Grey County’s Economic Development and Planning Advisory Committee is endorsing an investment attraction strategy.
During a committee meeting on May 5, a report was brought forward by Director of the committee Savanna Myers and Manager of Economic Development and Tourism Steve Furness. The report recommended endorsing the strategy, directing staff to execute its first missions, maintain their relationship with ThinkCOMPASS, and enter into an annual contract to execute a three-year action plan.
The strategy assists the county in reaching economic development related goals in its official plan by identifying investment attraction, which can help the county create and maintain a growing and diverse economy.
“To plan for and provide sustainable growth, Grey County needs to find a balance. Focusing on opportunities that bring economic diversity, will not only support employment and wages, but will also balance assessment ratios and enable community well-being,” says the report.
The report says staff were able to receive funding from CanExport Community Investments Subprogram through Global Affairs Canada, to develop the county’s first investment attraction strategy. ThinkCOMPASS, a consulting and marketing company, was retained to develop the strategy.
The report says the strategy builds on the branding, inventory and labour force work already completed and is being put into action by county and municipal staff.
To further drive investment in the county, the attraction efforts will focus on sectors and foreign markets which generate a high return on investment, along with both provincial and federal government priorities, leveraging local strengths and bringing broad economic benefits to improve sector diversity in the county.
The report says business opportunities that are of particular relevance to the county while narrowing in on these various sectors, include agri-food companies, clean-technology companies like hydrogen and nuclear, knowledge-based companies, and tourism.
The report says the county finds itself in a position to be able to enter the market to actively pursue investment attraction, to better support existing businesses, build the supply chain, and welcome new investment.
Deputy Warden Paul McQueen proposed setting up a forum to draw attention to the county, to display all of its assets.
“We have got to create a buzz here and what we are all about, what we are looking at and where we are going through developing a strategy. I think at some point we need to step up here and create that buzz,” says McQueen.
“Certainly marketing, promotion, community engagement are all really critical success factors to any strategy we put forward,” says CAO Kim Wingrove. “We are going to take that suggestion and recommendation forward as we make the future plans.”
Following the endorsement, the funds received by CanExport to develop and execute a preliminary investment mission based on direction of the investment attraction strategy, will see planning begin.
All actions included in the strategy will be featured in the annual budget for council to consider. In the 2022 budget, the approved economic development budget includes $45,000 for ongoing investment guidance and support, investment training and investment mission.
The mission is also further supported by an additional $16,350 in matching federal funding that was unbudgeted.
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