Cornwall’s growth trend, millions invested: Team Cornwall Year in Review

Bob Peters with Cornwall's economic development office speaks to a crowd at the Galaxy Cinema on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 during the Team Cornwall Year in Review. Peters outlined a number of achievements in the world of Cornwall business. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – The division manager for Cornwall’s economic development department says Cornwall is seeing a trend of slow, steady growth.

“Cornwall’s economy continues to grow and we say that every year but it’s a trend over last several years. We see that in definable numbers we can count in building permits but we also see it in job growth…and feedback from the companies that make Cornwall home,” Bob Peters said during the Team Cornwall Year in Review meeting Thursday morning.

“We’re seeing positive changes at a time when many Canadian communities, small rural cities, are seeing population declines,” he said.

Highlighting home development, Peters touched on several subdivisions in various stages of construction: J.F. Markell Homes’ Northwoods Forest subdivision, Cartwave Realty’s East Ridge subdivision and the Belfort Estates subdivision, developed by newcomer Falcon Homes.

“It’s important to have new homes to attract new residents,” he said.

The year in review also touched on various sporting and cultural events throughout the year, including Beerfest, which attracted over 2,500 people as well as the Cornwall and Area Pop Event (CAPE) which drew over 3,000 people through the doors at the Benson Center.

When it comes to institutions, Peters noted the Lionel Chevrier Building at Water and Sydney Streets had gone through $500,000. “It’s my understanding that you’re going to see other departments moving into that building in the next little while. New offices typically mean new people,” Peters said.

The City of Cornwall also did $22 million in capital works, most notably the intersection at McConnell and Marleau and the Brookdale South corridors.

As far as commercial activity, Peters said 2017 was the “year of the small story” as far as business development, with various businesses doing renovations or additions – sometimes in the millions of dollars.

Cornwall Transit had a $2 million senior government investment in its busing fleet. “For the first time ever, Cornwall will have it’s complete fleet will be fully accessible which means any passenger with mobility issues or in wheelchairs can board any bus at any time on any route and get to where they need to go in the city,” Peters said.

Achievements by locals were also outlined, including “world class musician” Paul Deslauriers being recognized as top entertainer of the year in the blues genre.

In industrial, Peters saved “the biggest for last” – the second Walmart “Harmony” Distribution Center (DC). The facility receives 19,000 trailers each month and process 2.5 million cases a week. In all, Walmart has over 1,500 employees between its two Cornwall DCs.

“If you speak to people at Walmart Logistics, they are very proud of their efforts to grow their grocery business, particularly their banana room that allows bananas to ripen in Cornwall before they get on to the truck,” Peters highlighted.

This was the 19th year for the Team Cornwall event.