Mapleton council approves business visit program

MAPLETON – Some local businesses will be getting an opportunity to meet with council members and economic development officials as part of a new program approved by township council.

At the Jan. 31 Mapleton council meeting, economic development manager Aly Hill explained a proposal for monthly visits to local businesses.

“This is really just to get myself, as well as council and our committee, out into our business community, and really get to know our business community; get to know what they need from us, or would like from us and just see what their impacts are for Mapleton,” Hill explained.

A staff report states the visits will allow staff and council to engage with the local business community and allow businesses “to get to know our township staff and council and open better lines of communication.”

The visits will be coordinated by the economic development manager at a time that works mutually for the business and township officials.

Hill said the department is aiming for 12 visits per year that could involve staff, the mayor, councillors and members of Mapleton’s economic development committee, depending on availability.

Staff will reach out to business to set up appointments, but is open to invitations from interested businesses.

The visits will provide an “open forum” for discussion, said Hill.

“And then we would hopefully do a little tour of their facility and see what they’re doing for our community,” Hill explained.

“Our businesses are amazing … and there’s probably a lot that we don’t even know are in the area and what they’re doing for our community.”

Mayor Gregg Davidson noted Mapleton has plenty of downtown businesses in its urban areas, but “we have a lot out in the rural community as well.

“Last year council was able to go visit a dairy farm, which was a good business opportunity to see that dairy operation and I really appreciated that.

“And we’d like to see more of the operations on farm businesses as well.”

Hill said neighbouring municipalities run similar business visit programs, with varying approaches.

“Wellington North just does it with their largest businesses and they all meet together,” she stated.

“And Minto kind of does a general business one, and they do anybody that employs over 15 people to kind of get a really good sense of the business.

“But I think we would like to do a very big mix.”

Council passed a motion to approve establishment of the business visiting program.