County dollars to help fund Erin economic development officer

The Town of Erin will put a $25,000 grant from Wellington County toward hiring the municipality’s first economic development officer.

Guelph-Eramosa will use its portion of a county Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Municipal Implementation Fund to streamline business-related bylaws, while Centre Wellington will create a promotional video and a sector profile.

In May the county established the BRE Municipal Implementation Fund as a follow-up to the completion of its BRE study.

The fund provides each of Wellington’s municipalities the opportunity to access up to $25,000 to implement specific activities identified in the respective municipal BRE projects to enhance the local economy.

Funds must be utilized before Dec. 31.

Several municipalities already have projects approved and county council approved three more on Oct. 30.

A report to county council by economic development officer Jana Reichert notes that Erin applied for the full $25,000 toward establishing the economic development officer position.

The report states the officer will follow up on the high number of interview respondents wishing further communication and capitalize on the opportunities discovered in the town’s BRE report completed by the county.

“These opportunities include partnering with the town of Mount Forest in conducting a First Impressions Community Exchange, re-establishing an economic development committee, developing a community profile and leveraging the Pan Am Games by partnering with the Hills of the Headwaters to highlight tourism in Erin,” states Reichert’s report.

Erin council budgeted $64,000 for its new position in 2014, “which is inclusive of and dependent on the approval of the county BRE fund,” the report states.

Also approved was a $25,000 request from the Township of Guelph-Eramosa, which will focus on creating a simpler, clearer and cost effective planning and building process, with its zoning bylaw consolidation and bylaw review.

“The intent of both is to create a positive customer experience for individuals bringing their business to the township or expanding their business within the township,” stated Reichert in her report.

Economic Development chair George Bridge said the application from Centre Wellington is for $15,000 for the video and sector profile projects.

*See related article on p.24.