Goderich, Ontario – Progress through partnerships

written by Lorie Steiner September 7, 2018
Goderich, Ontario aerial sunset view.

Goderich, Ontario

Progress through partnerships

 

Business View Magazine interviews representatives of the Municipality of Goderich, Ontario, as part of our focus on sustainability in Canadian cities.

Hugging the atmospheric eastern shore of Lake Huron, Goderich, Ontario offers its 8,000 plus residents all the amenities of a city in a small urban setting not far from the major centres of London, Kitchener, Toronto, and the U.S. border. Whether you’re relocating to live or work, or planning a recreational visit, Goderich is a charming, scenic, waterfront town that deserves a second look.

Business View Magazine first profiled this historic port town in March 2017. Now,  we reconnect with Larry McCabe, CAO; Chip Wilson, Director of Operations; and Linda Sicoli, Economic Development/ Tourism Coordinator, for updates on projects and to find out what’s new in the “Prettiest Town in Canada.”

BVM: When we last spoke 16 months ago, Goderich was in the midst of some ambitious infrastructure projects. How have they progressed?

McCabe: “A lot of projects that were budgeted have now come together in the last year and a half. The port development, in conjunction with the Goderich Port Management Corporation and the Province of Ontario, is moving forward with $16 million infilling program which is creating five new acres of new land for expanded operations.  The Recreation Park Project, a $4 million development with three ball diamonds, a skateboard park, a soccer pitch and pavilion with accessible washrooms will be completed in 2018.”

Wilson: “Goderich was successful in winning $250,000 towards the rebuild of the Recreation Park from Kraft Heinz Project Play which was a Canada-wide contest. That really speaks to the community spirit and pride that we have here. Construction started in the park last fall. They’re now in the process of putting in irrigation and sports netting, fencing and landscaping will follow. The Recreation Park Revitalization Committee will seek public input in the fall with a park naming campaign.

“In addition to our extensive waterfront, we just constructed a new set of stairs at the Goderich Lighthouse including a bike trough, so people can access cycling routes along the waterfront. Stairs on the south end, installed two years ago, now offer end to end accessibility from the top of the bluff down to the waterfront. Just putting in those stairs was a quarter of a million dollars funded from the waterfront reserve.”

Goderich, Ontario a large ship docked on the right and more ships in the background.

 

BVM: Any industrial development in the works?

McCabe: “We’re in the preliminary stages of earmarking 35 acres for new industrial development. The engineers are currently working to discover what needs to be done to achieve this goal. One very exciting project moving forward is the Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) technology that NRStor has developed. The building has been constructed and the necessary equipment is being installed. This project has the capability of producing 1.7 MW of electricity, as a pilot project, but we expect it will bring national and international interest here to explore facility operations. It may stimulate other development of compressed air energy throughout the world.

Activity at the Bruce Nuclear Plant is having spin-off effects to communities within 30 to 40 miles and Goderich is within that border. Bruce Power is actually promoting the area with potential contractors vying to be a part of their current expansion project. At our local airport, we’re concentrating on attracting a charter service and will continue to include funds in the budget for airport development. We’re considering new fuel dispensing equipment and a card-lock system, and runway repairs have been done.”

BVM: How important are Public-Private Partnerships?

McCabe: “With 10 years as a Director of the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP), I see the value in operational P3s and Goderich is engaged in a number of them. One is the harbour which is operated by a federally incorporated not-for-profit organization collecting user fees for port projects and operations. The port and port area businesses are the town’s main economic drivers. From 1999 to 2017, $29 million in user fees have gone into harbor break walls, river walls and piers.  We’re working on a new agreement that would see additional projects determined in the port for future development.

Years ago, we formed a local electricity distribution company, Goderich Hydro, and we’re now working on a merger with eight other utility companies. It will be called Earth Power. Those applications are now at the energy board. Goderich would be the centre for the northern operation of that company.

The Town built a $19-million-dollar recreational facility in 2004 and it is operated under a P3 with the YMCA. The other partnership is with Veolia Canada, which operates our water and waste water facilities. The Town doesn’t have employees in that sector, or recreation, or police as they are OPP. Waste management has been contracted for years. Those are all operational P3s. The Town’s responsibility is to oversee and monitor these agreements.”

BVM: Goderich had a major tornado hit the core area in 2011. Can you update us on Downtown Revitalization efforts?

McCabe: “The tornado created havoc and affected the entire community. However, it also created an opportunity to rebuild which has now been done. One and two-storey buildings have grown a  storey and added elevators, constructed to current code requirements that perhaps didn’t exist before. It also stimulated growth. Post-tornado, we put about $500,000 into a CIP (Community Improvement Plan) that created loans over and above our grants and above what insurance paid. So, the downtown core and some of the damaged residential areas have been rebuilt.

There was an economic stimulation, in that many businesses that weren’t affected also had an opportunity to improve their buildings through loan and grant allocations under the Planning Act. Our downtown has always been commercially strong, and the official plan was amended and rezoned to and the inclusion of residential units above commercial space. Additionally, the reconstruction was all completed with the Town’s rich heritage in mind.”

BVM: What does Goderich offer in terms of available housing, connectivity, healthcare?

McCabe: “We had a boundary adjustment a few years ago to include more land. Fusion Homes has an interest in building about 300 homes in that new area and they’re in the final stages of delivering a subdivision agreement to the municipality. There’s also activity in other areas, so we could see controlled growth of new homes in the near future. That will stimulate greater growth in business and industry as well but at a low risk pace. Ten years ago, we had a telecom company (HuronTel) install fibre optics throughout the town over a two-year period and so, there is fibre available to all homes and businesses in Goderich.

You’ll hear a lot about the SWIFT program and bringing broadband to every house and business throughout the province – Goderich is already there”

Sicoli: “That’s always a challenge for people who live in rural areas and smaller communities; they have gaps in the technological infrastructure, but that’s not a problem here.  With the potential to expand residential development there is an excellent opportunity for growth due to an enhanced available labour market.”

McCabe: “Healthcare is an important asset in Goderich. We built a $4 million medical clinic in 2005, and last year did a $2 million expansion. All the 18 doctors in town (a good number for a small community) are in that centre as a family health team, along with nurse practitioners, support staff, physio, etc. The Town acts as the landlord and, other than the repayment of debt incurred for the facility, we turn a small $50,000 profit annually which goes back into reserve for future expansion. Across the road from the clinic, the Alexandra Marine and General Hospital is a full-service facility serving all of Huron County.”

Goderich, Ontario; A min sitting on a pier with a sailboat in the distance on the water.

Hugging the atmospheric eastern shore of Lake Huron, Goderich, Ontario offers its 8,000 plus residents all the amenities of a city in a small urban setting not far from the major centres of London, Kitchener, Toronto, and the U.S. border. Whether you’re relocating to live or work, or planning a recreational visit, Goderich is a charming, scenic, waterfront town that deserves a second look.

Business View Magazine first profiled this historic port town in March 2017. Now,  we reconnect with Larry McCabe, CAO; Chip Wilson, Director of Operations; and Linda Sicoli, Economic Development/ Tourism Coordinator, for updates on projects and to find out what’s new in the “Prettiest Town in Canada.”

BVM: When we last spoke 16 months ago, Goderich was in the midst of some ambitious infrastructure projects. How have they progressed?

McCabe: “A lot of projects that were budgeted have now come together in the last year and a half. The port development, in conjunction with the Goderich Port Management Corporation and the Province of Ontario, is moving forward with $16 million infilling program which is creating five new acres of new land for expanded operations.  The Recreation Park Project, a $4 million development with three ball diamonds, a skateboard park, a soccer pitch and pavilion with accessible washrooms will be completed in 2018.”

Wilson: “Goderich was successful in winning $250,000 towards the rebuild of the Recreation Park from Kraft Heinz Project Play which was a Canada-wide contest. That really speaks to the community spirit and pride that we have here. Construction started in the park last fall. They’re now in the process of putting in irrigation and sports netting, fencing and landscaping will follow. The Recreation Park Revitalization Committee will seek public input in the fall with a park naming campaign.

“In addition to our extensive waterfront, we just constructed a new set of stairs at the Goderich Lighthouse including a bike trough, so people can access cycling routes along the waterfront. Stairs on the south end, installed two years ago, now offer end to end accessibility from the top of the bluff down to the waterfront. Just putting in those stairs was a quarter of a million dollars funded from the waterfront reserve.”

 

Check out this handpicked feature on milliCare – A company on the move.

AT A GLANCE

WHO: Goderich, Ontario

WHAT: A historic port town, population 8,000

WHERE: Eastern shore of Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada

WEBSITE: www.goderich.ca

PREFERRED VENDORS

Goderich Port Management Corporation Logo.

Goderich Port Management Corporation – www.goderichport.ca

Goderich has been a key port in Ontario since it was a trading post.  With the only deep-water port on the east side of Lake Huron it has a long maritime heritage that continues to be reflected in the work the port is doing to attract new users and cargoes.

Lorie Lee Steiner profile picture, with her wearing a hat with suglasses on top, and a camera in her hand.

Lorie Lee Steiner is an accomplished writer, editor, photographer with a vivid sense of imagery and love of the written word. Knowledgeable in a wide array of genres, with an avid curiosity and proven success working remotely since 2004, Lorie has hundreds of published articles to her credit in Canadian and U.S. magazines. Long-time contributor and former Assistant Editor at Arabella Art, Architecture & Design Magazine, Lorie is currently Associate Editor and Social Media Manager at Florida-based Business View Publishing. In this capacity, she interviews industry executives and city representatives, and specializes in creating engaging business-to-business content, SEO, and online marketing for monthly digital publications – Business View Magazine (North America) and Business View Caribbean. Lorie lives and works in southwestern Ontario, Canada and enjoys kayaking the beautiful local rivers at every opportunity.

Email: lorsteiner@yahoo.ca

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