Economic Development Strategic Plan Adopted in Principle: Council has approved in principle the county-wide Economic Development Strategic Plan 2018-2020 and has earmarked funds for the action plan implementation as outlined. Stacie Lloyd, Regional Economic Development Officer for Valley Heartland Community Futures Development Corporation, presented the plan to the economic development committee in November.
The process began in May and was led by Valley Heartland, Lanark County and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. It was driven by all municipalities and regional stakeholders and aimed to build community capacity and develop strong partnerships while making a roadmap for community economic development planning. Ms. Lloyd said a leadership team of more than 30 members was established, along with four working groups. Stakeholder input included 338 responses to a questionnaire, including more than 30 from economic development service organizations.
The planning process involved an inventory of current economic development activities in each municipality; a review of statistics, data sets, economic overviews, local knowledge and existing strategic plans; as well as input from stakeholders, including service organizations, businesses, residents and students.
Ms. Lloyd said the top five priority actions identified in the process including implementing a county-wide business retention and expansion program; improving broadband infrastructure; developing a health-care strategy for services recruitment, retention and repatriation of the workforce responsive to community health and wellness; developing an investment-readiness plan with marketing and communications; and developing family- and business-friendly land-use planning policies. Next steps include an annual progress report on the action plans and a review of the whole plan in three years.
The report will also be circulated to local municipalities. For more information, Kurt Greaves, CAO, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 1101.