Economic development, Kicking Horse Culture among Habart’s concerns

CSRD Area A Director Garry Habart has plenty on his plate, including economic development services and Kicking Horse Culture.

There is no solution yet on how to deliver economic development services to Kicking Horse Country, but Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area A Director Garry Habart assures his constituents that the issue has not been forgotten about.

“I didn’t feel comfortable with (the proposal on economic development from the Town of Golden)…but we’re working on it,” said Habart. “It’s not being ignored.”

Although he couldn’t go into too much detail, because he doesn’t want to get ahead of himself, Habart says he has had meetings and discussions with interested individuals and groups about proposed ideas for the future of economic development in the community.

“Going forward what I’d like to see, rather than having $400,000 going into a big pot and telling someone to go do something with it, I’d rather start small with something that will have a measurable result. But I’m open to all suggestions right now,” said Habart.

Kicking Horse Culture, which was previously funded through the now disbanded Golden Area Initiatives, has also been a concern of many Golden and Area A residents as of late.

“We’ve got Kicking Horse Culture funded for the year, so we’re OK there for now,” said Habart, who admittedly likes to take his time making decisions.

He would like to see a solution found, but given that funding is secured for this year through the Economic Opportunities Fund, and the fact that KHC has money is reserves, he doesn’t believe it is an urgent issue.

At the time of publication Habart said he had not had an official meeting with the Town on the subject, although one is scheduled for this week with Mayor Christina Benty.

In the past Golden and the CSRD split the bill for both economic development and KHC. At a recent council meeting, Town Council voted to continue funding KHC  through taxation as they had previously done if the CSRD would also continue to do so. The cost is a total of $120,000, $60,000 each for the  Town of Golden and the CSRD.

There are several other important community projects (such as the early learning and care hub), and Habart says doesn’t want to see another burden on taxpayers at the moment.