Meeting with consultant met with criticism

The Headland Cultivation Company has legal rights to 29.7 acres of land in the northwest corner of the Richmond Light Industrial Park in Lennox Passage

ARICHAT: The deputy warden does not see the need for an upcoming meeting with a consultant hired to help the municipality sell lots in its industrial parks.

During the regular monthly meeting of Richmond Municipal Council on February 25 in Arichat, Richmond Deputy Warden Brian Marchand criticized a decision by the municipality to hire a consultant to meet with staff and show them how to market the Light Industrial Park in Lennox Passage and the Heavy Industrial Park in Point Tupper.

“We make our public jump over hoops for money and here we are spending money to get someone to come down, is this to help us sell land, or teach us how to do it, or how to market industrial parks?” Marchand asked. “I don’t see an advantage to taxpayers.”

Chief Administrative Officer Kent MacIntyre responded that because the municipality is focusing on economic development and revenue generation, there is a need to grow their parks. He told council the consultant is a general manager at two industrial parks in Moncton who entices new tenants to their parks, to the tune of 40 acres annually.

“We want to bring him in to talk about best practices; what are they doing to recruit tenants; where are they going to find them, are they going to trade shows, seminars or conferences; where are they going to chase down potential tenants; and essentially tell us about the shortfalls and the pitfalls so we can avoid any of them going forward,” MacIntyre told council. “We don’t want to spend money trying to grow our industrial parks if we’re going in the wrong direction.”

The CAO told council that he spoke on the phone with the consultant two weeks ago, and he recommend Richmond County attend an upcoming Canadian site selector event where big players field pitches about where to locate operations.

MacIntyre said the consultant will meet with staff, then council, for only $500. He said it is important they receive expert advice because the municipality is limited in this field.

“I can tell you gentlemen, that’s the best deal going,” the CAO noted. “Because quite frankly, we don’t have the internal expertise on where to go. I don’t know where to chase down these potential tenants. I don’t think anybody does in our organization. So we need to bring someone in to tell us.”

Marchand responded that if the consultant already provided good advice over the phone, then the municipality already got what they needed from him without having to pay him or meet with him for hours.

“We’ve spent millions on industrial parks, and we have potentially sold some land and have a potential client coming in the park and we did nothing,” Marchand said of The Headland Cultivation Inc. which is expected to soon set up in Lennox Passage.

“I think we can do some marketing a lot cheaper than spending this $500 and the remaining thousands that are going with the event, and pictures, and everything else.”