There’s No Place Like Home Did you happen to catch the recent CTV Canada A.M. segment featuring the new Bridge Bistro and Café with owner Bev Appleby? Or how about our own young Jordan McIntosh interviewed and performing on CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning just last week? Once again, Carleton Place was spotlighted to the entire region as a community of great people, a great place to live, and a great destination. And the list goes on … another Up Close and Personal Concert in the Town Hall featuring Lynn Miles, exciting Carleton Place Canadian play-off games at the arena, a Free-Cycle Day at Carambeck Community Centre and the 2013 Electronics Recycling event at the Rona parking lot, and the second annual spectacular Home and Fashion Show in the middle of the month are just a few of the special events happening in April. The same hardworking volunteers who brought us The Winter Carnival in February post daily on the Carleton Place Social Scene Facebook page – check it out for an amazing list of events for everyone in the community. The Town has so much to offer our residents – quality housing, entertainment, dining and shopping, superior arts and sports events, indoor and outdoor recreation opportunities, topnotch hospital, schools and daycare facilities, and a myriad of service clubs, youth groups, and special interest organizations. Business owners and entrepreneurs, volunteer groups and individuals all contribute to making Carleton Place a thriving, exciting community. Let’s each of us do our part by supporting, participating, promoting and just getting involved. As Dorothy said, ‘There’s no place like home.’ She must have been talking about Carleton Place!
W.E.L.L. Done in Carleton Place - Several months ago, after lunch at the Eating Place, I popped in next door to chat with Erica Zwicker of the Floral Boutique. As I still had plenty of time before being due back at the Town Hall, I went to neighbouring business owner Michelle Bedel’s Surrounding Memories, then crossed the street to speak with Janice Martin and Gail Sheen-MacDonald at Wisteria, continued over to Chantal Gervais’ Sunshine’s Then and Now, and finished up at Krista Lee’s Applecheeks. Later in the afternoon I was reflecting on my visits and it suddenly struck me that these businesses were all run by women entrepreneurs! It didn’t take much time for me to realize that a large majority of our BIA’s businesses are owned and run by women – and many of them young women. I followed up with Cathie McOrmond, manager of the BIA, who became equally excited. We both felt strongly that somehow this fact needed to be made public, needed to be recognized and needed to be built upon. Early in the New Year, I spoke with Susan Fournier, Executive Director of Valley Heartland, a Federal Government Agency that administrates both federal and provincial economic development funding programs. Within 48 hours of the call, Susan, Carleton Place Economic Development Co-ordinator Jasmin Ralph, Cathie McOrmond and I were sitting down talking over how we can assist these entrepreneurs, draw attention to their presence in our community, and make it work for the benefit of both the town and the women. Interestingly, the timing could not have been better as Susan had determined her three areas of focus in the next fiscal year starting in April, and one of them just happened to be creating a program to support female entrepreneurs. Then, during International Women’s Week, Susan announced the initiative W.E.L.L . – Women Entrepreneurs of Lanark and (North) Leeds – to be headquartered in Carleton Place. The program is essentially a support network with some funding capabilities; established women entrepreneurs will act as mentors to start-up business owners, and will also determine who receives support from the funding pool. As the program is in its early planning stages, details still need to be worked out. Stay tuned! W.E.L.L. done, once again, Carleton Place!
(For Part 1, see the February 2013 EMC Column) Call it the domino effect, the snowball effect or the ripple effect, we all know that making even the simplest of decisions can have long-term, far-reaching outcomes. In our municipal world, having a clear understanding of the complexities of a decision depends on having a long-term vision for the community and an in-depth appreciation of all sides of an issue. This is where a Council working hand-in-hand with its Staff can make informed decisions that will be of both present and future benefit to the community as a whole. Recently, Council was faced with a request to sell municipal property and change the designation of Employment Lands on Hooper Street (formerly known as Industrial Lands) to allow a mixed Residential and Commercial complex. The plan, presented by a local developer, was certainly attractive. However, it would result in the Town having no town-owned land available for industry – a rather peculiar situation, given the fact that we hired an Economic Development Co-ordinator for the express purpose of creating more, and expanding current, employment-generating businesses. Indeed, there is presently a very good supply of privately-owned land available in Carleton Place for residential/commercial complexes without the Town competing with private owners. That said, the Town actually owns property in the downtown core where the proposed mixed residential/commercial development would be welcome. A complex of this sort certainly supports Council’s Downtown Revitalization Plan, and the Town has encouraged the developer to consider this property. Two members of Council viewed the decision not to change the designation of the Hooper Street lands from Employment Lands to mixed-use Residential as a ‘missed opportunity’. Five members, while acknowledging the attractiveness of the plan, voted to confirm the current land-use plan for the reasons listed above. As one of the majority, I pointed out that the decision is reflective of the vision for the community that we have all supported – that is, that we ensure that development has long-term, lasting benefits for the entire community. As with any decision, time will tell if it was right. One thing for sure, we will all have our own interpretations and opinions on that as well!