Town Council approves economic development strategy update

April 3, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

Orangeville council has unanimously approved an updated report on the town’s economic development strategy by Dufferin County’s consulting firm, showing the town’s economical strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Council heard the report by John Tennant, president of Global Investment Attraction Group, at its March 19  meeting. The report provided a list of proposed goals, objectives, and actions to take on the town’s growth, specifically expanding its workforce, tourism, entrepreneurship, and economic development, while at the same time retaining its small town appeal.

Mr. Tennant explained to council and staff that some of the factors looked at were the town’s readiness and competitiveness for expansion and new investments.

“We then engaged the public and economic development stakeholders to get real world import, front line perspectives, experiences, views, insights from a variety of people and partners.”

He described Orangeville as a regional economic hub. “The economic development vision speaks to areas of importance that will strengthen Orangeville’s economic, cultural, environmental, and community well being.”

However, Mr. Tennant pointed out that Orangeville faces some challenges in its investment and expansion.

One of those challenges was that the town has “virtually no serviced industrial land on the market,” and needs to examine opportunities to provide that land of varying sizes. Even though there is land designated for employment purposes, he said, “There are no evident plans that will service this land and bring it to market.”

Another challenge Mr. Tennant discussed was ensuring affordable, reliable, high-speed fibre optic broadband throughout the community, a problem that has plagued Dufferin County for some time. “Today, broadband is the infrastructure that is as important as growth, electricity, water, and sewage.”

He ended his report by advising council that economic development is not just about growth. “Focus is vital, but please be ambitious.”

After hearing the report, Councillor Nick Garisto thanked Mr. Tennant for the report, and said council needs to promote the town abroad, relating to how he settled in Orangeville after someone told him about the town. “Wherever you go, promote Orangeville… Do it in every which way possible,” Coun. Garisto said. “It works.”

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