Hastings Highlands reveals plan to retain and support businesses


MAYNOOTH – A newly released report is providing a roadmap for the Municipality of Hastings Highlands, when it comes to retaining and expanding existing businesses.

It has been a year and a half in the making, but on March 29, the community unveiled its business retention and expansion report and survey results for Hastings Highlands.

The project cost a total of $60,000, with the municipality providing $20,000. Community Futures Development Corporation of North and Central Hastings and South Algonquin provided $10,000 and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs footed the rest of the bill, $30,000.

Over the past year, Program Coordinator Cathy Trimble worked with a leadership team and many volunteers to conduct interviews and collect surveys from a variety of businesses within the municipality.
“It’s an ongoing measurable program that focuses on growing and retaining our existing businesses,” she said of the project.

Of the 185 businesses physically located in the Municipality of Hastings Highlands, a sample size of 54 businesses were identified including 18 retail, 11 downtown Maynooth retail, six manufacturing, eight tourism, seven agriculture and seven natural resources. Businesses were represented from Birds Creek, Maple Leaf, Maynooth and Lake St. Peter.

Karen Fischer is the agriculture and rural economic development advisor with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). She said the business retention and expansion program started around 1998.

“Since then, upwards of 150 communities have used this program to really get a good sense of what is happening within the community,” she said.

Fischer is looking forward to continuing the process.

“Now that we have created this wonderful report with a series of action plans, now is when the rubber is going to hit the road,” Fischer explained.

Get your April 6, 2016 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.