It has taken many years for communities to recognize the negative effects of rural depopulation on small towns. Towns can see the effects in their downtown, schools, and recreation facilities. There are no easy solutions or quick fixes that will turn a communities fortunes around overnight. The hiring of an Economic Development Officer and the formation of an Economic Development committee are important first steps which must be funded adequately.
During my tenure on the council, I had the opportunity to engage with a community marketing specialist, attended economic development conferences, and took an online course in economic development. I learned a lot about community economic development. In order to achieve its objectives, adequate funding is one of the most crucial requirements for an Economic Development Committee to operate effectively.
The funding should come from a range of sources, such as local municipalities, provincial/federal grants, and fundraisers. Municipalities must ensure that funding is not disproportionately allocated to fundraising and that Economic Development Committees do not become mired in long-term debt. If this occurs, an Economic Development Committee will spend more time fundraising than achieving its objectives.
The funding of economic development is an investment in a municipality's future economy. To be successful, an economic development committee's funding requirements must be planned and balanced. Like any other investment, municipalities will only receive the returns on their economic development initiatives that they invest.