NPEDAC priority plan report presented to council

NORTH PERTH – At the Municipality of North Perth council meeting on Oct. 17, the North Perth Economic Development Advisory Committee (NPEDAC) Priority Implementation Plan 2023 report was discussed.

In October 2021, NPEDAC submitted a report to council on a list of economic development priorities of importance to sectors of North Perth business.

These priorities include; youth retention and attraction; connectivity to internet for all businesses; affordable and attainable housing and; labour attraction and retention.

Council voted to receive the report and directed staff to include implementation of NPEDAC’s top two priorities in the 2023 budget proposal.

The comprehensive review and evaluation of North Perth economic development priorities was completed. A summary of the priorities, solutions, actions, resources and costs were included in this report. It also included the recommendations from the Agricultural Excellence Strategy as directed by council, when presented at the Sept. 12 meeting.

On Sept. 21, an extended NPEDAC meeting was held to narrow the associated actions for recommendation to North Perth council. NPEDAC agreed to select two priorities/actions. The topics that were selected had a high degree of consensus between members and will be included in proposals for the 2023 budget process.

The NPEDAC priorities and actions recommended for implementation during 2023 are Agriculture Technology and Innovation, Affordable and Attainable Housing tied with Agriculture Technology and Innovation. Therefore, there are three priorities/actions.

Agriculture Technology and Innovation looks at positioning for success. This includes establishing an agriculture and agri-business advisory forum, as well as working with the Perth County Federation of Agriculture to create an annual farm tour and roundtable event. Further, it aims to establish a centralized business and investment concierge service, while always linking the design and implementation of these services to the mandate of NPEDAC.

Affordable and Attainable housing looks for business partnerships in housing development. This will be done through exploring the community improvement plan and other policy options to support housing supports. Further, creating new app marketing on social channels and to businesses. And finally, a letter and meeting with the area MP/MPP to discuss needs and funding as well as policy support.

Agriculture Technology and Innovation aims to succeed by means of capacity building. Some actions included are mentoring this business savvy and forward-thinking sector with an eye for recruitment on municipal advisory forums. Additionally, it looks to adopt an integrated approach to municipal policy considerations and future projects by tasking advisory forums to make recommendations based on synergies with North Perth Farm and Food Forward vision. This section also wants to “review the mandate of the Set7 Skills and Technology North Perth and Region Learning Hub and proposed Agriculture Science Centre project to include skills development, educational outreach, mentoring and career matching features, in collaboration with local businesses and relevant provincial institutions and organizations,” as stated in the report.

The NPEDAC Priority Implementation Plan 2023 report was received by the council of the Municipality of North Perth at the Oct. 17 meeting, and staff are directed to include implementation of the NPEDAC top two (three) priorities and actions in the 2023 budget proposal.

Melissa Dunphy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner