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Join conversations about the future of Prince Edward County

UPDATE FEB. 27: The town hall for the community plan, scheduled for Feb. 27, is now planned for Tuesday, March 7.

Mayor Steve Ferguson has opted to change the meeting date due to the winter weather travel advisory that is in effect for tonight, February 27.

“Out of an abundance of caution, I have asked staff to make alternative arrangements for this important meeting. We want to make sure people who want to participate can do so and not have to worry about being on the roads in bad weather,” Mayor Ferguson says.

The meeting will now take place on March 7 from 6-8 pm inside the Highline Hall at the Wellington and District Community Centre (111 Belleville Street).
The town hall will give the public an opportunity to learn more about the community plan and share their thoughts.

Wind driven clouds file past the craggy shore of Westpoint in Prince Edward County on a bright autumn afternoon. For centuries a panorama of human history has captivated observers. Donald McClure file photo


The municipality wants to hear from people who have ideas about where Prince Edward County needs to go over the next 10 years as it begins to lay a foundation for a community plan to chart a direction forward.

“A 10-year vision and plan for Prince Edward County – created in collaboration with the community – has never been done,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson. “With so many urgent and important conversations happening right now, it is time to start building a long-term vision together to guide current and future councils and staff.”

The consultation will revolve around five broad areas of conversation:
– Strengthening County government’s engagement with the public
– Diversifying the County’s economy while preserving its historic character
– Aligning infrastructure investments and fiscal policy priorities
– Harnessing the benefits of tourism to improve residents’ quality of life
– Responding to the climate emergency and reduce the challenges faced

CAO Marcia Wallace

“People are talking about the future of the County all the time: at the coffee shop, the grocery store, or arena, as well as online spaces. We really want to tap into these discussions and start to build a common understanding and vision for where the County should be in 10 years,” said Marcia Wallace, the chief administrative officer (CAO) for the municipality.

All households in the County will receive a short survey in the mail in the coming weeks. Residents can fill out the survey and mail it back to the County free of charge. The survey is also available on the County’s Have Your Say consultation page.

The public is so invited to learn more about the community plan at a town hall gathering Monday, Feb. 27 from 6-8 p.m at the Picton Town Hall (2 Ross St.,). More dates will be added if required.

The municipality is also working with community partners at Prince Edward County Chamber of Commerce and The County Foundation to carry out additional focus groups with businesses and community organizations on the following dates:
Community organizations focus group: Tuesday, Feb. 28, 1-3 pm, Wellington and District Community Centre (111 Belleville Street)
Business focus group: Wednesday, March 1, 1-3 pm, Wellington and District Community Centre (111 Belleville Street, Wellington)

If you are interested in participating in a focus group, email

A community plan report is to be presented to council at the end of March. Council will draw on that report to develop a strategic plan for its term 2023-2026, which will be finalized in May 2023.

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  1. angela says:

    The survey is not likely to change anything. It is important for the county to move forward but the direction of this move was set a long time ago and a survey now is a little after the fact. How many times have residents spoken out about the need to reduce the size of council and other municipal matters only to be ignored?

  2. Fred says:

    Implying a request for resident input into planning moving forward as a sham serves no useful purpose. Certainly things have changed as they have everwhere. I don’t think it is or was reasonable to expect the County to stand still in time.

  3. angela says:

    It seems a little late to talk about where we are going. That ship sailed when tourism made the county a summer playground and developers put up luxury condos and sub-divisions with luxury homes to lure wealthy retirees from the cities. We can talk all we like about new directions but there is no going back. The county was sold out for profit and this trend will continue. We are likely to see more locals leaving the county in future because they simply cannot afford to live here any longer. That county survey is simply an attempt to make us believe we have a say in our future, when in fact that future was decided a long time ago.

  4. Paul D Cole says:

    A lot of County Folks don’t particularly yearn for days gone by but would rather acknowledge our past and how it’s made The County what it is today. Moving forward with lessons learned and past experiences our History can contribute greatly to the direction The County is headed, like CountyLive’s recent story “County’s Vanishing Legacy of fishing, sailing and rum running” Providing Visitors with some sort of experience related to our Maritime history in The County could draw Folks who are interested in those things. Maybe even providing some sort rise and fall of the wind mill history in The County. The possibilities are endless…

  5. B Wilder says:

    To those that yearn for days gone by, The Genie is Out of the Bottle. It is time to start thinking about how we move forward.

  6. Gary says:

    They were not wind mills that were constructed, they were Industrial Wind Turbines.

  7. Paul D Cole says:

    Wind mills were in fact being built in The County. The new PC government and Doug Ford cancelled the wind mill program in The County. The Progressive Con’s had a different policy in regards to wind power and that’s why the program was cancelled in The County and other places in Ontario at a huge legal cost to Ontario taxpayers…

  8. Mark says:

    Wind Power, I think it is clear that issue has been spoken to loud and clear by the vast majority of County residents. The use of fossil fuels to back up unreliable wind power is a non starter. Any proposal to construct Industrial Wind Turbines in one of the most significant migratory bird areas in North America is just not supportable.

  9. Loretta says:

    It’s never to late to start even though many of the ‘problems’ we have today were originally identified by the authors of “A Settlers Dream”
    1) Need a 25 yr plan too, both should be reviewed & updated at 5 yr intervals with more than just a few selected or volunteers that includes plans for:
    2) affordable housing,
    3) some sort of shuttle/public transit service
    4) fewer ‘box’ stores, fast food chains
    5) make The County a pesticide/insecticide free zone – turn all agro organic (probably more than a 25 year plan, but it’s doable)
    6) take back control of our electric utility from HydroOne- then make it priority for all housing/business to have solar or wind that can also sell to Utility then if large scale solar or wind turbine is proposed the County residents will have final say
    7) ask the kids what jobs they want and help them build their careers in The County
    8) build non profit LTC facilities that are operated and staffed by County residents for Countt residents
    9) need facilities geared for family use to encourage young people to stay and have families here such as an outdoor swimming pool and guaranteed access to provincial parks for full time residents
    10) public waterfront access that is easy to access
    11) all new commercial buildings must be 100% accessible for people with physical challenges- and wouldn’t it be nice if all homes were built that way too?

  10. Dan says:

    I agree with Robert. I think we’ve put ourselves in this place because we always thought we had the answers. But having the answers, or a plan, or theory suggests that we ought to navigate toward something else. If we reduce anything to a few lines summarizing the impact of the mall or paved roads we forget that this place was at its best when it wasn’t something else.

  11. Robert Sanfield says:

    Lipsons, Stedmans, Bata and Maher’s all closed because everyone took a notion to shop at the mall in Belleville. The 70’s and 80’s were brutal everywhere for small towns losing their cliental to bigger cities. I have seen the enemy and it is us… Yes increased tourism and migration to and from the city has changed the county. It is 2023 not 1980. Similar sentiments were expressed in 1980 though, when neighbourhoods changed due to urbanization, “paving the road” and similar. 1937 is as close to 1980 as 2023 is….
    Think local.

  12. Dan says:

    Thank you Angela. Very well said.

    I drove through Hay Bay on the way back from Kingston last summer and it made me nostalgic about the way the County used to be. Beautiful working farms, empty roads, people waved as I drove by. Its amazing that we are so close and yet so far away from that. Probably no going back.

    Growing up outside of Picton in the 80’s nobody had anything and times were tight for most, but they would drop everything to help you in a minute. That was living.

  13. Michelle says:

    What is real is in the eyes of the beholder. Times change as they have forever. The old stores are gone and were whaning severely by locals upon closure. Now a vibrant community moves forward. That’s what this is all about. Let’s plan our next 10 years forward, not 30 years ago.

  14. angela says:

    I see a difference between today’s gem and the jewel we once had. Almost everyone could afford to shop at Lipson’s, Stedman’s or Bata and Maher’s and a ticket for the Regent cost pocket change. The Guild and the Star offered good plain food at economy prices. Now, the word “culture” is the watchword. Phrases such as “cultural hub” abound. We are so cultured now that we have lost appreciation for the simple way of life that was the real gem. We may not have been “cultured” back then but somehow we seemed more real.

  15. Fred says:

    To have respectful reflection we need to recognize that there are many residents that thourghly enjoy the Main St shops and their unique selections. The fine restaurants inter mixed in a heritage district with theatre and art makes Picton a gem.

  16. angela says:

    It wasn’t so great back then? We all had family doctors and it was possible for ordinary people to buy a house or rent a decent apartment. We did not have a homeless population or widespread food insecurity either. We could go to the beach anytime we wanted and Main Street in Picton offered stores selling everyday essentials, not just high end restaurants and shops selling doodads. We had a town police force with officers who walked the beat and we knew all of them by name. Yes, things were not so great back then. We sure had it hard.

  17. john says:

    Having lived in the County for over seventy years I have seen most changes, but they have not all been for the good of the County. Between developers and real estate pimps a large part of the beauty and allure of this place has disappeared. People use to be proud of the County and their place in it, now it’s a case of snatch and grab everything we can to make it more appealing to the outside market. Third and fourth generation family can’t afford to live here anymore. People pay outrages prices for the quaint country life and then set about trying to change it to their urban lifestyles. Just a less than tolerant viewpoint.

  18. Chuck says:

    This is not about going back. I expect only a few would like to reverse as it wasn,t so great back then as some want to portray.Planning for the next 10 years is timely and demonstrates foresight.

  19. angela says:

    This bright idea is already 10 years too late. The direction in which we are heading, like it or not, was decided a long time ago when tourism became the all important goal. You cannot “preserve” the character of the county when much of it has already been sacrificed to tourism and greedy developers. It is amusing to suggest that the input of local residents at this point will have any significant bearing on the future. The time for that is past. Our course was set a long time ago and there is no going back.

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