Ecodev study ap­proved

Con­sul­tants to map out the eco­nomic way for­ward af­ter P&G leaves

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - NEWS - Rza­jac@post­ RON­ALD ZAJAC

City coun­cil­lors have now rat­i­fied a con­tract worth up to $219,000 for a con­sul­tants’ re­port on the way for­ward af­ter the clo­sure of Proc­ter & Gam­ble.

Mem­bers on Tues­day ap­proved with lit­tle dis­cus­sion the hir­ing of con­sult­ing firm Up And to the Right, for an upset limit of $218,969, to pre­pare an “eco­nomic as­sess­ment of the St. Lawrence Cor­ri­dor re­gion.”

The con­sul­tants’ job is to fig­ure out the most promis­ing av­enues for job at­trac­tion fol­low­ing the loss of what has been the city’s largest in­dus­trial em­ployer.

Mem­bers had been set to ap­prove the con­tract at their Aug. 28 meet­ing, but de­ferred the de­ci­sion to get an opin­ion from mem­bers of the St. Lawrence Cor­ri­dor Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Com­mis­sion, a re­gional devel­op­ment ef­fort that in­cludes the city, as well as Prescott and the town­ships of Ed­wards­burgh/Car­di­nal, Au­gusta, El­iz­a­beth­town-Kit­ley, Front of Yonge and Leeds and the Thousand Is­lands.

Coun­cil was told Tues­day that David Beatty, the com­mis­sion’s chair­man, has also given the con­tract the thumbs-up.

The money for the con­sult­ing job will come from the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment. In April, city coun­cil backed a “Com­mu­ni­ties in Tran­si­tion” fund­ing agree­ment with the prov­ince.

Brockville is get­ting $220,000 from the pro­vin­cial pro­gram, with city hall con­tribut­ing an ex­tra $45,000 worth of in-kind con­tri­bu­tions, in­clud­ing staff time and meet­ings.

P&G an­nounced in May 2017 that it is clos­ing its Brockville pro­duc­tion plant, af­fect­ing all of its 480 em­ploy­ees.

The clo­sure, to be done in phases, re­mains on track to be com­pleted late in 2020.

Other clo­sures fol­lowed the P&G an­nounce­ment, al­beit on a smaller scale: Sears Canada, which had 60 em­ploy­ees; Transcom, a clo­sure that af­fected 80 peo­ple; Che­mours in Mait­land (33 em­ploy­ees), and Don­ald­son Fil­tra­tion So­lu­tions (20 em­ploy­ees).

The Com­mu­ni­ties in Tran­si­tion pro­gram is “a dis­cre­tionary pro­gram which helps com­mu­ni­ties and in­dus­tries fac­ing eco­nomic chal­lenges such as: Plant clo­sures, sig­nif­i­cant job losses, and or in­dus­try­wide re­struc­tur­ing,” eco­nomic devel­op­ment di­rec­tor Rob Nolan ex­plained in a re­port in April.

City of­fi­cials de­vel­oped the ap­pli­ca­tion in co­or­di­na­tion with the St. Lawrence Cor­ri­dor com­mis­sion.

The con­sul­tants’ re­port will al­low the city and the cor­ri­dor com­mis­sion “to bet­ter un­der­stand the re­gion’s eco­nomic com­plex­ity and to iden­tify three to five key in­dus­tries that can be the in­no­va­tive in­dus­trial clus­ters that are best suited to the re­gion and that will create em­ploy­ment for em­ploy­ees im­pacted by the re­cent an­nounced clo­sure of P&G (and other com­pa­nies), by at­tract­ing new busi­nesses, help­ing ex­ist­ing busi­nesses grow and as­sist­ing with the cre­ation of new in­no­va­tive busi­ness,” Nolan adds in a sep­a­rate re­port rec­om­mend­ing the con­sult­ing firm.

P&G an­nounced in May 2017 that it is clos­ing its Brockville pro­duc­tion plant, af­fect­ing all of its 480 em­ploy­ees.”

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