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March 9th, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 10
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New Economic Development website
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
True to it’s name, the Economic Development Committee (EDC) is developing a new municipal website to promote tourism and business in the Pass.

EDC Chairperson Melanie Beals says the site is meant to offer a more polished view of the Pass than the regular municipal website, which features information of little interest to outsiders.

“At one point the Crowsnest Pass municipal website was not doing a good job communicating with tourists,” says Beals. “The EDC made recommendations to improve the municipal site and to launch this new site.”

“People coming here to visit don’t need to know we’re doing on certain days,” she says. “We don’t want people who don’t live here having to go through all that municipal stuff. A separate site should be there to bring in business and promote tourism.”

The municipality sent out a Request For Proposals to build the site and received six responses, none of them from locals.

On March 1, council approved the $20,000 website, which will be built by a Calgary based web developer but an administrative oversight means the site’s given the EDC a cash flow problem.
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The EDC had taken steps to pay for the website using its 2015 budget but instead council approved for the money to come out of the $67,000 allotted to the committee in 2016. This could throw a wrench in the committee’s plans for this year.

Beals says the committee was working on certain projects last year but they were taking longer than expected to complete. She contacted the municipality and asked if funds from the EDC’s 2015 budget could be carried over into the 2016 budget.

“I was told I needed a motion on the floor with a second approval with the board recommending the board be used for that specific project,” says Beals.

Beals says the committee did all that at a Dec. 14 meeting to carry over $20,000 for the website and $9,000 for new banners.
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“I thought that was what we had to do to secure the funds for 2016,” she says.

But the funds weren’t carried over and were instead taken out of the committee’s 2016 budget. It turns out the Municipal Government Act does not allow committees to carry over budgetary funds.

During the public input period, Beals and EDC member Oliver Strickland informed council of their concerns.

“We’ve had our meetings, we followed the rules and we understood that the money was coming out of our 2015 budget,” said Strickland to council. “After tonight’s decision, our budget has been greatly affected.”

“I think what we needed was a little more communication,” said Mayor Blair Painter.

Councillor Dean Ward pointed out that the municipal budget won’t be finalized until April and that there was still time to give additional funds to the EDC.

“There’s always a solution to every problem,” he said. “This process is far from over.”
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