CORNER BROOK — While some municipalities on the west coast agree the Humber Economic Development Board (HEDB) does good work, they differ on how they could help the organization survive.
HEDB works with funding partners, stakeholders and communities in Economic Zone 8 on initiatives that are directed towards sustainable development.
In May, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the organization's federal funding partner, announced it will cut its core funding to all regional economic development boards (REDBs) in this province by May 21, 2013.
Last week the provincial government, through the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development, announced it was cutting its funding to HEDB as of July 16.
Despite the funding cuts the board is committed to continuing, and in Saturday's Western Star chairperson Glenda Garnier said the organization has three weeks to submit a transitional plan to ACOA.
As part of that plan, Garnier said HEDB may look to the 26 municipalities it serves for funding or in-kind contributions.
Mayor Neville Greeley said it's possible the City of Corner Brook could help HEDB, but reserved comment on how until he learned more.
"If HEDB is looking for funding from Corner Brook they're going to have to submit a proposal as to what it is they're proposing to do for us, and council would make a decision at that time as to whether or not they want to fund it," Greeley said.
Greeley said the city has its own Business Development Centre and any work proposed by HEDB would not be able to conflict with the work of the centre.
Pasadena Mayor Gary Bishop said the town would be open to helping out anything that was going to improve the community. Having worked with HEDB, he said it's "something we would certainly look at very favourably, I think."
The town and HEDB are currently involved on a plan for the development of some beach-front property.
Bishop said HEDB has expertise when it comes to advising the town on what funding could be available out there and the time, resources and tools necessary to conduct research. But in terms of the type of support the town could offer HEDB, Bishop said it all comes down to funding.
"I'd say from the kind of past deals ... we'd be more of in-kind service than actually subsidies going into them," said Bishop. "Not saying we wouldn't do it. It all depends on the project that we're doing and it all depends on how it could be beneficial to the region."
In Jackson's Arm, Mayor Claude Jones said his town wouldn't be able to provide any financial help to HEDB.
"We could never help them, we're only surviving ourselves," said Jones.
The town's shrimp plant has shut down and Jones said the fish plant is its only "lifesaver right now."
Howley Mayor Calvin Samms said his town would be quite willing to offer up a letter of support for HEDB, but in regard to helping the group financially, he said it would be difficult.
"Our dollars are very scarce," said Samms. "They're fairly important, yes, but when it comes to 'you've got to support them,' with so many cuts these days you just can't support everything."
Samms said any request from HEDB would have to go before the entire town council.