Niverville Council Hires Economic Development Adviser

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Gordon Daman Red River Group

On August 15, Niverville’s town council passed a resolution to hire Gordon Daman of Red River Group to provide professional services to the town as Economic Development Adviser. Daman has been hired on a retainer basis at the rate of $150 per hour and is anticipated to provide ten to 15 hours per month of consulting services.

Mayor Myron Dyck chose to remove himself from the vote in order to alleviate any concerns about conflict of interest. Aside from Dyck’s responsibilities as town mayor, he and Daman are also colleagues at Red River Group.

“At the [2014] election, we all ran on a platform of economic development and sustainability,” says councillor Chris Wiebe. “For the last three years we have struggled with how to accomplish our goals. There are so many different opportunities to explore that we did not have the confidence that hiring one single economic employee could handle the complexity of the job.”

Wiebe says that different professionals bring different abilities to the table. Daman will work closely with Eric King, the town’s financial administrator, who has also recently been assigned economic development responsibilities for the town. Together, council believes they have a winning team. 

“Gord is a unique individual that has worked brilliantly on understanding how governments and industry operate,” adds Wiebe. “Gord’s ability and passion for our community gives the town the opportunity to use his experience for our benefit without hiring a full-time staff member.”

Other town positions are also hired on a retainer basis, such as the town’s legal counsel, who is not on full-time payroll but doesn’t have to be rehired for each and every legal matter the town faces.

Presently, Daman will assist primarily in government relations on projects such as the multiplex and the diagnostic centre. 

“It was Daman’s qualifications that made it possible for the Town of Niverville to announce the opening of the MRI [centre],” Wiebe says. “We used his experience to negotiate the school and multiplex campus concept with the province and school board.”

“While I will be assisting on the multiplex and other economic development initiatives as a consultant,” says Daman, “I want to make clear that I will not be assisting on any town matters in relation to Niverville Heritage Holdings Inc. That would place me in a conflict as I am on the NHHI board. I have one term left with the NHHI board and, once off the board, if I am still in a contracted position with the town I could then assist at that point.”

While Daman’s credentials speak for themselves, he has also had great success when it comes to sustainable community economic development. For years, Daman has provided similar services to other towns, municipalities, and not-for-profit organizations in areas of residential development, business park consulting, seniors housing consulting, land purchase negotiation, intergovernmental project negotiation, sustainability planning, and businesses cases.

Personal care home beds were recently announced for Carman, after Daman was hired as a consultant by that community and the RM of Dufferin. This past summer, Daman attended a conference in Whistler, British Columbia, addressing municipal officials there regarding aging-in-place models such as Niverville’s. Immediately afterward, Daman was sought out by these officials, requesting that he move to B.C. to help them with their own administrative processes in creating seniors housing in their communities.

“With my previous municipal experience as well as experience on the Manitoba Municipal Board, I provide a broad understanding of the challenges municipalities face in complex and changing environments,” says Daman. “This is supported by my background in real property environments. Having also spent time as a previous Niverville Chamber of Commerce coordinator, I have a good understanding of local business aspirations. Finally, my academic training and professional memberships support the work I do.”

Though Daman has been contracted by the town for a nominal number of hours per month, Daman says he is open to assisting beyond this time limit on a pro bono basis where he can be helpful.

“Societies have always had a natural distrust for home-grown talent,” says Wiebe. “In this case, we are extremely fortunate to be able to hire someone of this calibre locally.”

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