The United Counties of Prescott and Russell are embarking on a project which will see about 500 local business owners interviewed. Participants in the Prescott Russell Opportunities Project will include randomly selected businesses in the commercial, industrial, agricultural, and tourism sectors, according to a press release issued by the UCPR.

“A questionnaire will be used to identify, among other things, the needs, concerns and opportunities faced by local entrepreneurs doing business in these four sectors. Subsequently, a working group of community leaders and experts will review the results and present an accurate portrait of the local and regional business climate,” says the release.

Initially, the people conducting the interviews were going to be volunteers. However, at a recent meeting of the UCPR economic development committee, Champlain Township Mayor Gary Barton said his municipality was having difficulty recruiting people willing to do the work for free, according to the minutes of the meeting. Economic Development Director Carole Lavigne said the budget would allow for the surveyors to be paid $40 per survey. The United Counties is currently recruiting paid surveyors, and those interested can visit the project’s website:

The survey includes questions about the size of the business, the owner’s attitude about Prescott and Russell, and whether or not the business has plans to expand or downsize. The results will be anonymous, with surveyors signing non-disclosure agreements and all paper copies of the surveys destroyed within six months of the publication of a final report, which will not identify individuals, according to the OPRO website.