Rus­sell Town­ship looks in­to the fu­ture of de­ve­lop­ment

Le Reflet (The News) - - ACTUALITÉS | NEWS - VI­CKY CHAR­BON­NEAU vi­cky.char­bon­neau@eap.on.ca

Em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for youth, a re­crea­tio­nal com­plex, ho­tels and a bu­si­ness re­gis­try were just a few ideas that were brought up by the Rus­sell Town­ship coun­cil mem­bers, as part of their vi­sion for the up­co­ming Eco­no­mic De­ve­lop­ment Stra­te­gic Plan.

Du­ring a spe­cial mee­ting held on Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 26, a fo­cus Group was hos­ted by MDB In­sight in or­der to set up a di­rec­tion where the com­mu­ni­ty wants to go. Ear­lier in the day, Rus­sell Town­ship ad­mi­nis­tra­tion staff had al­so pro­vi­ded their in­put on the same to­pics.

“Rus­sell has had a pret­ty strong run, gro­wing at a stea­dy rate,” said Se­nior De­ve­lop­ment ana­lyst Erle La­mothe, while poin­ting out key high­lights. In fact, the last 15 years has seen an in­crease of 33 per cent in po­pu­la­tion, which re­pre­sents about 2000 people since 2001.

The main dis­cus­sion was gea­red to­wards gi­ving a self-por­trait of the Town­ship’s as­sets and eco­no­mic dri­vers, as well as the ma­jor chal­lenges fa­cing lo­cal eco­no­my, op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth and de­ve­lop­ment in the next three to five years.

Ove­rall, the dome, the fit­ness and na­ture trail as well as the sense of com­mu­ni­ty were on top of the list of po­si­tive news and as­sets. On top of ha­ving the lo­west tax rate in Pres­cott-Rus­sell, the Town­ship has been vo­ted the 21st best place to live in Ca­na­da, as well as the 16th for being the best place to raise chil­dren. In On­ta­rio, Rus­sell is the third best place to raise chil­dren.

Chal­lenges men­tio­ned that could obs­truct growth were youth em­ploy­ment, trans­por­ta­tion and lack of re­crea­tio­nal fa­ci­li­ties, such as swim­ming pools, are­nas and ba­se­ball fields.

From a bu­si­ness pers­pec­tive, the idea of an of­fi­cial bu­si­ness re­gis­try, to show­case what is avai­lable lo­cal­ly was al­so put forth. Bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion with bu­si­nesses was al­so on the wish list.

“Ano­ther chal­lenge is ma­na­ging ex­pec­ta­tions, said mayor Pierre Le­roux. There is of­ten a big dif­fe­rence in what people want and what they are rea­dy to pay.”

To turn those chal­lenges in­to op­por­tu­ni­ties and move to­wards their vi­sion, an ove­rall plan was sug­ges­ted, in­clu­ding ha­ving the Rus­sell side of Li­moges ser­vi­ced and fin­ding a com­mer­cial zone in Rus­sell Vil­lage, in ad­di­tion to the exis­ting 417 In­dus­trial park.

Get­ting in­crea­sed re­ve­nue from taxa­tion of com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial in­ter­ests would the­re­fore help fund pro­jects such as a re­crea­tio­nal com­plex ad­ja­cent to the dome, wi­thout re­sor­ting to re­si­den­tial taxa­tion. In ad­di­tion, a com­mer­cial hub and a ho­tel could be part of a sy­ner­gy that would help at­tract the bu­si­ness and sports com­mu­ni­ties.

Lo­cal bu­si­nesses and com­mu­ni­ty lea­ders are ex­pec­ted to be consul­ted as well, be­fore the consul­tants can present the first draft of the Eco­no­mic De­ve­lop­ment Stra­te­gic Plan to coun­cil.

“We’re going to have ano­ther dis­cus­sion, this time more fo­cu­sed, de­mons­tra­ting what the consul­ta­tions have re­sul­ted in and what our key fin­dings are, in a month or so,” conclu­ded La­mothe.

Char­bon­neau —pho­to Vi­cky

Au cours d’une réunion spé­ciale te­nue le jeu­di 26 oc­tobre, un groupe de dis­cus­sion avait été or­ga­ni­sé par MDB In­sight afin d’éta­blir une di­rec­tion à suivre pour le pro­chain plan stra­té­gique de dé­ve­lop­pe­ment éco­no­mique de la mu­ni­ci­pa­li­té de Rus­sell. Les pos­si­bi­li­tés d’em­ploi pour les jeunes, un com­plexe ré­créa­tif, des hô­tels et un re­gistre des en­tre­prises n’étaient que quelques idées qui ont été sou­le­vées par les membres du conseil du­rant la dis­cus­sion ci­blée. Plus tôt dans la jour­née, le per­son­nel de l’ad­mi­nis­tra­tion de Rus­sell avait éga­le­ment don­né son avis sur les mêmes su­jets. Une fois la com­mu­nau­té d’af­faires con­sul­tée, les consul­tants, dont l’ana­lyste Erle La­mothe que l’on re­trouve sur la pho­to, sou­met­tront une pre­mière ébauche afin de fi­na­li­ser le plan, d’ici en­vi­ron un mois.

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