Housing one of the issues at the Economic Development Summit


The 13th annual Leeds Grenville Economic Development Summit brought 250 viewers together from business leaders, municipal, provincial and federal government officials, as well as not-for-profit and support service representatives.

The day-long live webcast included a joint presentation by 3M Canada Brockville and Greenfield Global Johnstown on their multi-million dollar local investments in the past year to increase N95 respirators and medical grade alcohol production in the continued fight against COVID-19.

“We’re extremely proud of our part in this effort,” said Rich Muir, Plant Director at 3M Canada Brockville. The new N95 respirator facility was built ahead of schedule. It has produced more than a million respirators since production began seven months ago.
Greenfield Global Plant Manager, Brendan Bland, said the Johnstown site was the first plant in Canada to receive approval to produce technical grade alcohol. “We produced more than four million litres in the first month,” Mr. Bland said. The facility is currently undergoing a major expansion to be finished next year. Once completed, the Johnstown site will be able to produce 100-million litres per year.

“I can attest to the strength this region has exhibited,” Warden Roger Haley said when welcoming attendees to the Summit from throughout eastern Ontario and upper New York State.

The Counties Economic Development Office hosts the event in partnership with Michael Barrett, M.P., and MPP Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the 1000 Islands, Valley Heartland, and Grenville Community Futures Development Corporations, and the Eastern Workforce Innovation Board.

“We’ve had a strong turnout again this year, with 250 views, and we hope to be back to an in-person summit in 2022,” said Ann Weir, Economic Development Manager for the Counties.

The live webcast featured a keynote address: “Ontario’s Housing – Bringing Affordability home” by Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association. Mr. Hudak was joined by local Rideau-St. Lawrence Real Estate Board President-Elect, Dana Pearce, to provide a local perspective.

While there were more home starts in 2020 in Ontario than there has been in the past two decades, Mr. Hudak said there is still a need to increase supply across the province. In Leeds Grenville, the lack of supply and rise in demand translates into a home that sold for $273,000 two years ago now selling for more than $500,000, Ms. Pearce said.

A panel of local education and training leaders discussed initiatives underway to address workforce challenges. Panelists included Superintendent of Schools, Susan Rutters, of the Upper Canada District School Board Eastern Region Education Centre; Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO of St. Lawrence College; and Shannon Liscumb, Director of CSE Consulting.

A new feature added to the event over the lunch hour was Chefs of Leeds Grenville – Local Flavours, featuring Natalie Castellas of Catered Affairs in Kemptville and Karen Marx of Furnace Falls Farm Retreat near Lyndhurst. The afternoon portion of the agenda included interactive chat rooms.

If you missed this event, a recording will be posted soon to the event webpage.
Please mark your calendar for the 2022 Leeds Grenville Economic Development Summit on Friday, November 18, 2022.


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