Council throws support behind PAREDA

Prince Albert Regional Economic Development Alliance (PAREDA) CEO Ashley Charles speaks during a meet and greet at City Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

PAREDA, a multi-origanizational group created to promote economic development in Prince Albert and area, has at least one member in full support of its continued existence.

Prince Albert city council has opted renew a three year agreement for the organization to continue.

Council heard that the first three years were foundational for the organization and the next three are expected to be buiding years.

“That’s when we’ll really see PAREDA get off the ground and some real tangible results,” said Craig Guidinger, Director of Planning and Development Services, in a presentation Oct. 25 at the executive committee meeting.

The organization has a number of projects planned and has applied for a CAN Export federal grant worth $15,000 that would help them focus their efforts where they will do the most good.

“What types of investment do we want in our community,” explained Guidinger. “Where should the dollar be spent and what type of added value will we have with that type of investment in our community?”

PAREDA was created in March of 2019 with a three year Memorandum Of Understanding  between the City of Prince Albert, RMs of Prince Albert and Buckland, the Peter Ballantyne Development Corp., Muskoday First Nation and the Town of Shellbrook.

“It was create with the end goal of providing a more regional approach when it comes to economic development,” said Guidinger.

He told council that PAREDA has also applied for a tourism relief grant with a cap amount of $500,000 that could fund programs like renovations to the tourism centre, more promotional videos, developing some apps or creating an aboriginal interactive learning centre.

This is a project that the city council would have to give direct approval of as they hire PAREDA in a separate contract to run their tourism services.

Another large project is the development of a strategic plan using a hired consultant.

“She’ll be looking at job creation, work force development, what types of sectors should we be prepared for when it comes to economic development,” Guidinger explained. “Out of that process, we as a city, we as a region, will really be pointed in the right direction of  where we can focus our efforts.”

Other highlights are the development of a welcome package for new families considering a move to the area and a separate for businesses along with the creation of a new website, which will be finished in the next month or so.

Council voted to renew the contract with the only dissenting vote belonging to Coun. Ted Zurakowski.