Town releases update on economic development strategy

April 22, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Orangeville is among the Ontario municipalities that create plans to create local economic development.

The Town’s first Economic Development Strategy was developed in 2007 with the goal of creating a strategic direction for economic development and sustainability of our community. The Strategy provides measurable actions that create direction and key priorities for the municipality to boost business, support arts and culture, and promote tourism.

Council received a report last week outlining Strategy actions completed to date and priority goals for 2015.

Recommendations in the Town’s Economic Development Strategy have been implemented with a focus on four priority goals:

• o improve levels of investment readiness

• o achieve economic sustainability through effective retention and expansion opportunities

• o pursue partnerships and outreach opportunities and

• o build on key clusters in the local and regional economy.

More than 30 short- and long-term strategic actions to achieve the goals were identified and each action identified roles for implementation from the Town, local and provincial economic development organizations and the local business community. The Strategy is also supported by other complementary documents that have been created to support the Town’s long-term economic prosperity.

Business development, retention and expansion initiatives, programs and activities will continue to be important economic development functions. As well, a number of priority initiatives for implementation emerged from the review that will help guide the economic growth of the community.

Specific objectives for 2015 include:

Business Retention 

and Expansion Program 

The Business Retention and Expansion Program is an economic development tool developed by the Province of Ontario for use by municipalities and is a structured, community-based approach to business and economic development.

The program promotes job growth, business retention, and expansion through interaction with business owners/leaders to identify the issues and priorities of the existing business base.

The program involves the completion of confidential business interviews along with data analysis and action planning to address issues and opportunities to support existing community-based businesses. Funding will be sought from the Rural Economic Development Program to support delivery of the initiative.

Way-finding Installations

Installation of way-finding signage was a significant recommendation of the Town’s Tourism Development and Marketing Plan as well as the 2014 Municipal Cultural Plan.

A partnership between the Town, Central Counties Tourism Association, the Orange-ville BIA, and Theatre Orangeville could result in priority sign installations in 2015. If Central Counties Tourism provides full funding approval, as requested, an investment of $25,000 from the Town will leverage an additional $36,000 towards the project.

Sports Tourism Policy and Brochure

In 2014, Council directed staff to consult with community sport organizations and prepare a Sports Tourism policy to help guide the municipality’s involvement in sport bid and hosting opportunities in future.

A tourism-based brochure, “10 Things To Do In Orangeville,” was created to support tourism by visiting teams, families and tournament attendees.

The brochure will be updated within the next three months for continued distribution.

Community and Sector Profiles

In-house updates will be completed to both the online and print versions of the community profile and sector specific profiles used to promote the Town to site selectors and potential business investors. These economic development tools provide a broad range of information and data about the community’s business environment, competitive advantages, transportation networks, labour force, etc. and will be used until the next Census data is completed (2016) and results available. Sector profiles will be updated to feature local business examples of excellence in the target sectors of Advanced Manufacturing, Business and Professional Services, and Creative Industries.

Credit Valley Explorer

As directed by the Orangeville Railway Development Corporation Board of Directors, staff will engage in activities to enhance this important tourism driver for the community, with a comprehensive review of operations for potential efficiencies and improvements to be completed.

 SBEC Office

A customer satisfaction survey will be completed in 2015 with the goal of evaluating customer service, establishing priority programming requirements, identifying potential workshop themes and emerging community trends and needs, and evaluating access to and location of the office.

Tourism Development 

and Marketing Strategy Update

A status update of the Tourism Development and Marketing Strategy will be completed to evaluate progress made with implementation of the plan and to identify future priority items.

Trade Show Participation

As recommended by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Business Development representatives, staff will attend select food and beverage shows in the GTA area to network with participating food processors and to raise awareness of Orangeville as a place to do business.

Staff will also continue to sponsor and exhibit at the annual Society of Industrial and Office Realtor Fall seminar in an effort to build community awareness and establish linkages to business-related site selectors and realtors. Staff will investigate participation by the Town in the 2016 Lions Home and Garden Show to promote services at the local level.

Arts and Culture

Staff will work with members of the Arts & Culture Committee to establish objectives for implementation and work with relevant Town departments and organizations to continue fulfilling the Arts and Culture directives. Specific initiatives include a Film Policy to introduce film permitting processes and to market Orangeville as a film location. A Display of Art Policy to provide guidelines for the exhibition of art in Town-owned buildings will also be undertaken.

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