With a deep interest in the economic prospects for North Grenville, I gave a careful read of James Bertram’s piece which asked where is the proof of economic growth?
Let me say I agree completely with his assertion. To facilitate economic development anywhere (national, provincial, local), you need to base your efforts on evidence. He is also correct in asserting that good qualitative and quantitative information is the foundation for that evidence.
Looking at some numbers, the 2020 budget shows just over $311K being spent on economic development which represents just over 1.4% of the total North Grenville budget. I note this as Mr. Bertram makes reference to the “relatively large sums” spent on economic growth. If we are to start to move the North Grenville tax base to one that is less reliant on residential taxation, some amount needs to be spent. Ultimately it is up to each taxpayer to decide if this is a large amount or not and whether this spending is generating a return on investment.
I appreciated his point that perhaps the previous council had a better approach by setting aside funds for future infrastructure. Work is now proceeding on the expansion of municipal waste water treatment facility and highway 43. It would seem current council is ticking that box in a big way that supports current and future economic development.
Ultimately we do need evidence; benchmarks, performance indicators, and as much data as we can muster. At times this may require some outside expertise to supplement the efforts of staff, though Mr. Bertram seems to feel that this may not be the best use of funds. This seems like a bit of a contradiction.
As I see it, this relatively new council has been moving in the right direction overall on the economic front. It has shown itself to be believers in being guided by evidence just as Mr. Bertram wants and while ensuring North Grenville is getting a good return on investment now, and in the future.