Whitewater Region, Ontario – Renfrew County

February 20, 2024

Whitewater Region, Ontario

The Gateway to Whitewater


With an enviable natural backdrop, Whitewater Region is looking forward to a dynamic future

Encompassing a picturesque landscape of 500 square kilometers, Whitewater Region is named for its famous stretch of whitewater along the Ottawa River. Formed in 2001, the township was born through the amalgamation of the municipalities of Beachburg, Cobden, Ross, and Westmeath, and today stands as a vibrant and unique location, where each of these communities retains its distinct character.

Home to approximately 7,200 residents, Whitewater Region thrives on a robust community spirit and remains dedicated to both expansion and ongoing infrastructure development, setting the stage for future growth and opportunity in the years to come.

Introducing some of the key features of the community, Mayor Neil Nicholson states,” The majority of our landscape is agricultural or waterfront. We have a lot of lakes, we have over 100 kilometers of the Ottawa River coastline, and we have a very rich agricultural industry. We can generate over 30% of livestock sales within the county, with only 8% of a landmass.”

An Engaged Community

Lane Cleroux, Manager of Public Works, highlights the incredible warmth and community spirit in Whitewater Region, noting, “There is a very strong presence of volunteers. Every village has a community association. So, it’s very welcoming and very passionate what the residents put into the community.”

CAO Ivan Burton adds that volunteer efforts begin at the youth level, extending through every generation. This is exemplified through the popular agricultural fairs held in the township, which are organized by the local agricultural societies. Whitewater Region is also host to three Christmas Parades, maintaining the unique identity of the former communities.

“These are led in our more populated villages of Cobden, and Beachburg, and Westmeath,” says Burton. “But it’s interesting to see that the pride for their area of the community is such that the pre-amalgamated communities still exist and still operate their events.”


Infrastructure Development

The Whitewater Region is witnessing an uptick in residential development, particularly in the villages of Cobden and Beachburg. “We have a couple of developers in these villages that are prominently developing subdivisions, which are becoming our new communities,” recounts Burton. He names Bonnechere Excavating Incorporated (BEI) who are developing a community in Cobden, close to the downtown core, an existing school, and a retirement home.

The village of Beachburg is experiencing similar growth, as Burton shares, “They’re constructing homes such that it’s supporting the influx of residents of that community, which brings the development of small to medium size amenities, including retail stores and pharmacies.”

In another development, Cleroux says, “In 2020 the township hired Ivan (Burton) as a planner, and he has taken over the delegation authority for severance applications. The township has seen a great influx of severance applications, and we’ve seen it in our building permits. I think that is a huge success.”

In light of a growing population, Whitewater Region has invested in several infrastructure projects, including water, wastewater, and road rehabilitation in the village of Cobden. Burton elaborates, “That was another project that supported our local subdivisions . It also borders one of our local schools, so it provides better accessibility for pedestrians and other active transportation means.”

Additionally, a significant road rehabilitation project by Cavanaugh Construction was carried out around one of our significant lakes. He explains, “That was completed in 2021, and it was the replacement of the hard surface of the road to a double surface treatment. The length of the road was approximately seven kilometers. So that was a pretty success.”

On the waterside, Cleroux relays that a large investment was made towards the completion of a new wastewater treatment plant in Cobden, and a $2 million project to optimize the Beachburg plant is on the horizon with the help of government funding. “$1.5 million is funded by the federal and provincial government through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP). That’s a major, major project in the township to renew our aging water plant. It is a very good news story,” he highlights.

Economic Growth and Tourism

Over the past five years, Whitewater Region has actively pursued economic development initiatives to bolster various local industries, including tourism, agriculture, industrial, professional, and retail sectors. In 2020, the township brought in an outside consulting firm and initiated a Growth Readiness Action Plan “We interviewed local stakeholders, from business owners, council, staff, and residents to try to gauge what municipally led initiatives the township can undertake to support growth in our community,” says Burton.

“The outcome of this is that we received a series of action items that were recommended to move forward with. We’ve since applied for funding through the Rural Economic Development (RED) program, to prepare a marketing strategy and promotion.”

With this in mind, Whitewater Region is currently working with another firm to market the community, showcasing all of the advantages and amenities that make the township an ideal place to live, work, and play.

The township’s robust tourism sector centers around whitewater activities, including rafting and kayaking, and the Whitewater Region is home to companies that draw water sport enthusiasts, including Wilderness Tours and OWL Rafting. The township is also home to Logos Land Resort, Roaring Rivers Waterpark, and Oaks of Cobden, a prominent 18-hole golf course, all owned by Summerhill Resorts. The camping and cottage life is another draw to the Whitewater Region during the summer months. “We do have quite a few campgrounds,” acknowledges Mayor Nicholson. “That tourism part in Whitewater is pretty strong.”

The Whitewater Region has also been experiencing significant economic growth, evidenced by the addition of industries such as GlassHouse Botanics in the community. “They are a cannabis growing company that’s continuing to ship internationally. They are a recent addition to the township and are doing very well,” Burton describes. Another agricultural enterprise, MacEwan Agricentre, has expanded its grain handling capacity.

Magellan Aerospace, a global company providing integrated products to the aerospace industry is Whitewater Region’s primary employer. The township is witnessing an increase in employment opportunities, driven by substantial growth in its industrial park. Snyder’s Equipment has played a role, purchasing a large parcel to expand its operations, and constructing a heavy equipment garage.

Redi Recycling is also undergoing expansion, as Burton relays, “They have now doubled their landholding and support the recycling of electronic waste.”


An Investment in Recreational Facilities

Whitewater Region has been addressing the challenges posed by aging recreational facilities, another unique issue facing the township. “We have three recreation facilities which were in existence from our pre-amalgamated state,” Burton reports.

“We’ve been managing the existence of these three arenas and more recently trying to examine the need for this amount of assets and infrastructure to support our community.” Admitting that these facilities are all nearing the end of their life cycle, Burton says the township has had to make significant investments into components to support the ice operations.

He expands, “That would include the different compressors, the chillers, the condensers. And we’re looking into installing a new dehumidifier in 2024. What’s happening is while the shell of the facility is generally in reasonable condition, the components to support ice operations are the ones that have to be replaced.”

The Township is currently undertaking an Adaptive Re-Use assessment to examine opportunities for the repurposing of these recreational facilities.

Valued Partnerships

The success of the Whitewater Region can be credited in part to its robust collaborations and partnerships. Burton highlights the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) as a crucial contributor to the township’s water and wastewater management and has supported the municipality for a decade. On the development front, Cleroux emphasizes the significance of BEI, Vereyken Homes and other local builders such as Greenwood Paving and H & H Construction from nearby Pembroke.

The township also values its partnerships with local and Ottawa-based consulting firms  which we  we utilize quite frequently,” Burton remarks.

“Whether it be from road design projects to building condition assessments in the realm of structural reviews, they have a whole realm of services that can be provided.”

He underscores the pivotal role played by engineering firm WSP in active transportation development, and consulting firm Watson and Associates, in supporting community redevelopment through growth and water studies. As well, he points out the importance of local communication companies like North Renfrew Telecom Company (NRTC), Cogeco, and Rogers Communication who contribute significantly to community connectivity.

A Prosperous Future

Looking ahead, Mayor Nicholson envisions a prosperous future for the Whitewater Region. The influx of new residents seeking a rural lifestyle, coupled with the growth in agriculture and economic sectors, paints a promising picture. The region’s central location in Renfrew County makes it an ideal choice for families, contributing to its ongoing success.

“We’re seeing a lot of people move out of the larger city centers, who are looking for rich, rural environments where they can raise their children or retire and enjoy the wilderness,” he portrays.

Click The Cover To View Or Download The Brochure


Whitewater Region

What: A rural township with growing economic and quality of life opportunities.

Where: Renfrew County, Ontario

Website: www.whitewaterregion.ca


Greenwood Paving – www.greenwoodpaving.ca

Pembroke Regional Hospital – https://www.pemreghos.org/

The Delfi Group – www.thedelfigroup.com


February 2024

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