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County and municipal economic development in partnership

January 16, 2017
www.saugeentimes.com

Town Council

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Representatives of Bruce County presented the County's 2017 Economic Development Plan to Saugeen Shores Council on January 9th.

The plan was presented by Kara VanMyall, Vicki Ly and Manpreet Kaur Sangha of Bruce County who laid out the various stages, challenges and steps moving forward with economic development.

According to the Plan, there are challenges for both the County and the municipality.  County Challenges include: competitiveness, collaboration, brand awareness and economic conditions.

"To be successful," said Manpreet Sangha, "there needs to be collaboration between the County, municipalities, local business leaders and entrepreneurs.  Both public and private sectors are needed to ensure success.  The role of the County is to oversee the entire strategy."

When it comes to the municipality,  their part in the overall plan is to "ensure that community is ready for business, sell the community brand promise, manage recruitment tools and support local leaders".

When it comes to long-term goals, the County wants to see a growth in the tax and population base, a diversification of the economic base and retention and expansion of business.

As seen by the County, there are two areas of development - Business and Sector.  Within each, there are areas of focus that include marketing, support, outreach, edcuation, tourism attraction, agriculture and the nuclear industry.  Explore the Bruce and Spruce the Bruce remain two of the programs that have been successfully in place for a number of years.

"Economic Development is a lengthy process," said Vicky Ly, "that requires planning, building and sustaining that may take upwards of 10 years.  In 2017, we are are beginning with four steps that include re-organizing the County department, revamping and expanding grants beyond the Spruce the Brucegrants, develop a regional working group and streamlining communications.  The Regional Working Group will launch in April and will  include one staff member and one local 'champion' who will share communication between the municipality and the province .

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"Given the boom in tourism and the nuclear 'wave' that is beginning," said Councilor Dave Myette, "I think the timing for this economic development strategy is perfect.  I hope that we can dovetail with this on our own municipal Economic Development Committee.  I see a lot of synergies here."

Each municipality will receive a 'report card' from the County and each will be filled out to set a starting measurement of success and to provide information back to the County.

Vice Deputy Mayor, Diane Humber, feels that the initiative is very powerful and the local 'champion' aspect is very important. 

"When we refer to Bruce County, we refer to the place and not the Bruce County department," said Kara VanMyall,  "We are excited to see business aspects incorporated."

VanMyall also explained tthe agricultural sector has been a "tough nut" to crack and we are looking at where we can add value.  For instance, product enhancement.  Why can't we package product here instead of sending it out for packaging."

"Nevermore, have we needed a strong partnership between Saugeen Shores and the County," said Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau, "as we both head into a time of transition so that we can all 'grab the brass ring' that is coming before us.".

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Monday, January 16, 2017