At their meeting next Monday, Sackville councillors will be asked to award a $15,000 contract to consultants to come up with a business development strategy for the town.
Town staff have chosen Lions Gate Consulting Inc. of Vancouver and its partner 4L Strategies of Milford, Nova Scotia to draft such a strategy at a total cost of $17,250 when HST is included.
Jamie Burke, senior manager of corporate projects, told council at its meeting last night that the town received three responses to its request for proposals for the business development project.
He said the Fredericton office of Pivot Consulting Inc. and Common Good Solutions of Halifax also submitted proposals, but scored significantly lower on the town’s ratings scale which includes financial considerations, previous experience and expertise as well as the general approach to the project.
Burke pointed out that the five-year Strategic Plan council narrowly approved last year calls for the town to adopt a business development strategy aimed at diversifying its economic base so that it is not too dependent on a few large employers. (To view more details, click here.)
When Councillor Andrew Black asked why a business development strategy could not be drafted by town staff instead of hiring outside consultants, Burke replied that staff are too busy on a day-to-day basis to lead such a project, at least not for the remainder of this year and the early part of 2019.
“Time is really the issue,” he said. “Sometimes to get things done, we need to exercise consultants that can help and assist.”
Burke added that senior managers would oversee the project and help the consultants throughout the process.
Mayor Higham pointed to recent successes such as the reopening of the former Moloney plant on Bridge Street and the construction of Terra Beata cranberry freezer storage facilities in the industrial park.
“At some point, we have to figure out what’s next and what’s next may not be another industrial park,” Higham added.
“There’s a lot of pretty big questions that we need to get some handle on in order to know what’s best for the community,” he said, adding that drafting a business development strategy is a first step.
“It’s a long-term decision at some point here as to how you want to see the community develop,” the mayor concluded.