Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley – Leeds and Grenville United Counties in Ontario, Canada

June 27, 2024

Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley

An Eastern Ontario Township Where Rural Beauty Meets Urban Progress


Providing just what its residents need with an eye to future growth

In the heart of Ontario, the township of Elizabethtown-Kitley, home to approximately 10,000 residents and 4,000 homes, stretches from the banks of the St. Lawrence River almost to Smiths Falls. Covering 550 square kilometers, this community offers a welcoming blend of populous suburban areas, and rich agricultural landscapes- a contrast to the high density of the neighboring city of Brockville.

Mayor Brant Burrow describes, “As you drive out of Brockville and start heading north, it’s sort of difficult to discern exactly where the border is. But over two or three minutes of driving, you realize that something has changed, yet it’s still fairly densely populated. And then it just gradually thins out and thins out as you head north.” Along with spectacular scenery and open spaces, the township also features several small hamlets and a range of outdoor recreational amenities, including its beloved summer swim program at a natural swimming hole, a nostalgic and cherished local attraction that has drawn families for over 50 years.


Community and Commercial Growth

Leslie Drynan, Township Administrator and Clerk oversees economic development initiatives in consultation with the township’s economic development committee. Highlighting the importance of small businesses, Drynan says, “We don’t have a lot of chain-type developments. We have a lot of small trade construction, plumbing, HVAC, and then a lot of home businesses related to crafting, agriculture, preserves, the farming industry, and baking.”

“We have a fairly active artisan community as well,” adds Mayor Burrow, sharing that local shops like Kitley Grocery and Chit Chat Convenience are also integral parts of the community. “Kitley Grocery is a real hub. It’s a gas station, it’s a grocery store, it’s a deli counter, and they have an LCBO agency there now,” he portrays. “And just a couple of years ago, a convenience store opened in another large hamlet called Lyn. They offer ice creams, they just got a pizza oven, and they did a tree lighting this Christmas. So, we’re seeing a lot of personality come back to some of our Hamlets. There seems to be a little bit of a resurgence and renaissance going on.”

A significant commercial asset is the township’s 100-acre business park which primarily serves small and medium enterprises, due to its reliance on well and septic systems. “Although we colloquially refer to it as our industrial park, it’s not like we have heavy manufacturing there. We have one or two large operations. But certainly, that’s a feature of our inventory,” says Burrow. He notes that the business park was utilizing only half of its capacity until three years ago when a push to sell the remaining lots began. “They went very quickly,” he recounts. “In six months, we entertained offers, and we had sold out the other half of the business park.”

To further enhance economic development in the township, Elizabethtown-Kitley is part of the St. Lawrence Corridor Economic Development Commission, a collaborative group of six municipalities along the St. Lawrence River. This region benefits from shared infrastructure, including easy access to the river, the 401 corridor, and two main east-to-west CN rail lines. “We cooperate to try and bring businesses of scale to the region,” explains Mayor Burrow. “One of the success stories in recent years has been LeClaire Biscuits. They’re the largest cookie producer in Canada, still privately held. And we have another big fish that’s working its way through the pipe right now and is just about to come to fruition.”

Addressing Infrastructure Needs

Drynan emphasizes the township’s efforts to support areas on well and septic systems, relaying that Elizabethtown-Kitley has some capacity through the city of Brockville, and is looking at plans to expand water and sewer services. As for connectivity she conveys, “We are open to those that will come into our community to install fiber optic cable within our road allowances, which has been increasing over the years for the better. We still seriously suffer from poor cell service in a lot of our areas. And I know all three levels of government are focusing on trying to achieve better cell service.”

Mayor Burrow highlights the Eastern Ontario Regional Network’s (EORN) project to enhance cell coverage by 2025, which will see new towers erected in the region. “They’re supposed to have 90% coverage, and I think they’re fairly well on pace to have their target met by the end of 2025,” he asserts. “The upgrading of the existing network from 4g to 5g has taken place, and we have been fielding several tower applications over the last couple of years and approving them.”


Addressing Housing Challenges

Elizabethtown-Kitley is pioneering innovative housing solutions, including a partnership with Campus Habitations to develop workforce housing on a 30-acre former fairgrounds site. This project will feature 680 affordable rental units and is a welcome addition to the growing township. Uniquely, the project will offer a variety of options, from single-room suites with a shared kitchen to multi-bedroom apartments, as well as recreational amenities including walking trails, a basketball court, a beach volleyball court, and a rink. “What they have planned is a three-phase build out, very attractive rental units in sort of two and three pod architectural structures, a total of 14 buildings,” depicts the mayor. “It’s a very, very exciting partnership. We’ve signed a land lease arrangement with them. And right now, we’re in early discussions with Brockville to see if we can get water and sewer extended out to that property. That’s a critical element of that particular project.”

This initiative was spurred by the realization through the St. Lawrence Corridor Economic Development Commission that as their efforts to attract new business to the community were successful, they were creating more pressure on the already existing housing challenges. “We pivoted a little bit, and although our resources are limited, we said we have to try and spend some energy bringing developers of scale to the region,” Burrow describes. “If we create 300 jobs, we better have a developer or a pool of developers that are building 300 houses.”

In addition, the township has acquired 140 acres on the Brockville border, with plans for a mixed-use development, focused on boosting industry and bringing housing options. “Council about 40 years ago had the foresight to set up the commercial park that we all take for granted now. And it was our turn when we were faced with that opportunity to do the same thing for future generations,” maintains Burrow. “Whether this council ever sees the direct dollar benefit from the development of that new 140-acre property, I wouldn’t put a lot of money on that. I will be happy if we get it to the point where it is ready to go to market. But it will be future generations that continue to benefit from that. And it’s our responsibility to do that right now.”

Recreation and Tourism in Elizabethtown-Kitley

The community boasts a plethora of scenic outdoor options, from conservation areas with hiking trails and water access to Bellamy Park, a municipally owned campground. Although the township collaborates with county-level tourism initiatives, the overarching goal is to retain young people in the area or give them a reason to return after pursuing a trade or higher education. With a high quality of life and relaxed natural surroundings, Elizabethtown-Kitley Township is less of a tourist destination and more of a community where residents enjoy vacationing at home. “It’s not so much bringing people in, but it’s about keeping the people we do have and attracting the youth back to enjoy that rural lifestyle,” Dryer illustrates.

Looking Ahead

As 2024 progresses, Mayor Burrow’s top priorities for Elizabethtown-Kitley include advancing the Campus Habitations development and the 140-acre project near Brockville. “Both of those are going to be economic engines, for the township and the region,” he asserts. Drynan is also focused on these projects, along with ensuring excellent customer service in the township. “We have a lot of projects and goals to achieve this year, and one of them, when we launched the new strategic plan, was a real focus on our customer,” she details. “Whether that’s our staff, our residents, our community, or our businesses, it is just about modernizing local government, being open for business and being progressive.”


Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley

What: A progressive and growing rural township with a population of 10,000

Where: Leeds and Grenville United Counties in Ontario, Canada



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