Downtown Revitalization is a four-stage initiative focused on providing communities with the resources and knowledge needed to stimulate investment and reinvestment in traditional downtown districts.
Since 2005, over 70 communities across rural Ontario have used and been supported by OMAFRA’s Downtown Revitalization program and resources. Continue reading Snapshot of 2018 Downtown Revitalization Community Report Card
Planning a 2-day regional local food event is no easy task, especially when it includes:
- three separate culinary tours
- a local food reception, and
- a full day program that with a dozen sessions and thirty-seven speakers
The planning process takes time, an incredibly skilled and committed team, and fantastic host communities.
Luckily, this year’s Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference had all these elements, resulting in an ambitious, inspiring program that was delivered to over 200 attendees. The event took place on November 13 and 14, and was co-hosted by the City of Cornwall and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. The theme, “Growing Communities Together”, was demonstrated through the program, which included French and English resources, and topics that integrated Canadian-newcomer and Indigenous perspectives. Continue reading Food, fun and friendship at the 2019 Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference
Our previous blog post, Why Your Community Should Invest In Accessibility, discussed why accessibility is an important economic and social consideration. Investing in accessible spaces may seem like a large undertaking. However, rural communities in Ontario are proving that building accessible community centres and parks is not only achievable, but also has significant benefits for residents and the surrounding region. The towns of Southampton and Elmira offer excellent examples of communities that have seen the social and economic benefits of investing in accessibility. Continue reading The benefits of accessible recreation extend beyond the playground
First impressions can be tough! When getting ready for an interview, you could spend hours preparing for questions, choosing the perfect outfit and researching the organization! But what about communities? How can communities prepare to ensure that tourists, investors and potential residents have a positive impression upon their initial visit?
This two-part blog series will discuss why community accessibility is an important component that economic development professionals should consider when evaluating how their community fares for first-time-visitors. Continue reading Why your community should invest in accessibility
There are thirty-five speakers coming to share their knowledge and passion for local food at the 2019 Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference, November 13-14 in Cornwall.
And I dearly wish that I could tell you about each and every one of them. Because they are incredible. Unfortunately, this blog is not a novel, and I can’t possibly do them justice here. So, I have the horrible task of choosing just a few to tell you about. Here it goes… Continue reading Speaker Line-up You Won’t Want to Miss at the Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference!
It seems simple, right? Interview a bunch of businesses, and then do what they told you to do. There! A Business Retention + Expansion (BR+E) project!
BR+E projects are complex, multi-stakeholder efforts with many moving parts. They need a strong foundation, good partnerships and a healthy dose of flexibility.
At the Ontario East Municipal Conference, three economic developers shared their hard-won wisdom about managing a successful Business Retention + Expansion project. All three had recently completed county-wide BR+E projects with various levels of involvement from lower tier partners. Continue reading Zen and the Art of Business Retention and Expansion
Continuing with our series of blogs on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Downtown Revitalization Program, this entry will take a look at the potential benefits and impacts of a revitalization program.
Downtown Revitalization (DR) can be costly and time-consuming, with positive impacts emerging only over the longer-term. As the figure from the DR Coordinator’s Manual shows, economic impacts are not expected until the medium-term in a downtown revitalization program, with new market trends (e.g. e-commerce) necessitating a long-term commitment to ensure sustainability. Though time frames remain a key challenge, downtown revitalization programs also contend with the perception that their benefits are “local” to the downtown area, rather than the broader community. Continue reading Understanding the Benefits of a Downtown Revitalization Program
There are six community pastures located across northern Ontario. Partnerships between organizations and the provincial government were instrumental in the formation of the pastures. In the early 2000’s the Association of Community Pastures (ACP) was created and they subsequently ownership of some of these pastures. The pastures are available for farmers to rent for the summer, allowing them to increase their herd by providing extra grazing opportunities. Community pastures are also used as sites for research and information workshops.
Economic benefits of community pastures
Since the first community pasture was established in the early 1960’s, they have come to provide a source of economic benefit to the communities where they are located. To see what kind of overall benefit community pastures have for the northern Ontario, data was collected for all six of the pastures in 2016.
Charges for using the pasture is done in one of two ways; either a flat rate per animal/animal pairs for the season, or a per-day rate. Table 1 shows the number of animals at each location and the rental rates charged in 2016.
It is clear that there is consistent positive revenue being generated by the northern community pastures. Overall the pastures benefit communities by providing jobs and allowing farmers an opportunity to increase the livestock they raise and subsequently increase their revenues.
Table 2 highlights the overall financial impact of the community pastures in 2016 (based on the assumption that the sale of Cow/Calf pairs and bulls to be $1200 and sale of yearlings to be $1500), which also generates jobs, and benefits the local economy.
In summary, community pastures demonstrate economic benefits by contributing to local research, and positively impacting the economy though the generation of profit from hosting the cattle on pasture, generating jobs, and increasing a farmers revenue opportunities.
Authored by Barry Potter and Kaitlyn Schenk
Meetings are an essential part of conducting the business of any board or organization. Meetings provide the forum for discussion and making decisions on programs and initiatives. Having a structure for running meetings will minimize distractions (i.e. participants talk off topic, monopolize discussion time, have difficulty making decisions or fail to respect the contributions of others).
It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that: Continue reading Chairing Effective Board Meetings
The “first ever” report of this kind, establishes a baseline of the economic and social contribution of Business Improvement Areas to Ontario’s communities.
The Return on Investment of Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) project was spearheaded by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) and Toronto Area Business Improvement Association (TABIA) and funded through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs (MMA).
The primary goal of the year-long project was to:
- Establish a set of common indicators for BIAs across Ontario
- Create a pool of tools and metrics for BIAs to share their impact and analyze trends
- Understand what is happening in Ontario’s downtowns and mainstreets
- Outline existing gaps in the data base and how to go about filling them
The consultative process throughout the project was extensive and included a broad range of input from a full spectrum of BIAs, municipalities, and other stakeholders.
“Our goal was to provide the over 310 BIAs across Ontario with the understanding they need to manage and grow their capacity to be vital partners to their members, to their communities and to their municipalities,”
– Kay Matthews, OBIAA’s Executive Director.
The ROI Report identifies that BIAs are:
- Unique in scale and geography
- Big on passion
- Ground Zero for business innovation and incubation because they support small businesses
Here are some key observations from the report:
- BIAs can drive employment, with the survey of 162 BIAs across the province highlighting BIAs that are attracting notable levels of employment to an area (increased the daytime population by over 800% in one BIA), and BIAs that account for a significant proportion (ranging from 0.2:1 to 0.9:1) of the jobs in a community.
- An average of 6% of BIA membership represents new businesses.
- Based on Real Estate Board data, the cost of a single family home or condominium within 500m of a BIA rose on average 46% between 2011 and 2016.
- 75% of BIAs have a significant stock of properties that are either heritage-designated or of heritage interest.
- BIAs produce an estimated total of 1200 events each year, and another 1300 produced by other community organizations land within the BIA boundaries.
- Over half (55%) of reporting BIAs had members leveraging façade programs, generating an average 2.5:1 private sector to municipality investment ratio with an average of $0.17 per capita invested
Continue reading Ontario Business Improvement Areas Releases Return ON Investment Report