By Barb McKay
For anyone who thinks the wheels of progress are turning slowly in Kincardine, those in the driver’s seat of economic development locally say there is plenty happening. Several acres of land in prime locations will be shovel-ready as early as this fall. The Community Economic Development Committee (CEDC) held its second quarterly meeting of 2019 at the Municipal Administration Centre. Kincardine Community Development Officer Jenna Ujiye presented an update on development lands. The municipality is currently working with Bruce Power on an option to develop the remaining Ontario Peninsula Farms land behind Sutton Park. “That will open up commercial land and some residential land behind it, which Kincardine hasn’t had in a long time,” Ujiye said. There are approximately 25 acres of developable commercial property, with some work to be completed over the next five to six months including land use planning and zoning and road work. Ujiye said the municipality hopes to have the commercial land ready for sale by the fall. “It’s pretty exciting – it’s been a long time waiting,” she said. Deputy Mayor Marie Wilson, who sits on the CEDC, said the municipality will be reimbursed for engineering fees to ready the lands through development fees. “How many capital projects do you get paid back for?” she commented.
Work is also continuing to prepare land in the Highways 9 and 21 business park for commercial development. This fall, Durham Street will be extended through the business park to Highway 9 and Dahmer Street will be constructed. Water and sewer services will be installed, as well. The extension of Russell Street is expected to be completed in 2020. In other news, the municipality expects to hear from the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) this summer on the Southern Bruce Natural Gas Project. The Ontario government has approved up to $27 million in funding, through cross subsidization, for the project. Mayor Anne Eadie said EPCOR is ready to start laying pipeline as soon as the OEB gives its approval. Kincardine, HuronKinloss and Arran-Elderslie have collectively invested $3 million into the natural gas project. Eadie said natural gas service is crucial for economic development and the investment was worth it to get much more in provincial funding. “Where can you get a return like that for your community?” she asked. Ujiye informed the committee that her department is initiating an economic development strategic plan, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.