All about life in Renfrew County.
Economic development manager Alastair Baird tells county council about the county’s economic development website at www.ottawavalleyliving.com.
Steve Newman, Renfrew Mercury
Members of Renfrew County’s department of development and property not only hope more families and businesses put down roots in the Ottawa Valley in coming years. They also hope they come with help from the county’s very own economic development website.
The county’s economic development link connects to www.ottawavalleyliving.com where a myriad of statistics about living, working and playing in Renfrew County can be found. The county’s own website is www.countyofrenfrew.on.ca.
Alastair Baird, the county’s manager of economic development, attended the Jan. 30 meeting of Renfrew County council to present an overview of the development website.
He gave a quick overview of the type of statistics one would find on the website, which has been assembled primarily by McSweeney and Associates (Ottawa) since the fall of 2011.
“I like that the information is readily available … rather than having to request it by letter or email,” County Warden Peter Emon told The Renfrew Mercury EMC. “It takes any delays out of the process.”
The county pays an updating fee for the website’s material, including data from Statistics Canada and other government sources.
“We’re getting all this data that is typically requested by investors and site-relocation people,” said Baird. “So that information is now easily accessible and usable.”
Other users include retail and service providers.
The data appears under several categories of www.ottawavalleyliving.com including education, labour force development, demographics, utilities, taxes, market access, labour force working ages, major employers and military bases, incentives and services, economic development plans, and elected officials.
Data is available for both the County of Renfrew and each of its municipalities, including the City of Pembroke and the aboriginal community of Pikwakanagan.
Baird showed council members examples of the website data, including 13,000 Renfrew County residents who speak English and French, and the number of people in the 25-64 age group with post-secondary education — 56,200.
The latter led to the question about why there wasn’t a listing for an older age group, since many individuals over age 65 operate or contribute to Renfrew county businesses.
McNab-Braeside Mayor Mary Campbell agreed, noting there’s a high percentage of people over 65 running businesses in her municipality.
Baird said he’s willing to address any of the county’s municipal councils about the content and the best ways to use the economic development website.
Killaloe, Hagarty & Richards Mayor Janice Visneskie said she’s been waiting for this type of usable data for years. “I will be asking you to come to our council meeting because it’s very useful information,” Visneskie told Baird.
Madawaska Valley Mayor Dave Shulist said he found the data “really, really beneficial. It’s all about power, and having the strength to make decisions” about economic development.
Shulist, a long-time supporter of the Kashubian culture, also asked why the spoken languages listed for Renfrew County didn’t include Kashub.