Augusta Township Moves Forward on Economic Development Initiatives

Augusta Township Moves Forward on Economic Development Initiatives

Augusta Matters by Mayor Doug Malanka

(As published in the South Grenville Journal – Thursday, August 27, 2020)

At its Augusta Council held on Monday, August 24th, 2020, Council approved several initiatives aimed at improving the economic prosperity and well-being of the Township and its residents.  One such initiative included the approval of a motion to rezone the existing lot in Riverview Heights at 1686 County Road 2 (location of the former Alpine Lodge).  The application to rezone the property was to make way for a project called Augusta Landing by its proponent Rob Thompson Developments Ltd.  The subject property is approximately 4.03 acres in size and has approximately 70 m frontage on the north side of County Road 2, across from the St. Lawrence River. The property abuts the Town of Prescott, which has indicated it wishes to cooperate with respect to servicing the 20-unit proposed development.  The proposed residential condominium development is to be comprised of two, two-storey stacked townhouse buildings, with one containing twelve units (six up and six down) and the other containing eight units (four up and four down), for a total of twenty units on the subject property. The site is to include a six-meter-wide private access road from County Road 2 with individual driveway accesses provided to the top floor unit in each building. Tenant parking for each unit is provided in both detached and attached garages at a rate of one per unit. Visitor parking is provided on uncovered surface areas, in a designated area of six spaces and within driveways.

Council approved a motion that directed staff to prepare a letter of support to the Digital Main Street (DMS) program stating our willingness to partner with the Town of Prescott and the Township of Edwardsburgh Cardinal in the DMS grant program.  Digital Main Street is a program and service that helps main street businesses achieve digital transformation. The Digital Service Squad consists of highly trained graduates who assist main street businesses to grow and manage their business through the adoption of digital tools and technology.  DMS has a grant program for Business Improvement Areas to create a Digital Service Squad (DSS) for local “Main Street” areas, which are essentially commercial cores/rural destination nodes within our Settlement Areas containing commercially-zoned properties in reasonably close proximity; particularly where there are congregating commercial uses, and where patrons are able to walk comfortably between those commercial businesses. The grant is funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario.  The grant covers equipment, marketing, travel, cell phone costs, PPE, and squad member salary. The funding amount is determined based on $250 per eligible business (potential reach). An eligible business is located on a Main Street with appropriate commercial zoning and other businesses in walking distance; has 1-10 employees (1-25 employees for a restaurant or bar); and is not a chain or franchise. Staff estimate that Augusta Township has up to 15 eligible businesses, which equates to a possible $3,750 in funding.

Staff advised Council that the Town of Prescott and Township of Edwardsburgh Cardinal have expressed an interest in partnering with Augusta Township in a South Grenville application. The application would be made by Prescott’s Economic Development Officer, with support and input from Augusta and Edwardsburgh Cardinal staff.  Efficiencies can be found in hiring, training, administration and in purchasing technology to do a better job of reaching our businesses. The Town of Prescott would require a letter of support from Augusta Township to accompany the grant application.  The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville would also support a South Grenville application and would share resources in marketing and training exercises with the South Grenville group.  The Digital Service Squad Grant Program does not require the municipality to match funds or pay for a percentage of the costs. 100% of eligible costs are covered by the program.

A third initiate approved by Augusta Council was the designation of the Township of Augusta and all lands within Augusta’s municipal boundaries as a Community Improvement Project Area.  Council also voted to adopt the municipality’s first Community Improvement Plan (CIP) entitled, “In View”.  More information will be provided in connection with this in an upcoming column.