It’s the natural state of things that people and organizations take stock at the beginning of a new year and make plans and wishes for the next 12 months.
With that in mind, here are a few things (in no particular order) we’d like to see for our community’s economic health in the next 12 months.
The successes of Mike Burton, Stu McFadden and the Chatham-Kent economic development crew must continue. Their effort in helping businesses (and the jobs that go with them) locate in formerly vacant buildings from Tilbury to Wallaceburg is making a difference.
Negotiating a myriad of government regulations and working on an uneven global playing field takes professionalism and dedication, and these folks have it.
The economic/social bridge building such as Audrey Ansell’s baCK to Chatham-Kent program, and Jeanine Lassaline-Berglund’s work with the Interactive Manufacturing Innovation Network (IMIN) also need to continue.
Bringing former Chatham-Kent residents back to experience the quality of life in our community is a natural, while IMIN connects local (and other) manufacturers to each other in a way that builds community.
The spirit of entrepreneurship fostered by Carol Emery’s staff at Community Futures Development Corporation is also a positive economic force in Chatham-Kent.
We live in a global economy, but encouraging businesses to create local jobs and invest in the community is something that strengthens Chatham-Kent in almost every way.
Government organizations and businesses have a role to play, but so do consumers.
Take some time and educate yourself when making purchases and support those who support your community.
Learn which businesses are here to create jobs and invest their profits back into Chatham-Kent and which ones are here only to minimize local investment and extract every dollar they can from the community.
It does make a difference, morally and financially.
Every job loss and every local business closure puts more of a tax burden on residential property owners.
Together, we have a tremendous economic and social power.
It’s time we used it.