Champlain Township councillors reviewed hiring a consulting firm to prepare a corporate strategic plan and an economic development plan at their committee of the whole meeting on November 3. A recommendation to hire MDB Insight at a cost of  $$65,120 will be on the township’s regular meeting agenda on November 12.

As the township’s senior planner Jennifer Laforest explained, the consulting firm will prepare both plans and is starting from the ground up as these are the first plans of this type to be prepared for the municipality, which was formed in 1998 when four local municipalities (the Village of L’Orignal, the Town of Vankleek Hill, the Township of West Hawkebury and the Township of Longueuil) merged to form Champlain Township.

MDB Insight was chosen from five bidders for several reasons, she said. The firm’s familiarity with small municipalities and its understanding of rural economic development figured in the choice, which was made by an evaluation committee consisting of Champlain CAO Paula Knudsen, Clerk Alison Collard and Laforest.

Knudsen pointed out that the cost was more than the $30,000 budgeted for in the 2020 municipal budget because that estimate was preliminary and as Laforest pointed out, this study would cost more as there is no previous knowledge from which to start.

“This will provide an overarching plan with a vision and values and long-term planning and guidance for economic development,” said Knudsen, in addition to providing a corporate structure for the municipality.

The $30,000 allocated in the 2020 budget will be used for the project, with an additional $40,000 added in 2021.

Council noted that Martin Lacelle has been engaged by MDB Insight as part of the bilingual project team. MDB Insight is based in Kingston.

Lacelle is the former director of Tourisme Prescott-Russell Tourism.