Ar­ran-Elder­slie con­sid­ers de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - NEWS - DON CROSBY

Ar­ran-Elder­slie is giv­ing se­ri­ous thought to hir­ing an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer.

Coun­cil heard strong ar­gu­ments from sev­eral peo­ple, in­clud­ing Melissa Kan­macher, rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Pais­ley and District Cham­ber of Com­merce, and Ken Cor­mack, who has been in­volved with Pais­ley’s Spruce the Bruce group and the Bruce County re­gional work­ing group, along with mem­bers of coun­cil in favour of hir­ing an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer.

Kan­macher’s mes­sage is that eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties abound in Ar­ran-Elder­slie.

She wor­ries that eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment is tak­ing place all around and Ar­ran-Elder­slie will be left be­hind if it doesn’t get or­ga­nized.

She noted that one of Bruce Power’s top pri­or­i­ties is to have 11 sup­pli­ers set­tled in the area. A year ago Bruce Power asked com­mu­ni­ties to send in avail­able ware­house space to cre­ate a list for po­ten­tial sup­pli­ers. Now they are look­ing for avail­able of­fice space.

“Vol­un­teers are do­ing that in Pais­ley. Ch­es­ley and Tara will need to be in­formed so they can take ad­van­tage of this op­por­tu­nity as well,” Kan­macher told Ar­ran-Elder­slie coun­cil Mon­day.

She said Bruce Power is also com­mit­ted to supporting com­mu­ni­ties to be fam­ily friendly and she be­lieves they will of­fer fi­nan­cial sup­port to projects that im­prove the qual­ity of life for com­mu­nity mem­bers.

She ar­gued that Ar­ran-Elder­slie is poised to be­come the next area for growth but wants to know what the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is do­ing to pro­mote its unique fea­tures.

“We need the ex­per­tise of an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment per­son . . . we need the ex­per­tise of some­one else [to] sell our com­mu­nity, gather up what we want to do and sell it,” she said

Coun. Peter Steinacker said the com­mu­nity needs some­one to sell its pos­i­tive fea­tures. He noted that there are sev­eral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in Huron and Grey coun­ties with com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cers.

“We would have a lot more clout if we had an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment per­son,” said Steinacker, who ar­gued that “you have to spend money to at­tract money.”

Ar­ran-Elder­slie had ap­plied for a Ru­ral Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment (RED) grant that could be used for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer but was turned down.

Cor­mack who said the mu­nic­i­pal web­site needs to be up­dated. It is some­thing that cre­ates a pow­er­ful first im­pres­sion and if Ar­ran-Elder­slie is lag­ging in terms of a web­site and so­cial me­dia he wor­ries that younger peo­ple might look else­where if they can’t read­ily find the in­for­ma­tion they are look­ing for.

“Es­tab­lish­ing an in­ven­tory of res­i­den­tial, com­mer­cial, in­dus­trial and agri­cul­tural prop­er­ties that are avail­able to buy or rent will be crit­i­cal as growth re­lated to Bruce Power re­fur­bish­ment be­gins to un­fold,” he said.

He said he feels some un­cer­tainty re­gard­ing the school in Pais­ley that is sti­fling growth in Pais­ley.

“There has been lots of real es­tate ac­tiv­ity but it has not re­sulted in an in­crease of en­rol­ment at the school so far. While it is im­por­tant for Pais­ley to at­tract new res­i­dents of all ages, the fu­ture of the school de­pends on our abil­ity to at­tract fam­i­lies with young chil­dren,” Cor­mack said.

Mayor Paul Ea­gle­son agreed that it’s time to look se­ri­ously at hir­ing an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer.

“It needs to be ex­plored and ex­plored very soon, now, in my opin­ion,” said Ea­gle­son.

But Ea­gle­son still has some unan­swered ques­tions about the role of an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer and coun­cil’s ex­pec­ta­tions of such a per­son. How that po­si­tion would dove­tail with the work al­ready be­ing done by Bruce County eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cials is an­other ques­tion he has.

“I’m fully aware of the good work that the county eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment is do­ing for all com­mu­ni­ties in Bruce County,” Ea­gle­son said.

He said the next step is to have Bruce County of­fi­cials come to Ar­ran-Elder­slie to ex­plain what the county does for Ar­ran-Elder­slie and what types of tasks an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer could do for Ar­ran-Elder­slie.

“There’s no point, in my opin­ion, of cre­at­ing more du­pli­ca­tion. The tim­ing is cer­tainly right. If we don’t make a de­ci­sion soon maybe we’ll get left be­hind,” Ea­gle­son said.

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