains unchanged and will be presenting a plan for the reallocation of funding in August 2017. The plan will include the implementation of recommendations from the Community Adjustment Committee (CAC) and items related to the City's community priorities as identified in the 2016-2020 Corporate Strategic Plan.

"At the center of the Strategic Plan lies our commitment to community development and partnerships," says Tom Vair, Deputy CAO, Community Development and Enterprise Services. "The reallocation of this funding, allows us to foster an environment where economic development funds are maximized so that existing and new business can flourish and other community development priorities can move forward."

Board members from both SSMEDC and SSMIC worked collaboratively to investigate options to optimize the performance of economic development activities and to maximize return on investment from economic development funding provided by the City of Sault Ste. Marie. In addition, staff reviewed the work undertaken by MDB Insight, an economic development consultancy firm selected through the City's procurement process, the Economic Development Steering Committee and its Working Group as well as the recommendations of the CAC.

"The goal of this initiative was to work towards what's best for the community and advance economic development," states Vair. "From the beginning, open discussions between all stakeholders involved have ensured informed decision making and the careful consideration of all options. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with SSMEDC and SSMIC to advance Sault Ste. Marie."

Both SSMIC and SSMEDC will continue to explore opportunities to reduce duplication and examine ways to undertake shared administration. The revised agreement will identify roles, accountabilities and intended outcomes and also address the City's role in the governance of each organization.
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