In an effort to nudge the 13 remaining partners in the Capital Region Board (CRB) together, the province has given a $300,000 grant to create a single economic development entity.
Economic Development and Trade minister Deron Bilous made the announcement Thursday at the CRB’s monthly meeting.
“We really need to have our municipalities collaborate if we want to compete on the world stage,” he told reporters. “In the capital region it has been mandatory for a number of years and we’ve seen some real progress that they’ve made.”
Bilous did convert his message to include the new name for the board. The shift to the new branding began Dec. 8 when 11 partners dropped out.
READ MORE: Capital Regional Board loses 11 members
“This gives the Edmonton Metropolitan Board some new funding to be able to look at how they can come together and whether they should have one economic development arm representing the whole metro region,” Bilous said. “As opposed to having, say if there are 13 members, 13 municipalities, it doesn’t make sense to have 13 individual economic development arms.”
Board chair, Nolan Crouse, the mayor of St. Albert, said economic development is something the mayors and reeves have been considering adding to their mandate for about three years.
Reg Milley, the onetime CEO of the Airports Authority in Edmonton, will chair the initial project as it’s being put together. The hope is to have the new economic development entity in place by the end of this year.
Metro Edmonton is considered a priority Bilous said because 30 per cent of the province’s GDP comes from this region, which is the second fastest growing region in the country.