Thompson city council approved a contract for economic development services with former economic development officer Keisha Davis at their Oct. 5 meeting.
The intent of the contract, which can be terminated by either party with 30 days’ notice, is to bridge the economic development gap caused by Davis’s resignation until a new employee can be hired in Thompson. The city’s director of development services position is also currently vacant.
City manager Anthony McInnis said during the earlier portion of the COVID-19 pandemic, when City Hall was closed, Davis found she could do most of her work remotely.
Deputy mayor Les Ellsworth said it’s important not to let projects Davis had been working on fall by the wayside until she can be replaced.
“If you look through the deliverables these are real things that we’re working on today and if they don’t get addressed from the city perspective we could lose a lot of ground and a lot of good work that’s already done,” he said.
Coun. Duncan Wong, one of two councillors present to vote against awarding the contract, along with Coun. Jeff Fountain, asked McInnis for some examples of what Davis is working on.
“[Davis] developed our fire-paramedic training program and has brought that to about 99 per cent deliverable though we have to work through some hiccups with UCN on that,” said McInnis. “Keisha’s also been working closely with a number of the businesses in town to try … to bring foreign workers for skilled trades. She’s also re-formed the Thompson Unlimited or the City of Thompson’s community development corporation. That is up and running with an interim board and she has all the plans in place to put a more permanent board in place there. She’s also been key in the electric vehicle winter weather testing, providing support to the community committee but also spearheading our grant activities at the City of Thompson to get charging stations in the city. She’s also taken the lead on developing the land north of the river and getting all those processes through. We’re very close now. She’s working with some surveyors to get the land subdivided so that it can go for sale, so that people can start developing lots north of the river into next year.”
The financial terms of the contact with Davis were not disclosed at the meeting.