Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Prince Rupert's Economic Officer to shift to new challenges in private sector

The changing of the guard continues for the City of Prince Rupert, with word that Derek Baker, the City's Economic Development Officer will be leaving his post at the end of the month.

Mr. Baker who is departing to take up duties with Pacific Northwest LNG in November, has been at the forefront of the City's economic development planning since his arrival three years ago.

A position which surely provided him with no shortage of challenges, considering the financial state of the City over the last few years and the slim nature of allocation of funding towards the goals of economic development.

Beyond the financial constraints of a limited budget, Economic Development in the city seems to a confounding issue for City Council, as a review of many of their council sessions over the last year would highlight.

At many meetings council members frequently spend large amounts of time discussing and debating the merits of many of the proposed projects for the region, sometimes in a cooperative manner, at other times in a bit more of an adversarial role.

A mixed message, that perhaps isn't one that is easily delivered for an Economic Development office.

Word of his career change, now makes for four high profile departures from City related employment this past year, a year of change which began with the departure of City Manager Gord Howie, followed by CFO Dan Rodin  and Robert Grodecki the corporate administrator.

As we outlined last week, the City slowly, but surely has replaced all of the departing members of the upper Administration and now along with their partners in Port Edward, the search will begin for a new Economic Development Officer.

With a number of large industrial projects seemingly on the way for the region, having someone in place at Economic Development should be a key priority for the region, though the issue of providing funding for such an office will most likely remain a challenge for the City in the scope of their current financial situation.

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