Affordable housing and workforce attraction will continue to be a major focal point for Prince Edward County heading into 2017.
On Thursday, the Community and Economic Development Commission (CEDC) presented a year end report to the committee of the whole outlining successes in 2016 and challenges for the new year.
In late 2015, the CEDC identified a series of priorities within the 2014 Community Development Strategic Plan that it intended to work towards in 2016.
Director of Community Development Neil Carbone said housing and jobs continue to be challenges adding they go hand in hand when attracting new residents and keeping existing ones in the municipality.
To help solve those work force challenges in the coming year more attention will be put on the skilled trades department, working with Career Edge and Loyalist College, continuing to grow its job board and growing resident attraction through the new ‘Build a New Life’ campaign.
The ‘Build a new life campaign’ is being touted as a big success for 2016. Carbone said the campaign was intended to be a place where the public could share good news about their successes, in turn challenging others to ‘build a new life.’ Through that they were able to map everyone’s interest and interact with them.
Data obtained concluded people from outside the area aged 20 to 44 are showing a huge interest in the County. The greatest engagement is from people between the ages of 35 to 44 at 24.3%. It also shows the greatest demographic living in the County is those between the ages of 45 to 79. (See graph below).
The report also outlined many successes including $2.5 million in earned media, 60 new business leads representing $32 million, 66 new business starts and expansions plus $22,000 in private funding.
Moving into the new year, the focus will also be on visitor services including a new tourism website, agriculture partnerships, continued outreach, The Roc Yes Program and heritage preservation. Also physician recruitment and retention will be a focal point in the 2017 budget along with the Age Friendly Community Plan.