Economic Development Strategy Review

Norfolk County periodically reviews its Economic Development Strategy. The current review commenced in June 2018 and is expected to report its recommendations in spring 2019. The development of a strategy is a process in which decisions are made about desired future results, how these results will be accomplished, and how success is to be measured, evaluated, and communicated to stakeholders.

  • Aligned Strategic Directions

    Realignment of Economic Development Strategy under new Council Strategic Directions

    In 2019, Council hired Boulevard Strategy Group to prepare new Strategic Directions for the Corporation, which were approved by Council in July. Staff subsequently realigned recommendations of Economic Development Strategy under Council’s priorities.

    Council Priority 1: Vibrant, Creative Communities

    A.   Address vacancies in the downtown through programs and incentives for redevelopment and occupancy

    1. Focus community improvement programs on projects with highest return and geographic areas of highest need (A/2/g/)
    2. Encourage property standards and beautification of public spaces (B/1/a/)
    3. Coach property owners to enhance development and gentrification (B/1/b/)
    4. Explore solutions to social challenges (B/1/c/)
    5. Create spaces for creative individuals to network and collaborate (B/1/d/)
    6. Provide opportunities for home-based businesses to move into storefronts (B/1/e/)
    7. Increase compatible nightlife by expanding tourism experiences (B/1/g)
    8. Organize events and space making experiences (B/1/h)

    B.   Facilitate and promote a diverse and attractive mix of housing options to increase affordability

    1. Explore housing alternatives for employees (A/1/e/)
    2. Develop opportunities for housing options that employees, youth, retirees and newcomers can afford (C/2/a/)

    C.   Create an environment where volunteers and service clubs will thrive and improve the community

    1. Inspire citizens to bring forward ideas for projects that boost involvement (B/3/a/)
    2. Provide training for volunteers in collaborative leadership (B/3/b/)
    3. Ask youth for solutions, then make them happen quickly (B/3/c/)
    4. Increase volunteerism with a centralized database and coordinator (B/3/d/)
    5. Explore ways to support collaboration among service clubs (B/3/e/)

    Council Priority 2: Optimal Place for Business

    A.   Facilitate new programs to support agricultural innovation across Norfolk County, including a new agricultural innovation hub

    1. Review municipal agriculture property taxes (A/1/f/)
    2. Prioritize food processing, tech-related agriculture, culinary and sustainable tourism (A/2/e/)
    3. Prioritize food processors that value our terroir and use Norfolk County bounty (A/3/c/)
    4. Build an agri-food showcase and culinary-tourism centre (A/3/f/)
    5. Promote on-farm diversified uses of appropriate size and scale (A/3/h/)

    B.   Foster an environment for growth and innovation, creating new partnerships and new approaches

    1. Connect businesses to funding and other supports (A/2/a/)
    2. Support young entrepreneurs and small business (A/2/b/)
    3. Host small business workshops (A/2/f/)
    4. Explore business incubators and investment platforms (A/2/h/)
    5. Provide opportunities for more overnight tourist accommodations (A/2/i/)
    6. Grow overnight tourism spending in the off-season (A/2/j/)
    7. Establish a startup protocol for new businesses (A/3/a/)
    8. Prefer companies that value work-life balance and our quality of place (A/3/b/)
    9. Encourage development with high-paying jobs / workers who live in Norfolk County (A/3/d/)
    10. Host industries from target markets and nearby cities (A/3/e/)
    11. Grow spending by film, television and media producers (A/3/j/)
    12. Explore legal cannabis-themed tourism experiences (A/3/k/)
    13. Increase business to business communication (B/2/b/)
    14. Explore opportunities and connections for business unity across Norfolk County (B/2/c/)
    15. Consult major employers and assist in addressing labour shortages (C/1/a/)
    16. Improve links between school boards and businesses (C/1/c/)
    17. Collaborate on job recruitment drives (C/1/d/)
    18. Build on relationships with existing workers, including seasonal farm employees (C/1/e/)
    19. Encourage youth to return to work in Norfolk County (C/3/a/)
    20. Collaborate with immigration programs to attract new employees (C/3/c/)
    21. Attract newcomers by collaborating with agencies, employers, realtors and builders (C/3/d/)

    C.   Create a Norfolk branding and marketing strategy

    1. Consider taxing tourists to fund tourism marketing and development (A/1/g/)
    2. Celebrate business successes (A/1/h/)
    3. Promote quality of life and local tourism to attract new residents (C/3/b/)

    Council Priority 3: Quality Infrastructure

    A.   Find innovative and cost-effective new approaches to engineering, leveraging private sector knowledge and resources

    1. Enhance amenities such as accessibility for disabled persons, public washrooms, beach improvements, gardens, public art, boat dockage, etc. (A/2/k/)
    2. Utilize technology to support traffic and parking solutions (A/2/l/)

    B.   Approve and invest in a strategy to address water and wastewater management and unlock potential for future development

    1. Explore new solutions to energy generation, water and waste management (A/3/g/)

    C.   Continue to build partnerships to improve access to broadband internet throughout Norfolk County

    1. Enhance access to high-speed communications (A/2/d/)

    D.   Work with the community to build an accessible, inclusive Community Hub as a critical amenity for community revitalization and post-secondary partnerships

    1. Optimize recreational, natural and cultural opportunities (B/1/f/)
    2. Attract more post-secondary education programs (C/1/b/)

    E.   Facilitate innovative new public transit solutions that address rural realities and economies of scale

    1. Enhance amenities such as accessibility for disabled persons, public washrooms, beach improvements, gardens, public art, boat dockage, etc. (A/2/k/)
    2. Support unique transportation modes to link population centres and tourist nodes (A/3/i/)
    3. Ask youth for solutions, then make them happen quickly (B/3/c/)
    4. Use technology to expand public transit and other services (C/2/c/)
    5. Link public transit to major cities (C/2/d/)

    Council Priority 4: Focus on Service

    A.   Streamline processes for development applications, building permits, special events permits and licensing with line of sight to a common sense approach

    1. Prioritize land-use approvals for employment-generating developments (A/1/b/)
    2. Refine community festival and event planning (A/1/d/)

    B.   Modernize Norfolk County’s approach to by-law development and enforcement

    1. Review policies, identify opportunities and streamline processes (A/1/a/)

    C.   Redevelop the County’s customer service practices and systems to improve the client experience

    1. Boost customer service (A/1/c/)
    2. Assist businesses with their opportunities and challenges through regular visitations (A/2/c/)

    Council Priority 5: Solid Foundations

    A.   Assure oversight and accountability for the County’s finances through strategies that include multi-year operating budgets, multi-year capital plans, asset management, variance reporting and high return on investment for the Legacy Fund

    1. Review policies, identify opportunities and streamline processes (A/1/a/)

    B.   Build a strategic approach to managing facilities, addressing deferred capital maintenance and divesting assets and buildings that are no longer strategic for the County’s long term needs

    1. Centralize amenities and infrastructure to serve changing needs (C/2/b/)

    C.   Become a partner with private sector innovators and create an environment where it is easy to do business with Norfolk County through reduced requirements and streamlined procurement practices

    1. Review policies, identify opportunities and streamline processes (A/1/a/)
    2. Grow collaboration between business associations and local government (B/2/a/)

    D.   Foster an engaged workforce that is empowered to find savings, efficiencies and continuous improvement

    1. Review policies, identify opportunities and streamline processes (A/1/a/)
  • Final Report

  • Background Reports

  • Subscribe to Alerts

    If you would like to be notified about surveys, round tables or other consultations related to this project,
    subscribe to alerts via our Team Norfolk email bulletins.

  • Round Tables

    Round Tables

    Community and Sector Round Tables were held in the fall of 2018. Results of the surveys were shared
    at round table meetings, held on the dates below. Notes from these meetings are published under “Strategy Reports”.

    Community Round Tables

    Sector Round Tables

    • Oct 23 – Young Professionals / Youth Round Table – Completed / Review Meeting Info
    • Oct 25 – Agriculture / Agribusiness Round Table – Completed / Review Meeting Info
    • Oct 29 – Tourism Industry Round Table – Completed / Review Meeting Info
    • Nov 7 – Manufacturing / Food Processing Round Table – Completed
    • Nov 21 – Emerging Economies Round Table – Completed / Review Meeting Info


    • What is the purpose of the Round Tables? The Round Tables gather feedback from the community
      for the Economic Development Strategy Review. The scope of the review looks forward to 2024, in terms
      of visioning outcomes. The review focuses on recommendations that municipal government can directly
      implement, support or collaborate with other organizations to achieve. A final report will be presented in
      spring/summer 2019.
    • Why do you need input at Round Tables, if you have survey results? The surveys are opinions
      expressed by anonymous respondents. The role of the Round Tables will be to confirm and refine the
      findings of the surveys, and to drill more deeply into key issues.
    • How can participants prepare for the Round Table meetings? Participants can review the
      “Economic Scan – Statistics, Data and Trends” posted at and the survey
      results when they are posted in September.
    • What is the agenda? Participants will be grouped at tables of eight or less. Participants review survey
      findings and other info then share their opinions and ideas. Participants will self-record their feedback on
      table paper. Groups rotate through each theme. Feedback is recorded in the interim report to the Project
      Oversight Team. There are three themes/topics for discussion:

      • Strengths & Opportunities
      • Values & Readiness
      • Actions We Can Take
    • What successes in the past have been achieved by similar meetings? The previous Economic
      Development Strategy process used round table meetings and stakeholder consultations in similar formats
      to prepare strategic plans. Five years after the completion of the 2011 plan, 67% of recommendations were
      complete or underway, and 24% had challenges or others options were being explored, while 9% did not proceed.
  • Economic Scan - Statistics, Data & Trends

  • Process and Oversight


    Economic Development Strategy Review Process

    Economic Development Strategy Review Process


    Project Oversight Team – Members

    • Brett Schuyler – Agriculture Advisory Board
    • Gail Bouw – Tourism & Economic Development Advisory Board
    • Dusty Zamecnik – Agriculture Advisory Board
    • Michelle Kloepfer – Tourism & Economic Development Advisory Board
    • Nick Kokkoros – General Public
    • Olivia Collver – Youth
    • Clark Hoskin – Staff Liaison
    • Other Senior Staff

    POT Meeting Notes

    Technical Advisory Committee


    • Employment & Community Supports – Gary Beemer
    • Finance – James Johnson
    • Heritage & Culture – Melissa Collver
    • Library – Heather King
    • Ministry of Agriculture – Nick Kinkel
    • Ministry of Economic Development – Laura Gibson
    • Ministry of Tourism – Nancy Fallis
    • Paramedic Services – Stuart Burnett
    • Planning – Pam Duesling
    • Public Works – Gary Houghton
    • South Central Ontario Region Economic Development Corp. – Kimberly Earls
    • Southwestern Ontario Tourism Corp. – Jim Hudson, alt. Joanne Wolnik
    • Venture Norfolk – Gord Potts
    • Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus – Kate Burns
    • Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie – Jill Halyk
    • Tourism & Economic Development Department – staff

    TAC Meetings Notes

  • Past Strategic Planning Projects

  • Contact Us

    Feedback for the Strategy Review has been collected via online surveys and round tables. If you would like to
    contact us, please use the form below.

    Strategy Contact Form

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