Perhaps surprisingly, we have over 120 business within 10 km. of our village.
Over the past decade, we have seen businesses essential to Sharbot Lake’s life and well-being change hands and grow. Examples are numerous: The Crossing, Mike Dean’s Superfood Store, Seeds Accounting, Robinson’s Asset Management, Pharmacare, Gray’s Grocery & Bakery, Goodfellows Flowers, Rockhill B&B, Sharbot Lake Dental Clinic, The Amazing Dollar Store and Ireton Fendly Law Office. Their services, number of employees and their payrolls are rock-bottom essential to our life in Sharbot Lake.
Home Hardware, RBC, Bob’s PetroCan, Ram’s Esso, 1010 Lawn & Garden, Robinson Excavating, Sharbot Lake Marina, Conboy’s Maple Syrup, Maples Restaurant, the real estate companies and many others have continued as they have for years.
Then there are many new businesses: The Cardinal Café, Fine Chocolate by Ludwig, Seed to Sausage, Back 40 Artisan Cheese, Sharbot Lake Retirement & Retreat, Pin Point Appraisers, Desrosiers Small Engine, Jossy’s Chill & Grill, and others.
Our main economic driver continues to be tourism and cottagers, with our Municipal population of 4400 almost doubling during the summer months.
While we are indeed blessed with all these enterprises, we are now on the cusp of a new future.
With Sharbot Lake and Central Frontenac immersed in updating our official plan, (another meeting is scheduled for later in August), now is the time for broader business involvement in visioning our community twenty years from now.
In a short time, driverless trucks will be traveling on a four-lane Highway Seven. Will the entrance to Sharbot Lake continue to be anonymous? Or will it look more like the entrance to the 1000 Island Parkway? Will the Via passenger train stop here, allowing new businesses to grow, employees to live here and/or work elsewhere? Will there be advances in sewage and water treatment to let more people live in an environmentally friendly way on our rocky terrain? With the K&P trail going from Kingston to Calabogie, how will our recreation capacity expand? Will Sharbot Lake become a centre of excellence, the central hub of Frontenac County? How will the balance between our beautiful environment and future development be guarded? What branding and mission statement do we need to create to support this?
These and other significant challenges need a whole new level of business and citizen thoughtfulness and decision to arrive in 2038 with our jewel of a town polished and intact.
To that end we the undersigned are hosting a fall forum with the intent to establish a Sharbot Lake economic development working group who would take on this responsibility of promoting and supporting the local economy and providing advice to council. Some 25 have signed up. We look forward to sharing the results of those meetings late September.
Ken Fisher, Alison & Wayne Robinson and Rosemary & Bill Bowick.