SOUTH DUNDAS – With interest in Morrisburg’s industrial park taking off, the acting CAO expects an upcoming report will recommend the municipality hire an economic development officer (EDO) in some capacity.
In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, Shannon Geraghty said, how that position will be filled, either full-time or by contract, will be up for discussion by council sometime in November.
The position has been vacant since April 23 after Nicole Sullivan left to pursue other opportunities near Ottawa.
“Nicole was the one kind of spearheading it (marketing the business park) and it’s stalled somewhat with the leaving of Nicole. Staff as done a good of job as they can to try and deal with people who have come forward,” Geraghty said.
“We are still going back to council to look at an EDO. We need to get somebody in here that’s going to go out to beyond South Dundas and advocate for us, the assets we have to offer and try to bring businesses in as well as look after the businesses that are currently in South Dundas.”
Geraghty acknowledges the possibility the township could have been overlooked for opportunities when asked about the Giant Tiger distribution center being set up in neighbouring Edwardsburgh-Cardinal township.
And getting an economic development officer in place could be very important in the coming months.
Geraghty said lawyers for two companies are negotiating with South Dundas for roughly one-and-a-half to two acres each of the 40 acre business park.
“We have two interested parties that are looking at purchasing some acreage on Industrial Road so we’re working with our solicitors right now to work to iron out all the details as far as surveying, the butternut trees and the costs.”
The acting CAO said negotiations have been ongoing for three or four months. “They’re very interested. It’s just a matter of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.”
The land value has also spiked for the Morrisburg industrial park with a recent assessment at $24,000 per acre from the previous valuation at $15,000 per acre.
“It’s going up which is a good sign,” Geraghty said. “That would be our market price now as far as asking for land…going forward that’s the current price we would be asking for.”
Geraghty said Eastern Engineering Group in Brockville is currently putting the tender together for water and sewer to the entire Industrial Road property.
That tender is due Nov. 2 and council is expected to make a decision Nov. 3.