Council keen to shell out $90 million for economic investment
Calgary Economic Development's Mary Moran gave councillors more reasons to invest in the city's efforts to right the downturn on Tuesday
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Calgary's economic recovery efforts are a step closer to reeling in the big fish that will turn the city's meek downtown back into a bustling core.
On Tuesday, councillors were keen to support adding another $90 million to the Economic Development Investment Fund (EDIF) fund in order to help fund and invigorate economic recovery. The Priorities and Finance committee passed a motion and final say will fall to a future city council meeting.
Over the summer councillors voted in favour of the $10 million fund. The cash was put in place to help drive economic recovery, but now as the election and budgeting process comes to a close they're asking for $90 million more to re-invigorate Calgary's economy.
Mary Moran CEO and president of Calgary Economic Development is already hitting the ground running and getting the word out, especially to giants like Amazon.
"This downturn has hit us in different ways than we ever expected, so we're going to have to do something different," said Moran. "We're going to have to invest in opportunities ... we know we're going to have to do something different."
She said it may take three years to exhaust the cash council is considering adding to the fund. And if more money is required, the group would come back to council with a better idea of what the return on investment was.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said to fund the EDIF the city would go into various reserve funds including capital and economic resiliency funds to make up the cash.
"I'm really interested," said Nenshi. "When we are out there trying to sell to someone, sometimes there's a small thing that can be fixed with a small amount of money to grab someone."
He said the cash would allow the experts to go in and make surgical and thoughtful changes that would bag Calgary a company good for continuing to diversify the economy and bolster the downtown core.