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New Hamburg Board of Trade General Membership Meeting

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

  • Catered by The Waterlot.
  • 50/50 draw: $78.50 was won by Doug Coxson.
  • Guest speaker: Township of Wilmot's Mayor Les Armstrong.

1. Employment Lands

  • President Steve Wagler gave a presentation that helped to clarify the New Hamburg Board of Trade's proposed involvement in encouraging new business in the designated employment lands (identified as the farm fields located between Hamilton Road , Highway 7&8 and Nafziger Road).
  • The objective of the Board of Trade is to promote the commercial, retail, industrial, agricultural and civic welfare of New Hamburg and the surrounding district. The Board has a responsibility to work with all stakeholders, including Wilmot Township, landowners, Board members and non-members to make sure that New Hamburg is attracting the right investments and employers of the future. This focus is not only about bringing new employers to New Hamburg, but equally focused on our existing employers, enabling them to grow their operations right here in our community.
  • The current council and staff are very supportive in seeing the employment lands develop into a business park. The township is prepared to invest in the construction of the road that will link Hamilton Road to Nafziger Road. The only caveat for making this investment in a roadway is that the lands be developed for employment (not residential).
  • The June 2013 Wilmot Strategic Plan identifies a key goal of having a prosperous economy as a strategic initiative through investing in our downtowns and developing our industrial and employment lands. This strategy will be developed further once the Region has approved its strategic master plan, which should be approved late 2015. Once this is complete, Wilmot will develop its strategy inside of the regional scope.
  • There is a transition happening at the same time that will result in the transformation of The Canadian Technology Triangle into a newly-formed corporation known as the Waterloo Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). WEDC is in the midst of a board selection which will be followed by a search for a CEO (late summer/early fall 2015). Operational hires will take place following that, so effectively this new economic development corporation will be close to one year away from setting their own strategy (following the 2014 strategy plan guidelines).
  • The third recommendation that came out of the Waterloo Region Economic Study from April 2013 was to prepare the East Side Strategic Employment Lands in Cambridge for new development opportunities.
  • In summary, Wilmot Township will be developing its strategies on economic development once the Region has developed the Regional master strategy, which will likely occur by the end of 2015/early 2016, which means the Wilmot plan will be completed in 2016, with a late 2016 or 2017 implementation (2 years from now). In addition, it is clear that the employment lands that will be focused on are located at the East end of Cambridge near the airport.
  • Ross Steckley: Ross is a resident of New Hamburg with 18 years of experience working in North Carolina in Economic Development and tourism. His roots are in New Hamburg and his passion is to see New Hamburg and the greater community thrive. He is also a member of the Board of trade.
  • Landowners: The George family and the Schneider family.
  • What are we looking to accomplish? The Board of Trade would like to engage a sub committee to focus on three things. (1) Survey our existing businesses to know what types of services or opportunities may or may not be on the horizon (even if we are paying for this we should be engaging our economic development officer in this process – perhaps we can recoup this investment as this work would need to be done in 2017). We also had intended on capturing tourism in this survey. Estimate for this work: $9,000. (2) Prepare a vision document for this business park (create the image that the entire community can get excited about). Estimate: $3,000 for this work. (3) Create a partnership with the landowners, Wilmot Township (economic development officer), and the business community, so we can all benefit by partnering together and supporting each others interests.
  • Why now? (1) If we don’t step up and make a small investment today, we may not be happy with the outcome that we receive. (2) If we leave it to Regional strategy, there will be little focus on Wilmot Employment Lands over the short term. (3) If we create a vision over the next 18 months and work to certify lands, we will be ready in 2017 and have equal opportunity to attract attention from the WEDC. (4) We believe that we have an opportunity to shape the outcome of the employment lands by positively influencing all parties.
  • How have we led in the past?
    - When we needed family doctors to come to town did we ask the township to pay for a study?
    - When we wanted a heritage streetscape would we have had much of an influence using someone else’s money driving for change?
    - When we envisioned a waterwheels along the Nith River as a community Icon…who paid for the model. That model is what created the vision and the community excitement.

2. Guest speaker: Mayor Les Armstrong

  • Our guest speaker, Township of Wilmot's Mayor Les Armstrong, gave a state-of-the-township speech. Amongst the topics covered by Mayor Armstrong were the township's debt-free status (unique in the Region), and he thanked his staff and fellow council members, including councillors Jeff Gerber and Mark Murray, who were also present at this evening's meeting.

3. Highway signage

  • Steve Wagler introduced guest Victoria Locke (UnLocked), who spoke about the options being explored for New Hamburg tourism signage, including regulations that might influence the sign's proposed design and placement.

4. Marketing report

  • Nigel Gordijk gave details of our recent survey regarding the timing of the Board's monthly general members meetings. In answer to the question "What time of day would you prefer for our Board of Trade general members meetings?", these were the responses:
    - Morning (breakfast meeting): 0
    - Afternoon (lunchtime meeting): 2 (6.67%)
    - Evening (dinnertime meeting): 14 (46.67%)
    - Mix it up (meet at different times of day): 13 (43.33%)
    - Don't mind what time of day: 1 (3.33%)
    Full details, including individual responses, can be read here.
  • Website visitor statistics and social media followers in the past 30 days:
    - - 1,172 visitors
    - - 460 visitors
    - Twitter - 503 followers
    - Facebook - 180 likes

5. Financial report

  • Joe Figliomeni acknowledged receipt of the auditors' report on March 23.

6. New business

  • Steve Wagler announced that the next general members meeting will be a site tour at ODG.
  • Motion by Steve to accept minutes for the February 25 general members meeting and March 11 executive meeting; seconded by Paul Knowles; carried.
  • Our annual golf tournament will be on Monday, June 8 at Dundee Country Club, which has already been booked.
  • April 20 will mark the ground-breaking anniversary of the New Hamburg waterwheel. The Board will be commissioning a subcomittee to work on a celebration for Fall 2015.
  • Larry Zehr announced that the New Hamburg Great Ride 'N' Stride cancer fundraiser will be taking place Sunday, April 26, starting at ABsolute Fitness & Personal Training on Hincks Street.

7. Meeting adjourned: 8:58 p.m.

Minutes as recorded by Nigel Gordijk.