Augusta Council gives go ahead on a joint request for proposal (RFP) with the Town of Prescott for a joint economic development study.

Augusta Council gives go ahead on a joint request for proposal (RFP) with the Town of Prescott for a joint economic development study.

Augusta Matters by Mayor Doug Malanka

(As published in the South Grenville Journal – Wednesday, July 8, 2020)

At a special Council meeting held on Monday, July 6th, 2020 Council approved a motion authorizing the Township’s CAO, Ray Morrison, to draft for Council approval a joint request for proposal (RFP) with the Town of Prescott for the conduct of an economic development study in support of an economic development strategy.  It was noted in the report that accompanied the motion that we are seeing an increase in the speed of real estate transactions in our area based on a number of factors ranging from centrality of location to favourable land costs relative to several nearby major population centres of Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto of over one million people each.  It was further noted that the quantity and quality of inquiries from developers, investors, and other prospective buyers of agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial lands across our municipality have been rising steadily, and we believe that Augusta is poised to benefit from economic growth and prosperity in the decade ahead. Finally, Council was told in the report that the study will be valuable for our municipality to position itself with progressive strategic and economic development plans which reflect the short-and long-range goals of our Council and community members. These plans will be based on the knowledge gained through our Service Delivery Review and development of our Community Improvement Plan, both of which are in progress.

As noted in the staff report, commercial and industrial economic development in Augusta and Prescott is expected to primarily occur in “areas of employment” between the St. Lawrence River and County Road 26; and between County Road 15 and our eastern municipal boundaries.  A comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for our entire municipality will enable residential growth, growth for small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs), home-based businesses, our agricultural and bio-industrial sectors as well as commercial and industrial development in “areas of employment” to be evaluated in this joint Economic Development Study.  The economic development study will assist in the development of our economic development strategy and will require a multidisciplinary team to review current and future infrastructure, land and water use and availability and infrastructure servicing options.  In terms of timelines it is hoped that: the RFP will be developed by the end of the July, issued and proposals received by August 2020, evaluated in September, awarded in October 2020, with the study occurring between November 2020 and March 2021.  April 2021 onwards will see implementation of an economic development strategy.

A short time after Augusta Township’s Council meeting, Mayor Todd of Town of Prescott advised me that his Council had just unanimously approved a similar motion.  It’s worth noting that this is not about amalgamating our municipalities, but is a partnership initiative to attract agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial development into our municipalities to grow our region in terms of economic development, jobs and quality of life and well‑being issues.  I look forward to working with Prescott towards goals that mutually and fairly benefit both of our Municipalities.

Council was also advised that the Maynard waste management site will be closed effective July 6, 2020 for paving of the parking and unloading area.  The North Augusta waste management depot will be open throughout the week to ensure services remain available to all residents.