Brockville – The City of the 1000 Islands touts itself as the perfect place to live, work and play.
Brockville is located along the scenic St. Lawrence River with easy access to the 401 and border crossings. But the city is not attracting the kind of growth that it wants.
David Beatty/CEO Canarm
“There’s no question. It’s a concern and we’ve got to do everything we can to put our best foot forward.”
David Beatty is the CEO of Canarm, one of Brockville’s largest manufacturers. With 152 employees, this family-owned business has deep roots in the city…. and knows a thing or two about attracting and retaining employees.
“Our manufacturing base has changed from mostly international to mostly local so there is some hope that as succession planning happens that maybe the kids look at it and say well you know what I wouldn’t mind moving back to Brockville.”
It’s clear from the 2016 Census that Brockville has some selling to do. At a time when other cities are growing, Brockville’s is shrinking. The population is just over 21-thousand — which is down 2.4 percent compared with the last census in 2011.
“Although Brockville is sitting behind the national and provincial average when it comes to growth — members of the local business community say those numbers tell them a different story and say those numbers really should be taken with a grain of salt.”
“The population is actually a lagging indicator of economic success.
So what this number is telling me is what happened five or ten years ago. So we have to be looking forward five or ten years, what do we do to change that number.”
Business leaders say the key to future growth is regional cooperation.
Brockville is running out of room for new houses and businesses… so most of the growth is migrating to the surrounding townships.
“That’s why we’re looking more regionally and you’re hearing stories and seeing some more of the developments of working more along the corridor of the 401 on a regional basis. And the bedroom of a lot of our growth is in our surrounding townships right now .”
Paul also says they need to do a better job of selling what they already have.
…. a hospital, community college and affordable housing prices…. while investing in infrastructure and services… to get more people to settle here.
Morganne Campbell CKWS News Brockville.