Augusta gets feedback on its portion of the joint Business and Retention and Expansion (BR&E) carried jointly by the Counties and participating Municipalities

Augusta gets feedback on its portion of the joint Business and Retention and Expansion (BR&E) carried jointly by the Counties and participating Municipalities

Augusta Matters by Mayor Doug Malanka

On March 19, 2019, members of Augusta Council, County and Municipal Staff and Business Owners and Operators in Augusta attended a session held at the MERC Hall to receive the results from the Augusta Township BR&E portion of the joint Counties and participating Municipalities.  The data that came from the survey was presented by Ann Weir, Economic Development Manager, U.C.L.G.; Shelbi McFarlane, Business Development Officer, U.C.L.G.; and Katie Nolan, Rural Economic Development.  The last step of the half-day exercise was for the group to consider the data and identify and prioritize action that could be taken to strengthen businesses in Augusta.  This lively and enjoyable session was led by Eric Lockhart, Assistant Director, Queen’s Executive Decision Centre.

One of the many actions to strengthen BR&E in Augusta discussed at the meeting was to provide and promote opportunities for Business to Business (B2B) networking.  Bill Pakeman, President of W. A Pakeman and Associates Ltd. and former Councillor in Augusta was a strong proponent of this and subsequently volunteered to take the lead in organizing the initial B2B for Augusta.  Bill attended Monday’s April 1st Economic Development & Tourism Committee (EDTC) meeting and proposed to the Committee that B2B meetings could be held monthly or every second month according to the desire of participants.  He suggested that the objectives for the B2B meetings would be to promote business to business sales and referrals with the business community in the Township of Augusta and to provide feedback to the Mayor and Council through the (EDTC) of Council chaired by Councillor Tanya Henry on areas of success and areas of concerns.  Bill Pakeman further proposed that attendees to the B2B meetings should include business owners or their representatives, the Mayor or a member of Council and members of the EDTC.  Bill also proposed to the EDTC that meetings could be held at no cost to the B2B members at the Township Library, the MERC Hall, Roebuck Hall, North Augusta Recreation Hall, Maynard Recreation Hall and Council Chambers.

To keep things in order and productive, Bill recommended that the B2B meetings follow the rules and regulations used by Township committee meeting, that a Chair be elected by B2B members in Augusta Township and that a secretary be elected by the group to take minutes and send them to the EDTC for action.  Bill further proposed that the B2B meetings could invited guest speakers on  subjects of common interest for 5 minutes and permit members to mingle, talk and share ideas for about a half hour.  Totally, meetings would not be expected to last more than an hour.  I greatly appreciate Bill Pakeman agreeing to get this off the ground and look forward to Council’s discussion of the matter at the April 8th Council meeting.  I hope that Council and businesses in Augusta Township will get on board and support this idea.