Group gets updates on business in Grey Highlands

Questions about the proposal for lower Talisman lands and a municipal update took most time at the Economic Development Advisory Group’s on Tuesday, Apr. 16.

The group’s mandate is to make recommendations to council about what would support business development. It meets quarterly.


An update had been scheduled on how the zoning bylaw and the official plan affect development.

The manager of planning Matt Rapke resigned for a job in the private sector, so the plan is to have the Acting Manager of Planning Andrew Payne at the next meeting for a background discussion.

The group is considering if there are matters it wants to bring forward to council about those documents. There is an ongoing zoning bylaw update.

There is a sub-committee focused on zoning and the official plan.

Key points at its meeting included mixed use zoning, affordable housing, inclu­sionary zoning and trans­portation, C4 zoning and industrial zoning and taxes, the ability to amend the bylaw and sustainable balance between recreation and business.

Helmut Mayer and Tracy Nurmi were at the sub-committee meeting. He said that without the planner and seeing the zoning areas on the map it was difficult to comment.


Grey County has received a planning document for the Lower Talisman land, committee chair, Deputy Mayor Dane Nielsen noted. The Grey County planner hopes to have the public meeting could be in May or June, Deputy Mayor Dane Nielsen said.

The more open the process the better because of the concern that has been expressed in the past, said Helmut Mayer.

Eric Robertson asked if the EDAG could come up with a position to share during the process, to which the Deputy Mayor said he did not think would be outside the realm of the committee.

The next time the EDAG meets is June, and the Beaver Valley Development Group proposal will be on the agenda.

It was noted that the county staff will make a report following the public meeting and circulating to other commenting bodies.


At a meeting with the Niagara Escarpment last week, the municipality learned from the NEC planners that its plan is “silent” on short-term accommodations, said Michele Harris. The plan will be updated in 2025, and is expected to address that.

Staff met with OMAFRA about the Business Retention & Expansion program for on-farm diversified use. They are looking at questions to ask to get information to shape economic development support.

The Excellence in Manufacturing consortium in Owen Sound is very interested in on-farm shops as well, she said. The study will start in early summer, with hopes to involve 75 businesses.


Province is looking for information as it develops a rural economic development strategy, Ms Harris said. She said that the municipality will encourage its business stakeholders to participate.


At the previous meeting in February, staff member Michele Harris laid out the priorities set for 2024 in economic and community development. The topics outside of what came up at the April meeting were:

- introducing a Business Visitation Program;

- focus on settlement areas;

- look into a Municipal Accommodation Tax for Grey Highlands;

- research opportunities for local food and agri-tourism product development.

- investigate establishing an industrial business park.

- create materials to showcase the business and economic opportunities in Grey Highlands.

Two other items, changes to add micro-grants to the Community Improvement Plan grant program and moving forward with Beaver Valley Sustainable Tourism Strategy have been covered in the Advance. The yearly CIP budget is less for 2024, with Grey Highlands making its $25,000 commitment, but the Grey County contribution ending.

Regrets were received from committee members Mayor McQueen, Tracy Nurmi, and Stewart Halliday.

Mr. Mayer asked if there was any difference between this group being called a “group” rather than a committee. The answer was that the acronym was changed because there is a sector group called EDAC, which is a broader group, and it was done to avoid confusion of two EDACs.

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Flesherton Advance