Cornwall with a road map for growth

Ian Duff from McSweeney and Associates talks to Cornwall city council on Monday, Oct. 24, 2016 as the city's new economic development strategic plan is presented. With Duff are Senior Development Officer Bob Peters, left, and economic development plan committee chairman Glen Grant. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – The city has received its road map to grow its economy over the next five years.

Ian Duff, a consultant from McSweeney and Associates, presented the report to council Monday night – a document that was a year in the making after a number of public consultation meetings.

The report has eight main themes: attracting and retaining the right people, community development, improving Cornwall’s image, investment retention and attraction, small business development, tourism, waterfront development and workforce and skills development.

Coun. Bernadette Clement asked if the consultation also looked at the regional development, given the fact the United Counties and South Dundas are both doing economic development plans.

“Absolutely there’s a need to work with our neighbours,” said Bob Peters from Cornwall’s economic development office.

Coun. Denis Carr also noted the perception of Cornwall than in the past. “I see that as a huge change because people weren’t always positive about their community,” Carr said.

Coun. Claude McIntosh suggested the stagnant population isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “We grew 15,000 tomorrow, I don’t think we’d need more police officers and firefighters. We’re a town built for 60,000 people,” McIntosh said.

McIntosh also threw cold water on the notions that people were moving out of the city to the United Counties because of taxes.

“One of our big challenges is growing the population (significantly),” he said.

Coun. Elaine MacDonald suggested the document invites councillors to roll up their sleeves and get to work. “I like the immediately of the document,” she said.

“It is a good stepping stone,” Coun. David Murphy said.

Coun. Justin Towndale said, for a person who moved away for 12 years and came back, the image of the city has changed.

The mayor said the newer image is getting out there after going to a meeting outside the city and hearing about the Seaway City’s electricity rates.

The city paid $86,755 for the study.