By Barb McKay
Kincardine will hedge a bet that investing $25,000 in partnership with the county on a rural economic development grant application will reap a big return.
Community services co-ordinator Steve Murray requested that the municipality give pre-budget approval to apply for two grants that could leverage additional funds for Kincardine. During the Oct. 16 council meeting,
“We will certainly receive five times the amount of money we are putting out,” he said.
In his report to council,
The second grant application is for a Brand-focused Business Recruitment and Enhancement Plan. The only other municipality partnering on the application is Wiarton. The grant would help the municipality to conduct a study to determine how to recruit specific businesses, how to compete with larger markets, address seasonality and how to develop a plan to market to entrepreneurs looking to set up shop in rural
Deputy mayor Anne Eadie said she supported the endeavour, noting that the government looks more favourably at grant applications where municipalities are working together. Downtown development manager Rick Clarke agreed.
“Anytime we can leverage our limited municipal pockets with bigger pockets, like the county’s, it’s a good reason to look at it,” he said.
Councillor Candy Hewitt expressed skepticism over the need for another study.
“I have some concerns with a giant report that tells us stuff that we’ve already been working on,” she said.
Councillor Ron Coristine said the grants would allow Kincardine to take the work it has already done on branding and business retention to the next level.
Mayor Larry Kraemer said it might be more beneficial to apply the money directly to a project.
“Would we be better to use the $25,000 this way or through a community initiative directly where the results might be a little more tangible?” he inquired.
Councillor Ken Craig said he would be willing to support the use of funds for the grant applications, but the money should come from the tourism budget.
Council agreed to give pre-budget approval for the request.