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North Glengarry holding online virtual workshops to obtain public input on development strategy

The Township of North Glengarry is holding three workshops to aid in the creation of a new marketing strategy aimed at boosting the township’s population, which has declined over the past decade.

North Glengarry’s population fell by 1.4% between 2011 and 2016, according to Statistics Canada,  as the number of residents in the township dropped from 10,251 to 10,109. Those type of numbers are concerning and led to the creation of the township’s Community Development Committee, which is examining ways to lure residential and commercial development to the area.

“The idea behind the marketing and development plan is to give North Glengarry a roadmap in how to go about taking the future into our own hands,” says North Glengarry Deputy-Mayor Carma Williams. “(The committee) has a lot of members of the public on it and its mandate is to handle issues that will help move the township forward in terms of being more economically sustainable. (The objective is) to provide people in North Glengarry with a better quality of life, a better working environment and to be a place where people want to work and live.”

Williams says the committee has recently identified as a priority the need to market the township in order to promote it as a prime spot for both residential and commercial developers and believes there is no time like the present. She cites current work on the Alexandria water system and the recent completion of the Maxville water project as examples of areas in the region where infrastructure improvements have been prioritized to allow for expansion.

“The completion of the water project opens up (Maxville) for potential development; attracting people to this community – building houses hopefully – and growing our population,” Williams notes.

Declining population growth is not only a local problem, says Williams, adding colleagues from other rural municipalities in Ontario have discussed with her their own issues with boosting growth in both their populations and tax revenues.

“A lot of rural communities in Ontario have been struggling from a declining population and that needs to be reversed for us to be economically viable.”

The township has hired Kingston-based management consulting firm MDB Insight to assist with the marketing project, which is estimated to cost $30,000. The company specializes in economic and workforce development and has extensive experience in helping municipalities with residential and business growth.

“They’ve got an excellent track record and experience in managing these types of projects,” Williams commented. “What they’ve been hired to do is to create a strategic document that will be a tool which our staff will use (to guide development).”

The township is holding three Facebook Live online workshops from June 25-26 in order to seek input from the community business and visitors. Two workshops are being held on Thursday, June 25 – the first is from 1-3 p.m. for township residents only, while the second from 7-9 p.m. is for both residents and visitors to the community. The third virtual workshop is being held from 8-10 a.m. on Friday, June 26 and is geared towards businesses.

More information on the online workshops and instructions on how to register in order to participate live can be found on the Township of North Glengarry’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/northglengarry/ .

Reid Masson

Reid Masson is a graduate of Algonquin College's Journalism Program. He has over 20 years of experience as a staff writer and editor for various newspapers across Canada, including The Ottawa Citizen and Brockville Recorder and Times.

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