MAPLETON – Council here hesitated at creating a partnership with the local chamber of commerce.
Mapleton economic development and marketing coordinator Aly Cripps made a presentation to council on Oct. 27 asking for a more formal partnership between the township and the Mapleton Chamber of Commerce in the form of memorandum of understanding (MOU).
“They are very important to our businesses and we want to make sure that the municipality and chamber are working together to help our businesses,” Cripps said.
She suggested giving the chamber $2,000 from the economic development budget and have a council member sit on the board of directors so there is municipal representation at the decision-making table when using the funds.
The chamber would need to present a plan to council for how it plans to use any financial contributions from the municipality, Cripps explained.
“I think if they’re getting money from the township it’s important that the township is represented there on the board,” said councillor Marlene Ottens. “To me I think that’s an important position that the township should hold.”
However, not all councillors were in favour of the proposed agreement.
Councillor Michael Martin said he’s in favour of the proposal, just in the future.
“I think at the moment it’s important that the chamber of commerce runs independently and gets their feet underneath them,” he said.
“I’m just concerned that if we form this formal MOU right now that the township is going to end up supporting the chamber even more than we already do with resources.”
Councillor Dennis Craven agreed the chamber should run independently.
“When the original chamber of commerce started they ran it independently without any township help and I think that I kind of agree with Mike that they should run independently for a while,” Craven said.
“Why wouldn’t we have a look back again in the spring and see what’s happened?”
CAO Manny Baron said he anticipates the chamber will be asking for funds in the future. And having council representation on the board is in anticipation of that event.
“We want to make sure that with a council representative we’re privy to that information, we’re privy to the activities to their plan, their long-term plans,” Baron said.
“So that when they do ask for money we are comfortable and we know there are going to be returns to that money.”
Councillor Paul Douglas asked if the chamber was on board for the memorandum of understanding.
“The chamber board has reviewed this,” Cripps said. “It’s coming to council first for your approval … and then it will be brought back to them.
“But they have reviewed it.”
Cripps said the idea came from the municipality’s partnership with Minto.
“That was one of their big things that they wanted, their community likes the partnership between their chamber and their township,” she said.
Council decided Douglas would be the representative on the Mapleton Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors.
But before council could vote on the resolution, Martin made a motion to defer the resolution.
“I’m not interested in saying no,” Martin said. “I just think we need to defer it.”
The deferral passed with only Ottens in opposition.
The MOU was also on the agenda for council’s Nov. 10 meeting, the results of which were not known by press time.