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2018-2022 Economic Development Strategy

2018-2022 Economic Development StrategyThe Township of Oro-Medonte’s 2015-2018 Strategic Plan specifically identifies Balanced Growth as one of five strategic priorities for this term of Council. This objective represents a commitment on the part of the corporation to “support business and job creation while protecting our natural environment”. In order to achieve this strategic goal, the Township must have a plan in place for economic development in Oro-Medonte that is reflective of the community and the current business environment.

With the assistance of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Township undertook a comprehensive strategic planning process to develop a new economic development strategy for Oro-Medonte. On September 13, 2017, Township Council endorsed a five-year strategy for municipal economic development activities.

Our Vision for Economic Development
The Township of Oro-Medonte will use a balanced growth approach to economic development, focused on growing and attracting business, tourism development, and residential growth.

 Strategic Goals

Strategic Goal 1: Champion improved access to key infrastructure such as internet and natural gas.

Objective 1: Explore other mechanisms and best practices of how to facilitate natural gas expansion.

  • Action Areas:
    • Conduct a thorough environmental scan and evaluation of best practices in infrastructure development, including financing, partnerships, the role of government, and the role of the private sector.
      • Identify the most relevant best practices and connect with the organizations that implemented them to learn about processes and outcomes.
      • Select the best practice with the highest chance of success and report to Council.
    • Identify and engage potential partners to form a working group to explore expansion of natural gas services.
    • Map existing natural gas coverage and identify areas of priority for expansion of services.
    • Develop a business case to identify demand for natural gas services.
    • Remain current on funding opportunities related to natural gas infrastructure expansion.
      • Apply for funding opportunities for infrastructure development where possible.
      • Provide support for other natural gas development applications that benefit the Township.
    • Commit resources to investment in service expansion.

Objective 2: Explore other mechanisms and best practices of how to facilitate high-speed internet expansion.

  • Action Areas:
    • Conduct a thorough environmental scan and evaluation of best practices in infrastructure development, including financing, partnerships, the role of government, and the role of the private sector.
      • Identify the most relevant best practices and connect with the organizations that implemented them to learn about processes and outcomes.
      • Select the best practice with the highest chance of success and report to Council.
    • Identify and engage potential partners such as the South Western Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) initiative to explore expansion of high-speed internet services.
    • Map existing high-speed internet coverage and identify areas of priority for expansion of services.
    • Develop a business case to identify demand for high-speed internet services.
    • Remain current on funding opportunities related to high-speed internet infrastructure expansion.
      • Apply for funding opportunities for infrastructure development where possible.
      • Provide support for other high-speed internet development applications that benefit the Township.
    • Commit resources to investment in service expansion.

Objective 3: Advocate to other levels of government for enhanced provision of natural gas.

  • Action Areas:
    • Conduct a thorough environmental scan and evaluation of best practices in municipal advocacy tactics.
      • Identify the most relevant best practices and connect with the organizations that implemented them to learn about processes and outcomes.
      • Select the best practice with the highest chance of success and report to Council.
    • Identify and engage potential partners to collaboratively advocate for the expansion of natural gas services.
      • Determine how to best leverage the County of Simcoe to play an advocacy role.
    • Leverage the business case and best practice research to advocate for the need for investment.

Objective 4: Advocate to other levels of government for enhanced provision of high-speed internet.

  • Action Areas:
    • Conduct a thorough environmental scan and evaluation of best practices in municipal advocacy tactics.
      • Identify the most relevant best practices and connect with the organizations that implemented them to learn about processes and outcomes.
      • Select the best practice with the highest chance of success and report to Council.
    • Identify and engage potential partners such as the South Western Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) initiative to collaboratively advocate for the expansion of high-speed internet services.
      • Determine how to best leverage the County of Simcoe to play an advocacy role.
    • Leverage the business case and best practice research to advocate for the need for investment.

Strategic Goal 2: Address existing barriers to residential, commercial, and industrial development.

Objective 1: Engage with other levels of government to advocate for policies and support that will enable and encourage private investment.

  • Action Areas:
    • Consult with key internal stakeholders and leverage existing research to understand the full scope of potential barriers to investing in Oro-Medonte.
    • Prepare a complete list of private investment barriers in the Township, including local, regional, provincial, and national issues of concern.
    • Identify potential partners to align with in both the public and private sectors to develop solutions to identified barriers.
    • Develop and implement an advocacy strategy.
    • Contribute to the Official Plan and Zoning By-law Review process to provide input and identify opportunities.

Objective 2: Explore new mechanisms to facilitate the development of privately-owned industrial and commercial zoned lands.

  • Action Areas:
    • Contribute to the Official Plan and Zoning By-law Review process to provide input and identify opportunities.
    • Produce a complete map of industrial and commercial zoned plots of land.
    • Develop a communication strategy to connect with owners of industrial and commercial zoned lands and determine their intentions for their properties.
    • Undertake an assessment and prioritization exercise to identify properties that are feasible for development.
    • Conduct a thorough environmental scan and evaluation of best practices to free up and/or facilitate the reallocation of frozen development lands.
    • Support the development of a master servicing plan for Oro Centre.
    • Explore mechanisms to better facilitate on-farm diversification and value-added activities for the agricultural sector.

Objective 3: Enhance the Township's readiness to attract and retain new investment.

  • Action Areas:
    • Update and maintain the Community Profile with relevant information for new and existing businesses.
    • Evaluate and update the economic development pages on the Township website.
    • Map where development can occur in the Township and determine the status of those lands.
    • Identify specific target markets and sectors.
    • Work with regional partners to develop and implement an investment attraction strategy.
    • Review municipal By-laws and zoning to facilitate home-based businesses.
    • Market home-based business opportunities.
    • Support the development of a master servicing plan for the Craighurst-Horseshoe Valley corridor.
    • Explore mechanisms to better facilitate on-farm diversification and value-added activities for the agricultural sector.
    • Act as a concierge to support inquiring businesses through the investment process.

Strategic Goal 3: Develop and promote Oro-Medonte as a premier four-season tourism destination.

Objective 1: Support and positively influence the development of new and existing four-season tourism products in the Township.

  • Action Areas:
    • Maintain and expand partnerships related to tourism marketing and product development at the local and regional levels.
    • Explore providing packaging support for local and regional tourism operators to increase overnight tourism visits.
    • Work with regional tourism partners and industry stakeholders to develop an action plan for tourism development.

Objective 2: Maintain and enhance tourism/recreational infrastructure in the Township.

  • Action Areas:
    • Identify existing recreational assets and their status.
    • Identify user groups and clubs that have a vested interest in the Township's recreational assets.
    • Consult with the community and tourists about recreational needs.
    • Develop a plan to support and/or expand tourism/recreational assets.
    • Enhance local wayfinding signage and community branding.

Strategic Goal 4: Provide a supportive environment for entrepreneurs to start, maintain, and grow a business.

Objective 1: Provide Township-based businesses with support and connections to regional resources to start, maintain, and grow their business.

  • Action Areas:
    • Evaluate and update the economic development pages on the Township website.
    • Develop a communication strategy to share information and opportunities with the business community.
    • Maintain and enhance the Township's partnership with local and regional business development organizations.
    • Participate with partners to develop and deliver resources to the business community.

Objective 2: Become a resource hub to guide new and existing businesses through Township planning and building processes.

  • Action Areas:
    • Continue to enhance relationship between planning, building and economic development by formalizing interaction/communication process between departments.
    • Cross-train staff on building, planning, and economic development processes.
    • Research best practices on developing a 'concierge service' to guide businesses through internal processes.
    • Collaborate with Development Services Department to develop the concierge service that will assist businesses and streamline processes.
    • Communicate the concierge service to the business community.
    • Develop and implement an on-going feedback mechanism for businesses to assess municipal processes.

For more information about the Township’s economic development strategy and activities, please email the Township’s Economic Development staff at business@oro-medonte.ca or call (705) 487-2171.