April 21, 2014
Every few months, councillors across the three cities, four townships, and the Region get together to focus on issues of common concern. Last Wednesday, we talked about a new focus on attracting more sports tourism, successes in attracting foreign investment, and how the region is meeting or exceeding its growth targets.
The most significant conversation was about the draft report on our first common economic development strategy, which is now available for public review and comments.
We know that our community is strong in information and communication technology, financial services, advanced manufacturing, and the agri-food industry. What we’ve also heard is that our municipalities can be hard to navigate for businesses looking to start or grow, we don’t have enough ready-to-go land available, and the individual municipalities in the region lack enough trust to work well together. The intent of the strategy and its action plan is to address these challenges.
The fact that eight councils have all agreed to embark on this common strategy shows that we can set aside parocial interests and work together. The draft strategy has also highlighted that the diversity of economic strengths across the eight municipalities makes us more competitive and resilient. In my remarks, I added that our ability to collaborate and support each other to create new sectors that blend our existing strengths is what will help us continue to succeed economically. Examples of this are everywhere in our community, and means more and better jobs for everyone in Waterloo Region.
Before Councils come together on June 19th to review the final draft, the public has an opportunity to to comment. An open house is scheduled for May 15 at the Waterloo Region Museum off Homer Watson Blvd from 4 – 8 p.m. Please drop in, or share your thoughts directly with the team through the strategy’s website.