Collaboration Goes a Long Way: Huron County-wide Economic Development Planning Project

Successful regional economic development planning achieved thanks to the “Train the Trainer” program developed by the Regional Economic Development Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

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Vicki Lass, Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor, presenting at the 2016 ORGA/ROMA annual conference

Gone are the days of planning in silos for the municipalities in Huron County. In 2014, the County began the challenging process of re-structuring their entire Economic Development department and also created an Economic Development Board comprised of leaders from across the business community. The first order of business was to develop a comprehensive strategic plan. Working together, all ten municipal partners and community representatives achieved economic development plans that are integrated county-wide.

Key Factors for the project success:

  1. Influential Leadership
  2. Time Commitment
  3. Agreement on Common Elements

Project Outcomes

As of January 2016, seven of the 10 municipal partners have their council’s endorsement for the economic development strategic plans developed by the respective core teams.

  • The County of Huron has aligned its economic development strategic plan and staff to reflect municipal partner priorities.
  • Lines of communication are open and municipal partners are still communicating post training.
  • Over 350 residents of Huron County have a greater understanding of economic development and existing infrastructure and support programming that exists county-wide because of this project.
  • Municipal partners that did not previously see economic development opportunities are now visioning possibilities and strategic partnerships with neighbouring municipalities.
  • Idea sharing and opportunities for future partnerships amongst municipalities was fostered.
  • Capacity for strategic planning in Huron County has grown through the training of facilitation skills and knowledge of the strategic planning process.

Read the full article highlighting the project: pages 39-41 Milestones Conference 2016: Combined OGRA/ROMA Conference magazine.

If you are interested in this strategic planning Train-the-Trainer activity for your municipality, county or region, please contact Helen Scutt at OMAFRA, helen.scutt@ontario.ca or 519-826-3115.

Authors:
Helen Scutt, Agriculture Organization Specialist, OMAFRA
Vicki Lass, Agricultural and Rural Economic Development Advisor, OMAFRA
Natasha Fritzley, Economic Development Manager, County of Huron

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