We could be The Next Big Thing
Minimalism, craft beer, local food and anything with an “artisanal” label are just some of the trends that are reshaping people’s buying habits, and their diets. With a new year on the horizon, we are wont to try to anticipate what The Next Big Thing will be.
How about irresistible promotions to get people to move to small towns? What about offers of cheap land? What do you think of financial incentives?
While tax rebates are not as interesting as a new and improved version of your favourite liquid stimulant, money always gets people’s attention.
Thus, as our new municipal councils begin their new terms, they ought to find spaces on their agendas for Innovative Ideas That Will Reverse Population Decline.
For inspiration, eyes should be cast towards the north of Ontario, Smooth Rock Falls, to be specific.
Situated between Cochrane and Kapuskasing, the town of 1,330 has managed to revive itself by reaching out to newcomers. In 2006, when the town’s paper mill shut, the population began to plunge. But in the past year, a campaign to rejuvenate the community began to pay off.
North and South Glengarry are sprucing up their downtown sectors with Community Improvement Plans.
Smooth Rock Falls’ package of attractive monetary incentives is like the CIPs on steroids.
Residential lots sell for $500, business owners can get a loan or grant up to a maximum of 15 per cent of eligible costs up to a maximum of $1,000,000. Plus, a business can get a 75 per cent tax rebate in its first year operation.
Its “Near North, Near Perfect” promotion gained international media attention. In the past year, about 25 new families moved to town; new businesses are opening; the town hall has handled 1,000 queries from interested parties.
In addition to the money, Smooth Rock Falls is also touting a bilingual work force, low cost of living, slower pace of life, and access to essential services. Wait a minute. Doesn’t Glengarry also have all of those assets?
The Celtic Heartland has the added advantage of being situated between major cities and markets, the climate here is not as harsh as that of the Near North, and it is near the American border.
Proximity to the land of the free can be seen as a bonus if more and more nervous Americans fear You Know Who may return to the White House for a second term. Yankee refugees could be a huge potential source of new residents, and tax revenues, if the Donald is re-elected.
Obviously, there are many other reasons why people would love to call Glengarry their home.
We have the goods. It is merely a question of how we can market our assets to a wider audience.