January 2017 | Business View Magazine

148 149 businesses and speaking with them, looking at what support they need and how we can help. And that’s very important for this community. Working cooperatively and strength- ening links with partners will con- tinue to build the community. So, I’ve been very busy collaborating with outlying counties and regions, and identifying what initiatives and grants they have that we can use.” Mulder is also working on an- other big project that is more tour- ism-based. “Our proximity to the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) means that we have a large tourism com- ponent that we can draw on for the town,” she says. “The big initiative that we’re moving forward with, beginning in 2017 is a project called the Erin Rotary Riverwalk Trail. On- tario Tourism is mandated to look into the trails throughout Ontario, so we’re actually falling in step with their vision. There’s money out there for trails, so the timing is perfect for the town. We’re looking at getting grants from a number of different organizations. We’ve completed a fea- sibility study and are moving forward with Phase One. The Riverwalk will connect the Village of Erin and the Vil- lage of Hillsburgh, and it will also link up with the Trans-Canada trailway. We don’t know exactly what it is going to look like yet, but it is one of the biggest initiatives that this town has seen in a long time, and will drive an increase in tourism.” “This town is blessed with natural beauty,” says Mc- Caughan. “The Riverwalk is going to be the catalyst for increasing our tourism activity.”“We’re a day-tripper des- tination,” adds Alls. “Folks come out of the city looking for that “Country Charm” experience that Erin can provide. So, if we get this Riverwalk going, the restaurants and everything else in the area will be well-supported.”“My mandate is also to build the town as a four-season desti- ERIN, ONTARIO nation,” says Mulder, “and we’re hoping that the Riverwalk will attract tourists in those off-sea- sons, just as much as in the summertime.” McCaughan, who is also a recent addition to Erin’s town administration, gives a lot of credit to the Town Council for its planning and growth strategies. “The Council that this town has elected has been extremely visionary,”he declares. “They’ve developed a strategy going forward which identifies who they are and where they want to go. It certainly needs to be execut- ed, but it’s there,waiting for action to take place. They’ve also undertaken an organizational review that talked about positioning the administration of the town for its future growth.” Regarding that growth, Mayor Alls has his own vision, as well: “I want to see growth in Erin; I want to see our tax revenue go from 95/5 percent to more like an 80/20 ratio–80 percent residential, 20 percent industry and commercial. That’s a big gap to fill for us, right now, but industrial and commercial properties contribute far more to a tax base than residen- tial properties which helps to alleviate the tax burden on the residents So, I hope to see some growth in that area; I think we will. I hope to see the waste water plant started; I hope to see some developers coming, and more residential growth. And I think five years from now, we will see that begin to occur.” “There’s a lot of enthusiasm and optimism in the town from the residents and the business community,” says Mulder. “There’s only one way to go, and that’s forward.”