Northumberland County – County Committee Hears OAFVC Success Story

In City Hall

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland

Northumberland County taxpayers should be pleased to know that the 2023 budget for Colborne’s Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre will remain the same as 2022.

A year, incidentally, that ended with a $40,000 surplus.

Director of Economic Development, Planning and Strategic Initiatives Dan Borowec shared the good-news story at the November meeting of the Economic Development, Tourism, Land Use Planning Committee of Northumberland County Council.

This includes a $180,000 Federal grant that helped make better use of 73,000 square feet that was under-utilized to create a community market that runs from September through April, an indoor market offering space for local community members to exhibit and sell their products (including, of course, OAFVC clients).

The space also provides the potential for additional revenue streams with areas for storage, rental and prep.

Borowec described this space as similar to an unfinished rec room in your home.

It’s all their, but it needs a little finishing work,” he said.

Borowec described a recent opportunity to host a team from Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for the first time for a serious discussion on possibly increasing provincial support of the centre, given their unique position.

We are sort of the only one left standing of all the ones invested in by the province over a course of about five or six years. Our urban equivalent, which was Food Starter in Toronto, has moved to a pseudo-private-sector type of arrangement. But certainly, the number of clients that moved from there to us is significant,” Borowec said.

The mix of their client base is 30% Northumberland residents, 30% residents of the adjacent region and 40% from Toronto.

We have consistently tried with the province to emphasize the benefits to our province as a whole, as opposed to just Northumberland. Certainly that meeting shed some light on that,” he summed up, adding that these discussions were also pursued with Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini and the new Federal Minister of Rural Economic Development Gudie Hutchings.

As for his department as a whole, Borowec said there are only three issue papers.

One is for moving the administrative clerk’s position to full-time from part-time for an additional $26,000 levy cost.

It would certainly be more cost-effective in terms of using the talent we have in place,” Borowec stated.

Manager of Planning and Inspection Services Dwayne Campbell explained the other two – a planning analyst for the Land Use Planning department, as well as a new inspector (plus vehicle), given the number of new permits and inspections being requested.

The inspector is self-financed through permits, so no impact on the municipal levy,” Campbell said.

Committee member Bob Crate asked if those revenues would cover the vehicle as well, and was assured that they would

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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