Organized by the Community and Economic Development Committee, participants were briefed on progress achieved since the last meeting on September 11, 2010 by Nicolle Guthrie, Community Cultural Programmer and Diane Smithson, Chief Administrative Officer of the Town. Work on the Almonte Community Centre was completed, the Wastewater Treatment Plant is underway,the Skateboard Park is available now and the Arts and Cultural Committee received a $26,000.grant from the Ontario Government's Creative Communities and Prosperity Fund for a town cultural assessment.
Andrew Redden, Economic Development Manager of Hastings County, provided an exciting picture of a county with a large rural area and his work to promote the development of new businesses and industries.
Hastings has a population of 38,900 and given Andrew Redden's leadership has been successful in such target areas as agri-business products such as artisan cheese and beer brewing factories, as well as forestry and wood products. Tourism investment, retail and personal services and encouraging creative entrepreneurs are also target fields.
As well as seeking and gaining considerable development grants, Hastings County has also joined the Ontario East Economic Development Group; worth looking into for Mississippi Mills?
For the rest of the morning the 58 participants engaged in the process of developing the key objectives for the coming one to two years within the Cultural Development Plan, the Environmental Plan, the Social Development Plan and the Economic Improvement Plan.
Individuals were then asked to write down the one realistic achievable objective which could have the "most significant and positive impact on the future development of our town"
The objectives were discussed in several table groups and finally the top three objectives of each group were recorded. These were posted on the stage, considered by each participant and the most popular were decided by vote:
1. Develop a Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan
2. Hire an Economic Development Officer
3. Increase garbage/waste diversion rate from 27% to 37%.
Arnie Francis, Chair of the Community and Economic Development Committee thanked all the facilitators and participants and indicated that he and the Committee will oversee and promote the actions required.
It was agreed that the morning was well-spent with friendly agreements and disagreements ensuring interesting discussion.