County Council hears update on economic development plan

October 26, 2018   ·   0 Comments


Dufferin County’s politicians got an update last Thursday on the county’s economic development plan and activities, providing them with a better understanding of where the county is at, and where it’s going economically.

Given by Karisa Downey, the county’s economic development officer, the presentation dealt with accomplishments Dufferin has achieved, as well as ongoing projects.

Ms. Downey said she is proud of having formed an economic development committee, with representatives from Orangeville and Shelburne. “Currently, we’re working together to sort through our strategic plans, see where some of those programs may align, and see what we might be able to work together on going forward.”

She told council and staff they are looking to work with the other lower-tier municipal  economic development committees.

Ms. Downey described her attendance at the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO), which she said was a great networking opportunity for consultants and other economic developers.

“We also attended some really great sessions learning about different programs that are happening throughout Ontario that are setting the stage,” in the hopes of duplicating them in the future for the county.

She explained how she she’s worked with groups to advocate on natural gas and internet access, as they need to prepare for when funding is available, and “create a viable argument” on why Dufferin residents should get more natural gas.

Ms. Downey went on to discuss some projects in the works, including the issue of how the development process in Dufferin can be a bit complicated for business owners looking to expand or start up.

“Our plan is to work with the planners at the municipal level and find out what their local process is, work with the building department at the county level, and then work together to determine how can we consolidate this process to make it more effective, and appealing for businesses.”

She talked about her recent meet with the Dufferin Federation of Agriculture (DFA) to solve problems in the farming industry, such as the disposal of agricultural plastics. “We’ve been working with our Dufferin County waste services to try and see if we can come up with some solutions.”

Several councillors thanked Ms. Downey for the presentation and update, particularly Melancthon Mayor Darren White, who said he is “like a kid on Christmas morning, watching this (plan) start to unroll.”

He said it’s great the municipalities are starting to work together and “find some common ground and make an impact,” with the economic development plan being a step in the right direction.

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