Clarington takes first step to move economic development in-house

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Published July 9, 2021 at 1:17 pm

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Has Clarington outgrown its small-town roots?

Considering the municipality has now grown to city size, with an estimated population of 105,000, and still outsources its economic development, that thought is on the minds of its councillors, who have decided a marketing re-think is in order.

Clarington Council has directed staff to “renegotiate” its contract with the Clarington Board of Trade and Office of Economic Development (CBOT) to “ensure it keeps supporting local business.”

The new contract will have a two-year term, include “clearly defined roles and responsibilities,” as well as “clearly defined deliverables.” Under the new contract, the CBOT will be offered municipal office space.

Clarington is also looking to hire a dedicated Economic Development Officer to work in the Planning and Development Services Department, with the cost to be covered through a corresponding reduction to the CBOT contract.

The position would focus on attracting investment and new business to the municipality and the successful applicant will be expected to create a centralized, coordinated “point of investor” contact, the type of in-house approach found in other cities and towns in Durham and around the province.

Staff have also been directed to retain a consultant (at $50,000) and create an Economic Development Strategy, which would clarify economic development roles and responsibilities as divided internally between staff and the CBOT.

Clarington is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the GTA and the largest in size in Durham. Most of the population lives in Bowmanville – the only semi-urban centre – and in Courtice, which is a bedroom community on Oshawa’s eastern border.

The rest of the population live in the village of Newcastle and in a number of small hamlets and rural pockets spread out across the 611 square kilometre territory.

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