City of Lacombe councillors approved the reallocation of Echo Energy funds to a newly named association this past Monday.
Echo Energy is the City’s energy boutique that works off a simple concept — power is offered to local homes and businesses and the generated profits are funneled into a fund that it to be used to fund community projects within Lacombe.
Modeled after Mountainview Power, an energy retailer created by the Olds Institute as a community sustainability initiative, Echo Energy was established in Lacombe in November 2013.
The City itself does not generate power, but acts merely as an energy retailer, competing with other big name energy retailers, officials said. Up until this point, the Echo Energy funds have been collecting in an account, set aside for community-minded projects.
Guy Lapointe, City of Lacombe community economic development manager, told council the group formerly named the Community Economic Development Organization (CEDO) has now renamed itself to Echo Lacombe Association.
“The group has been meeting regularly and has decided to name itself Echo Lacombe Association to take advantage of brand awareness already generated by Echo Energy and the Echo Lacombe Fund,” he said. “The group has also successfully recruited a total of eight members from a wide range of backgrounds within the community.”
The group has achieved not-for-profit status and has also solidified a terms of reference and objectives. Its initial priorities include growing and adjudicating the Downtown Storefront Enhancement program (DSEP).
“To assist in further development of this program, the group will provide $4,000 from their existing funding to bring the total DSEP budget to $10,000,” said Lapointe. The group also wishes to promote the Echo Energy initiative.
“The group also sees merit in gaining access to these proceeds to support their project goals in much the same way the Olds Institute does,” explained Lapointe. “Rather than finding another project, the Echo Lacombe Association believes they can maximize the potential of Echo Energy by bringing greater awareness to this opportunity.”
In 2015 the Echo Energy proceeds totalled $11,250 and $1,900 in 2014. The funds have yet to be distributed to any projects or programs in the community. A minimum of 10% of the proceeds would remain in the Echo Lacombe fund.
”This is an opportunity for them to get some necessary dollars to really energize that group and take some necessary first steps,” said Lapointe.
Councillor Wayne Rempel, who sits on the board for this group, made the motion to reallocate the Echo funds.
“Once we get the funds for this group, we can really start moving on doing some great things in the community,” he said.
The group will commit to supporting other initiatives in the community like arts and culture or fitness.
“One thing the group wants to do is stimulate economic development, but do it through these other sources as well. The money would be used in a wide variety of different objectives” said Rempel.
Council accepted the CEDO report as information and moved to reallocate the Echo Energy funds to the Echo Lacombe Association.