A consultant has been contracted to develop a fresh economic development plan for the Cape Breton Region Municipality that will define targets for the coming 15 years and create a surrounding attractive to entrepreneurs and businesses.
Dillon Consulting will introduce the CBRM Forward project this coming week. Over the next 2 years, the project will incorporate business growth with changes to municipal planning and zoning bylaws.
Mayor Amanda McDougall said she is looking forward to the process commencing.
“It is an exciting time,”
she said after a presentation to council Tuesday by the consultants.
“There is going to be amazing amounts of consultation and outreach and a really thoughtful process that is undertaken over a good time span of two years to really move forward with this.”
Tyler Mattheis, economic development officer for the CBRM Regional Enterprise Network, said it is not frequent that economic development plans are crafted along with municipal planning and zoning rules.
“I think council’s showing a lot of foresight and vision in this, and we’re really excited about it,” he said.
Public input key to the project
Dillon Consulting won the tender to develop the strategy for CBRM at an initial cost of $217,391.
Jennifer Brown, a planner with Dillon Consulting, said public engagement will play a major role in the strategy’s creation.
The project will include focus groups and surveys and the creation of a citizen advisory group. A technical advisory group will be established with workers from CBRM and the Cape Breton Partnership, a business institution that runs the CBRM Regional Enterprise Network.
Public participation will commence with the unveiling of a website on Apr. 6 and a virtual open house on Apr. 14, Brown said.
In June and July, the public will have opportunities to comment on original ideas around the economic development and growth management plans and possible amendments to the municipal planning strategy and bylaws.
In the fall, individuals will be asked to comment on larger issues like infrastructure and transportation and how they affect economic development.
Draft plans are expected to be ready for public input 12 months from now. By the fall of 2022, the land-use bylaw, as well as other bylaws, should be drawn for comment.
“Over two years, that’s a lot of engagement,” Brown added. “We want to make sure that every time we go out to the public that they recognize how their input is going to be used.”