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Economic office plans align with Transition PEC vision

Transition PEC members met with Deb Williams, of the PEC economic development office, for 1.5 hrs yesterday with their ideas on PEC’s future in the postcarbon era. They were all on the same page.

Deb was hired in a temporary position as Economic Development Coordinator to assist Merlin Dewing and Diana Cooper in developing a strategic economic plan for PEC. She has a strong background in community development, and she will be proposing that the EDO be subsumed in a Community Development Office, staffed by five people, who can work toward building a resilient, inclusive, local economy.  Deb loved the idea of setting up a local currency.

As a part of the consultation process of the Community Development Strategy  a series of community presentations will be held:
Ameliasburgh Town Hall 10am, April 18;
Picton Town Hall  7pm April 18th;
Bloomfield Town Hall 2pm, April 23;
Wellington Town Hall May 2, 2pm
Other community meetings to be scheduled in the near future.
Please come out and be a part of the conversation.
Debra Williams, 613-476-2148 dwilliams@pecounty.on.ca

Deb’s presentation aligns so well with the objectives of Transition Prince Edward County.

Below are the suggestions from Transition PEC:

Food and gastronomy is already well-established in this region, incorporating the longstanding tradition of family farming along with new endeavours such as Community Supported Agriculture, organic and niche market production, even education (Cherryvale and Nymans are examples of “agri-tourism” combined with working farms). Taste the County appeals to upscale tourism, but we need more emphasis on the local community and sustainability side of basic food and good nutrition. TPEC has been demonstrating this through reskilling workshops that emphasize community food growing, and preparation methods for plant-based diets.

Encouragement of social, generational, multicultural, and skills diversity will amplify the potential for local economic resilience by strengthening the social fabric and collective engagement of PEC residents. Efforts to increase these will create a positive feedback loop. A “back-to-the-land” community exists here and could be encouraged through publicity to invite others who appreciate a simpler life-style and land policies that foster smaller, greener living. There are many such initiatives underway in the US, and some in Canada, and there is a growing demand for more, as well-educated urban people are increasing their awareness of the physical and emotional costs to themselves and families by working in offices. Immigration of skilled people from the US has increased threefold over the last few years as the situation in the US grows tenser. Urban people in particular are exploring ways of living that would put them in closer touch with their real needs. Places with community-building infrastructure (NGOs, lifelong learning facilities, etc) are major assets for them, as these are accessible means of facilitating cultural adjustment.

Renewable energy generation can be supported (small to medium wind, solar, geothermal, rather than industrial size). Manufacturing, installation and servicing of equipment and renewed infrastructure to demonstrate a model of smart grid and self-sufficiency for the region. Housing that favours minimal environmental impact (through pocket neighbourhood planning, low impact siting of individual homes, tree and hedgerow preservation and planting, use of construction materials with low embedded energy such as straw bale and hempcrete) would raise the profile of PEC as an aware community with greater future stability than suburban alternatives in the postcarbon era.

Expansion and preservation of natural habitat starting with existing parks, forests, rivers, waterfalls for public access without park structural development. Access to private land might be gained by offering incentives and insurance to landowners. Activities such as bicycling, crosscountry skiing, hiking, birdwatching can increase eco-tourism. Sections of the Millennium Trail could be paved for rollerblading (skating). Phil Norton’s website www.countygreentrail.com was started to create a community of nature-related and green living organizations and points of interest.

Educational enterprises offer investment potential via private and private/public partnerships. Centres that offer affordable community resilience training for students from Canada and elsewhere. Renia Tyminski’s language and resilience training facility, Hallowell Gardens, brings adults from the County, other parts of Canada and abroad, to engage in crosscultural education programs, some of which are promoted and offered through Transition PEC.  Many empty schools and federal buildings can be put to use, for example with satellite programs of Loyalist College.  Environmental sciences, rural sociology, agricultural and the trades are critical to the future. We need more plumbers, electricians, roofers and machinery operators to supplement all of our professional services and computer-based office careers. Social enterprise is a rapidly growing business model: existing enterprises can be informed and encouraged to support the business model that emphasizes social value as a key ROI. Entrepreneurship, networking and training, such as Creative Minds, should continue, perhaps in alliance with the existing Chamber of Commerce and PELA CFDC.

Community exchanges offer a valuable return. Delegations via bus tours can visit other communities nearby and invite them to visit us. Revive the Green Tour that was launched by the CSG and did an annual tour in and north of the County to green buildings and businesses. Phil Norton would like to lead an exchange to his former home in rural Quebec southwest of Montreal on the Ontario and NY borders. There are major urban economic resilience initiatives in the GTA, Peterborough and Guelph being offered by the Transition groups that are relevant to our local needs, and links with them through TPEC are already well established. With greater support from the municipality, these links could be strengthened and could raise the profile of PEC as a model of intelligent, long term community planning.

-Phil Norton & Renia Tyminsky
Transition PEC

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Doris Lane says:

    I think 25 is the road where a conservative with connections
    lives–you have to have political connections if you want something done–remember Gazebo land
    If you thinks things are done fairly in this world–well think again==its not what you know but who you know

  2. Loretta says:

    David – love the PECCURS!

    Regarding paving roads, can anyone explain why we spent $$$$$ federal grant money to rebuild and level out County Rd 25, all 2.5 km, with only a few homes on it while Rednersville Road is allowed to disintegrate and accounts for far more tax dollars in the County coffers?

    The County/council first needs to prove it can get it’s own house in order, cut costs, and replenish the reserves before it should even try to advise other business. Isn’t that what Board of Trades traditionally do?

  3. Doris Lane says:

    Thank you to the people who have commented on the PEC transition theme if the edo office thinks these are good ideas then maybe it is time for the EDO office to cease and desist. Please do not waste the taxpayer money on a bunch of nonsense
    Let’s do a review of the staff of the County and forget about unnessary things–get the County straightened out before we dig ourselves in so deeply we will never get out–maybe it is already too late

  4. Mark says:

    Good God. Pave part of a trail when we can’t afford to pave our main roads. Washburn street is like a cow path. Why do people on that street have to pay full taxes for a disgraceful mess like that? Only in the County. Perhaps the four roads supervisors and the $140,000 plus contracted engineer could gather their for a coffee and have a look for themselves.

  5. David Norman says:

    Doris, I hear-tell that there will soon be an abundance of superfluous Canadian cent pieces available… it’s a FITing start to a PEC currency… we could call them PECCURS.

  6. David Norman says:

    How relevant is it that the impetus of the PEC economic development office aligns with the desires of self appointed stakeholders like the County Sustainability Group and Transition PEC? And relevant to who? Who (what “collective”) of individuals and what do they represent, specifically? Of what “cultural adjustments” are you speaking?

    Interesting concept: “Housing that favours minimal environmental impact (through pocket neighbourhood planning, low impact siting of individual homes, tree and hedgerow preservation and planting, use of construction materials with low embedded energy such as straw bale and hempcrete) would raise the profile of PEC as an aware community with greater future stability than suburban alternatives in the postcarbon era.”… we are to achieve/promote a conceived stability standard for this “postcarbon era” which will be displayed to the disenfranchised, the unaware who live in unstable “suburban alternatives”? To conclude a pragmatic illustration of a socially conscious agenda with a propaganda proclamation/admonishment… why?
    David Norman, Rogue Primate of Bloomfield

  7. Doris Lane says:

    Loretta–I seem to remember seeing that bit about our own currency but there was so much stuff that was totally off the wall that i forgot about it.
    I guess if we had our own currency we could not go to Belleville to shop
    I hope that sainer heads prevail on council and they forget about this whole economic development stuff and get rid of high paid staff who like to do reports and talk a lot.
    Maybe they could do something useful like fixing the flower beds in the entrances to the county or painting a mural on the burned wall of the fabric shop.

  8. Marnie says:

    You’re right Doris. The idea of paving parts of the Millennium Trail is unrealistic. Why do we always feel compelled to improve on things? Why are we determined to pave and manicure parts of this trail for the benefit of roller bladers? What about the people who just like to walk on it to enjoy nature?

    How many economic development directors have we had in the county in past years? Yes, they managed to bring in some industry but when the government grants ran out, so did these businesses. Now, we have more long-winded reports telling us how we should develop the county. Maybe we should focus on doing what we do best and admit that industry is not very interested in a community this far from the 401. We are enjoying lots of success as a tourist community. Better to further develop that than waste the taxpayers’ dollars on useless schemes to woo industry.

  9. Loretta says:

    Doris, how could you have missed commenting on the idea of the County creating it’s own currency?

    “We need more plumbers, electricians, roofers and machinery operators to supplement all of our professional services and computer-based office careers.” Huh? Just how many people are employed in computer-based office careers in the County? I would hazard a guess there are lot more plumbers, electricians, roofers & machinery operators. I have heard of people having trouble getting a dentist or a doctor, but never being unable to find a plumber, electrician or roofer.

    Just what does it mean to have a “strong background in community development? How does that translate into economic development?

    Basically they seem to be proposing renaming the EDO as “a Community Development Office” and hiring more people when we cannot afford the staff we have. Do any of these people have a degree in economics or business? Even some real experience in running a successful business would be an asset.

  10. Doris Lane says:

    Pave the Millennium Trail????-What an unrealistic idea
    They have a skate park in Picton for that purpose–leave something for the nature lovers.
    This whole report sounds like a bunch nonsense as is the whole economic development idea. Let the county develop on its own and in its own time. we donot need a whole lot of high paid fancy talking developers telling us what to do.
    Good people will develop things in good time–after all this is THE COUNTY

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