Economic Development 101 workshop. April 17, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent).

Residents look to better economic development in CK

Community leaders involved in different sectors are coming together to create and enhance a Community Economic Development approach for Chatham-Kent.

A CED workshop was held on Wednesday, which saw about 30 people in attendance. The event was put on by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), in partnership with Chatham-Kent Economic Development.

“Your community needs to agree on which direction that it wants to take in order to grow,” said Jeff Kinsella, agriculture and rural economic development advisor with OMAFRA. “Through discussion, planning, and having a clear vision, your community can attract the right fit of businesses and people for the region.”

Some of the topics discussed at the workshop included ways to assess existing plans in the community and help people understand how they can contribute as a CED leader.

“The session made the key point of developing and strengthening our partnerships with formal agencies such as Chambers of Commerce and BIA’s, and also with more of the residents so that we can better understand the kind of development they want to focus on in Chatham-Kent,” said Stuart McFadden, director of Chatham-Kent Economic Development. “It was positive to hear that changes we have recently made to the Economic Development team are in line with strategies recommended and will help us keep an even better pulse on the community.”

Kinsella said it’s important for different community groups to work together — especially during a time when economic demands are changing.

“As an example, Ontario and many parts of Canada are going through drastic labour change demands because of record low unemployment rates, with some regions nearing 1 percent. How the community adapts will be vital for the success of their growth,” said Kinsella.

Residents who are interested in sitting in on future workshops are encouraged to visit or call Economic Development at 519-351-7700.