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CAEP membership benefits Didsbury, council told

In fall of 2021, Town of Didsbury council decided to reinstate the Central Alberta Economic Partnership membership for one trial year

DIDSBURY - Town council has approved the renewal of the municipality's membership in the Central Alberta Economic Partnership (CAEP) business promotion organization. 

The move came by way of motion at the recent regularly scheduled Town of Didsbury council meeting.

“It is really benefiting the town’s economic development officer (EDO) so that is why I voted in favour,” said mayor Rhonda Hunter. “Council doesn’t really have much of a voice in that organization so if our EDO does then we will support that.”

The decision to renew the membership came after council received a report from the town’s EDO.

“In fall 2021 council decided to reinstate the membership for one trial year with CAEP. Membership benefits are to be monitored but the EDO followed by a report in 2022 for council to make an informed decision on continuing or ceasing the membership according to the results of the report and recommendations,” said Ethan Gorner, the town's chief administrative officer.

In preparing the report, the EDO participated in many CAEP initiatives, and later identified a number of benefits of membership, including the following (from the report):

• The web presence by linking the town website to the central Alberta websites provides the town with extra exposure to investors to fill our commercial and industrial vacancies.

• Investors like to locate in jurisdictions where the community plays regionally and showcases collaboration. As a member Didsbury will continue to receive investment inquires as CAEP receives them directly from the provincial government.

• CAEP’s regional economic growth strategy, which is not a strategy about CAEP as an organization, but the central region as a whole. Didsbury has the opportunity to partake as a member providing input on regional projects and working collaboratively within the region, including implementing this strategy.

• As a member Didsbury will have the opportunity to participate in international trade missions at a reduced rate for travel. Those trade missions are geared towards business and investment attraction, workforce attraction or attracting specific industry sectors that are needed and a good fit, potentially value added in central Alberta.

Council passed a motion to renew the town’s CAEP membership for one year, with the EDO instructed to prepare and present an annual report to monitor the return on membership investment.

During the Oct. 11 council meeting, CAEP executive director Kimberley Worthington made a PowerPoint presentation about the organization’s structure and some of its activities, including advocacy on behalf of the membership.

CAEP has an annual budget of $500,000, she said.

Council passed a motion accepting Worthington’s presentation as information.

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