John Edwards: Development in Mississippi Mills

John Edwards

With steady and able municipal leadership over many years, and good infrastructure investment, Mississippi Mills has become well-known across Ontario as a top place to visit, and/or live. Development is being achieved in our community with careful planning to strengthen the quality of life and quality of place for all. The symmetry between growth and maintaining our community’s small-town ambiance, rural lifestyles, agricultural lands and rich heritage has been/and continues to be a major focus for me.

Development and quality of life/quality of place are not opposites, both are necessary and complimentary ingredients towards fostering a creative and resilient community that is a desirable place to live and visit. I strongly believe that through responsible heritage preservation, cultural enhancement, agricultural protection and environmental stewardship, the needs and expectations of residents and visitors can be maintained and enhanced.

At the heart of every good functioning council and community is the creating and sharing of a vision. This is not to say there is unanimity on the way forward, however, councillors must meaningfully engage and understand the hopes and concerns of all community members, across all demographics, in order to find harmony.

Successes related to development recently accomplished in Mississippi Mills:

  • An attractive heritage downtown which promotes a strong sense of place, enhances local cultural life, fosters community identity and celebrates local history.
  • Investments in agricultural lands to protect, preserve and enhance farming lifestyles and production.
  • Tens of millions of dollars of construction, annually.
  • Good sales of land in the business park, which continues to promote a diverse and resilient local economy, and creates local job opportunities.

At the same time as welcoming private sector investments in our community, the municipality has maintained existing environmental and agricultural protections, worked towards improving pedestrian and bicycle friendly options, and expanded recreation and cultural opportunities. Whether its business investors or new resident investors, the balanced development model that Mississippi Mills has to offer, is sought after.

Some of my goals related to economic development in Mississippi Mills: 

  • Build upon the diversity, strengths and potential of the community;
    ie: agriculture, retail, tourism, business services, industry, arts and culture, recreation, health care, etc.
  • Add to the home-based business sector through high-speed internet and cell service upgrades.
  • Promote and retain the Almonte Heritage District as a key driver of investment, tourist attraction and a commercial focal point where residents and visitors are welcomed.
  • Support local art and craftsmanship, our four museums and cultural/recreational activities.
  • Promote health & wellness as a social and economic goal. A healthy community is good for business.
  • Encourage the use of motorized and non-motorized transportation by addressing safe and easy ways to access public spaces and connect to rural environments and neighborhoods.
  • Support responsible business park endeavors and private supply of land to meet demands of traditional and commercial business investors. 

Some of my design and land use goals:

  • Protect agricultural land from encroaching rural residential development
  • Continue to manage existing residential growth rate so development does not outpace our ability to service it
  • Use the existing 600+ potential severances—and encourage neighborhoods that support diversity and affordability while protecting agricultural land and natural ecosystems
  • Encourage rural development solutions which enhance the existing Ramsay hamlets (Appleton, Blakeney, Clayton) and support initiatives that enrich the character and foster community identity as these places become local hubs.
  • Use the Heritage Conservation District guidelines to encourage attractive and appropriately-scaled development in the Almonte HCD
  • Strengthen safe pedestrian and bicycle friendly options that minimize the need for driving.
  • Minimize conflict between new developments and existing established communities.

My commitment to our local government is to practise stewardship of public assets and public trust, and to be optimistically pragmatic in creating economic, social, cultural, agricultural and environmental well-being for today and tomorrow.

What do you want Mississippi Mills to look like in 20 years?

Find me on Facebook at: John Edwards for Mississippi Mills, or by email at: jhedwards@canoekayak.ca