Akwesasne, Cornwall and County: $15K study looks at better biz relationship

MORRISBURG – A $15,000 study will be landing on the desks of municipal officials in Akwesasne, Cornwall and the United Counties of SD&G next month on how they can form a better business relationship.

The study, supported by Cornwall and The Counties Community Futures Development Corporation, was carried out by a third-party consultant, MNP Consulting, which talked with representatives separately, reviewed documents and looked at best practices.

The goal is to find common areas where governments could collaborate on regional economic development and tourism while eliminating duplication.

The CFDC has been home to the Cross-Border Partnership Program for the past year and applied to the Rural Economic Development (RED) program for the $10,499 it received today (Friday) for the study during a news conference in Morrisburg. The CFDC is kicking in the rest. It applied after seeing a “willingness for better ways to work together” through interviews with politicians, community leaders and chambers of commerce.

In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, CFDC spokesman Simon McLinden was asked why it wouldn’t have been simpler to get the three governments in a room together to collaborate.

“It would. I think a lot of what this consultancy plan will do might be the best way to figure how to get all those people in a room together in a more efficient sense. For this, it’s how do we formalize those agreements and formalize those working groups and using a third party who doesn’t have any skin the game, they’ve got a lot of First Nations experience. They can come into it and say, this is the best framework with how you can then have those more official conversations, as opposed to me saying ‘Hey, let’s get into a room’ and go,” McLinden said.

McLinden hopes this report will blossom into a “long standing formal relationship” between Akwesasne, the United Counties of SD&G and Cornwall on such topics as Cornwall and Akwesasne jointly-owned port land.

“A lot of the elected leaders that have been recently been put into office have all ran on the basis of the willingness to collaborate better. So, I’m trying to give them a head start on that,” McLinden said.

He said a first draft of the report from MNP was on his desk last week. A subsequent draft should be coming the end of next week. McLinden is hopeful it will be on municipal desks the first or second week of January.