New Brunswick

Enterprise Saint John funding battle brewing

A battle seems to be brewing over the future of Enterprise Saint John, with one city councillor serving notice that he'd like the city to create its own economic development department.

A battle seems to be brewing over the future of Enterprise Saint John, with one city councillor serving notice that he'd like the city to create its own economic development department.

"I certainly have concerns about re-investing in Enterprise," Coun. Peter McGuire said Wednesday, adding he believes the city is not getting results for its money.

On Monday he told Tony Goguen, chairman of Enterprise Saint John, that it is unlikely he will support a city contribution to the agency.

"I do think it is time that we look at some different models that we control ourselves in-house," he said.

Enterprise Saint John is an arms-length economic development agency. The city contributes over $400,000 —the largest chunk of its $2 million budget. Four suburban communities kick in much smaller amounts.

Other funding is leveraged from ACOA and the province, based on those contributions. But the organization relies on the Saint John contribution.

Coun. Donnie Snook is concerned that Enterprise Saint John is mandated to also promote outlying communities.

"You know, if I go to the Hamilton Economic Development website, for instance, it really does promote living in Hamilton," he said.

A report submitted to council this week by Enterprise Saint John found that only half of the people who work in the city also live there.

But Goguen warned that when municipalities take over their own economic development, it often costs far more money than the Enterprise model.

The issue could reach the breaking point this fall when the city begins debating its budget for 2011.

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