Jeff Green | Feb 03, 2005
Feature Article February 3, 2005
Feature article February 3, 2005LAND O' LAKES NewsWeb Home
Contact UsTalking about heating up the business climate on a cold day
by Jeff Green
On a cold late January morning last week, at the first-ever Business Breakfast in Addington Highlands, a succession of Economic Development Officials talked about how they could help the business community in the township. The event was held at the Northbrook Hotel.
While the participating business people asked a few questions, it was only when Reeve Ken Hook asked the audience if they had any questions of the township that things really heated up.
Whats the story with the resort project? What happened with that? someone piped up.
Hook answered that the contract for marketing the project has run out, but There was a company that was looking seriously at a specific location. In the end, though, the property owner decided not to sell. The company is still interested, however. We are still working on this.
A four-season resort would likely bring $25 to $30 million in increased assessment to the township, Hook said, which would make a big difference to our budget. The possibilities of freeing up Crown land for a resort, and of developing a matrix of available private lands are being looked at by the Economic Development Committee of Addington Highlands.
The four-season resort concept has been developed by using funds provided by a provincial funding program. While that funding has run out, another $20,000 is forthcoming from the federally funded Eastern Ontario Development Fund. Craig Desjardin, from the Prince Edward Lennox and Addington (PELA) Community Futures Development Corporation said it wont be official for a week or so, but the grant is coming through. Another grant was tentatively announced, this one for the development of multi-purpose trails in Addington Highlands, to foster an ATV trails initiative.
Hollee Kew, the Economic Development Officer for Lennox and Addington County said the County is in the process of upgrading all County roads to accommodate bicycles. While she spends much of her time promoting the manufacturing sector in the southern end of the county, Kew said she didnt sese much of a chance that a manufactuiring plant will come to Addington Highlands.
Everybody wants to be near or on the 401; thats the reality, she said. But we can expanding the recreation and tourism possibilities in this region, and I am available to help make that happen. She also said she has been involved in an attempt to develop a wood processing industry in the region. Most of the logging in the township takes place on Crown land for which the township receives no stumpage fees, and with the logs being shipped to Quebec or overseas for processing, the local economy receives little benefit from the industry.
There was much talk among the business people in atendance about developing events, like the now defunct Blueberry Jamboree, to bring people into the area.
Bill Brown, the volunteer chair of the AH Economic Development Committee and the organizer of the Business Breakfast, remarked that the Blueberry Jamboree faded away mainly because of lack of volunteers, and said I get jumped on every time I say this, but why not develop a Business Association in this area, to work together on problems, plan events, etc.
The Business Breakfast produced a large crowd and a lively debate, and a follow up event is being planned for April.