I recently had the opportunity to participate in two Business Community Workshops for Halton Region’s new 10-year Economic Development Strategy.
The Strategy will help us determine where we stand today, where we would like to go tomorrow, and most importantly, how we are going to get there. It will act as a roadmap for our economic priorities and in the delivery of economic development services.
The Strategy is being completed in four phases over a 10-month period culminating in a Strategic Directions Report to be considered by Council in September and an Implementation Plan in November.
In Phase One, staff worked with consultants to prepare background material, including a number of Discussion (White) Papers. The two facilitated workshops I attended in April and May 2011 in Milton and Oakville were part of Phase Two.
Through the workshops we were able to engage Local and Regional government representatives, business leaders, and community stakeholders across Halton on the region’s economic priorities. We had a terrific turnout for both workshops and there was plenty of discussion on a variety of topics explored in the White Papers including:
- The importance of employment lands
- Challenges to business attraction and retention
- Opportunities and actions for economic development
I was impressed with the quality of the discussion and the level of engagement of our community at both sessions.
As your Regional Government, we are committed to ensuring Halton has the appropriate infrastructure in place to ensure the region is attractive to new businesses, entrepreneurs and skilled workers. To that end, it is important that our property taxes remain competitive. We will work also with our local and senior government partners to foster innovation and entrepreneurship.
However, we realize that most new employment in Halton will come from our existing businesses and entrepreneurs. That’s why these workshops and our other public consultations are so important. Staff is now working to combine what we’ve learned from the workshops with input from our research, along with the findings from our Investment Readiness and Competitiveness Study, into a formal Strategic Directions Report.
The end result will be a plan that identifies and prioritizes the strategic vision, goals and directions for Halton’s economic development to 2021. It’s an ambitious undertaking. Our aim is to promote and strengthen economic growth and prosperity. I know that with your help, we’ll be able to meet this goal.
We are blessed with beautiful natural heritage, well developed social and physical infrastructure, including excellent secondary and post secondary schools and a talented workforce all residing in one of Canada’s safest regions. Working together, we can ensure that Halton remains a great place to live, work, start a business, raise a family and retire.
If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”