Community Improvement Plan amendment integrates county participation

ABERFOYLE – Puslinch is looking at having its Community Improvement Plan (CIP) work with Wellington County efforts to promote economic development.

On May 15, Puslinch Township held a public meeting to address an amendment to its CIP.

Wellington County senior policy planner Jameson Pickard noted that in March 2016, the township adopted its Our Corridor – Community Improvement Plan.

“This plan is the township’s comprehensive plan for revitalization in an identified community project area.”

The identified area stretches along Brock Road from just north of Aberfoyle to south of Morriston.

He stated the Puslinch CIP listed involvement by the County of Wellington as a high priority – for participation in local CIP initiatives.

Pickard added this approach is not uncommon across Wellington.

He explained it was up to the county’s economic development department to “suss out” how the county would be involved.

“That led to the Invest Well Community Improvement Program.”

Pickard noted that in April, Puslinch council directed staff to prepare an amendment to allow the county participation in the local CIP.

He said the Invest Well program “is essentially a roadmap of how the county will be involved in local CIP initiatives.”

He added the program is designed around the Invest Well incentive package “which helps prepare properties which have a high potential for development – by making them development ready.”

It includes funds for background studies for eligible properties to identify constraints or site-specific issues, tax incremented equivalent grants to fund eligible costs for major development or redevelopment projects, along with marketing and investment attraction support for eligible properties.

A second prong of the program includes grants for a broad range of improvements to properties.

Grants are available for commercial, industrial and mixed use buildings or properties.

He said examples could include rooftop patios, outdoor dining spaces, bed and breakfast accommodations.

Pickard said the county has indicated support for a broad range of opportunities.

He also mentioned Waterloo-Wellington Community Futures, a not-for-profit organization, mandated to assist local business with loans, coaching workshops and training.

Pickard added there are specific criteria “so it will be very clear what is needed to be eligible for funds from the county.”