Where we are

Chatham-Kent is a thriving centre of innovation, full of creative thinkers and entrepreneurs that are forging new paths and developing ground-breaking techniques and specialized processes. Advanced manufacturers, industrial production, agri-industries and technology companies in Chatham-Kent are sought out by centres of excellence from around the world for our innovative thinking and track record of success.

Where we want to be

Within one generation, our community will be a leader in educational opportunities and be recognized as a destination of choice in Ontario for business investment. We will enhance and grow our leadership as a community that feeds and powers the world through excellence in agriculture and energy production and innovation.

Why it matters

Economic development at the municipal level involves the promotion of growth, accessibility and stability and establishing strong, cohesive communities and regional partnerships within the global market economy.  Fostering municipal economic development requires strategy and cooperation to ensure a connection between the built environment, the social and cultural wellbeing of a community, and sustainable growth.

How we will get there

Enhancement of infrastructure, promotion of natural resources, community education and development of business-friendly initiatives and investment.

 

What we are going to work towards:

  • Improve Infrastructure: Our community invests in essential infrastructure to maintain and grow our economy

  • Grow Agri-Industries: Our community is a world-leader in agri-industries

  • Cultivate Business: Our community works to increase business attraction, retention and expansion 

  • Develop Skills and Education: Our community provides inclusive access and quality education to prepare citizens for current and  future  industries and life-long learning.

      

Note:  CK Plan 2035 is a  living or dynamic document that will be continually edited and updated.  If you know of a project or plan that you are or community groups is working on that will help our community achieve our goals, please let us know.

                                              www.chatham-kent.ca519-360-1998ckplan2035@chatham-kent.ca 

1.1  Improve Infrastructure 

Improving and maintaining infrastructure involves both hard and soft services.   

With more than 6,500 kms of roadways, 830 bridges (five per cent of the provincial total) and 4,800 kilometres of drains to maintain (20 per cent of the provincial total) Chatham-Kent is in a unique position in the province.

We must ensure that our community has good roads, rail transportation, bridges, as well as consistent quality in water and electricity, but we must do so in a manner that supports and maintains that infrastructure over a long term basis.

We also have a role to play in promoting and advocating sufficient, reliable and cost-effective access to through traditional and emerging services ranging from high-speed Internet through the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology Program (SWIFT) to the enhancement of natural gas availability throughout the community.

Municipal infrastructure also includes social infrastructure, which helps to provide quality of life. Those items will be addressed in the “A Healthy and Safe Community and People and Culture” sections of the plan.  

 

What the Community is doing to achieve this goal:

  • Do you know of any community initiative that is planned or currently being implemented that will assist this goal, if so, please contact us.

What is the Municipality of Chatham-Kent doing to achieve this goal:

  • Ensuring that the infrastructure budget and associated reserves are funded
  • Participation in the South Western Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) program for high-speed internet for all of Chatham-Kent by working with the private sector to support regional investment.
  • Strengthened local food system infrastructure (i.e. roads, rail)
  • Providing customer-centric public services that leverage digital infrastructure, people, and processes to serve all residents and businesses (i.e. Customer Service/IT project)
  • Investing in basic infrastructure that will reduce the cost of business and increase the ease of doing business
  • Identify areas within Chatham-Kent that need improvements in infrastructure (i.e. natural gas, water and wastewater) upgrades and continue to work with the Province and the local utility to expand natural gas distribution and capacity throughout the Municipality.
  • Lobby the Provincial government to invest in rural gasification annually and seek senior level government support for expansion of water distribution network.

 

For More Information: 

  • Western Ontario Warden Caucus   WEBSITE


1.2 Grow Agri-Industries 

Our community is a world-leader in agri-industries in every phase of the agricultural process including those that produce, manufacture and process products, those who transport goods to market, those involved in complimentary products, those that concentrate on research to improve agricultural processes and outputs and those that develop innovative methods for the production and sale of products.

Agriculture has been and will continue to be the foundation of Chatham-Kent. Employing more than 16,000 workers, farming and the agri-industries that support it are the mainstay of our economy, allowing us to provide safe and affordable food to the world and a growing economy in our community. 

We need to support programs at the University of Guelph Ridgetown campus, partner with agri-industry groups and provide assistance to promote development of emerging agri-businesses such as greenhouses.

We will continue to advocate for investment in agriculture through senior levels of government. We will use trade shows and other public events to promote public awareness of the importance of agri-business.

 

What the Community is doing to achieve this goal:

  • Operation of a sustainable food system that contributes to the economic, ecological, and social well-being of our community and region.
  • Mechanisms that support and promote food waste recovery and re-use systems that retain biological nutrients for local farmers or other food producers
  • Innovation in agriculture through the use of greenhouses.

 

What is the Municipality of Chatham-Kent doing to achieve this goal:

  • Continue to provide assistance to our producers and our processors. 
  • Help them get more exposure to their products by partnering with them on various trade shows, such as the CK Farm Show, the SIAL Food Show, the Southwest Ag Conference.
  • Help them at their sector’s trade shows through the Export Market Expansion Fund.
  • Help companies with other provincial and federal funding opportunities.
  • Continue to push diversification of crops, such as our ginger project.
  • Continue to work with our greenhouse sector in growing the acres of greenhouse by assisting them through loan and grant support programs from senior government.   
  • Attract new agri-industry investment by promoting community assets to attract new investment  through investment sales missions, tradeshow opportunities, and digital media exposure.
  • Community economic development through the growth, processing, packaging, distribution, marketing, sale, and serving of food.

 

For More Information: 

  • Chatham-Kent Food Policy Council    WEBSITE

 

1.3 Cultivate Business 

Our community works to attract, retain, and expand businesses supporting entrepreneurship to achieve a robust and diversified economy.

We must promote our community assets to attract new investment through investment sales missions, tradeshow opportunities, and media exposure.

We recognize the importance of leveraging funding support from senior levels of government to ensure local firms receive the maximum benefit to help them identify markets and invest in technology, training and expansion.

We will continue to work with educational institutions to match programs to employment needs and skills.

 

What the Community is doing to achieve this goal:

  • Do you know of any community initiative that is planned or currently being implemented that will assist this goal, if so, please contact us.

 

What is the Municipality of Chatham-Kent doing to achieve this goal:

  • Work with local food production/processors/transportation companies to better access local, regional, national and international agricultural trade markets.
  • Build regional plans to capitalize on economies of scale.
  • Meet and work with utility providers to control utility costs
  • Promote community assets to attract new investment through investment sales missions, tradeshow opportunities, digital media exposure, and the corporate visit ion program
  • Continue to develop education materials and seminars to improve operational efficiencies and best-practice awareness.


For More Information: 

  • Prosperity Roundtable Chatham-Kent   LINK
  • Chatham-Kent Workforce Planning Board   LINK
  • Goodwill Enterprises   LINK
  • Small Business Resource Centre   LINK
  • Invest CK  WESBITE

 

1.4 Develop Skills and Education

We will provide a sustainable and skilled workforce to provide inclusive access and quality education to prepare citizens for current and future industries. Sixteen per cent of the labour force is employed in manufacturing.

We aggregate data to identify emerging sectors with strong growth potential and develop partnerships to provide that information across all sectors of the economy.

We undertake action plans for cooperation between the municipality, educational institutions and the various business sectors to facilitate co-operative training, as well as program and skills development to meet their needs.

We use research data and develop relationships with community partners to demonstrate the necessity and value of education to decrease the “no certificate” mindset.

 

What the Community is doing to achieve this goal:

  • Chatham-Kent Workforce Planning Board-Employer One Survey:  The Employer One survey allows employers to have a voice to communicate their workforce needs and challenges to help address any labour market issues in the community. The survey also helps our community identify skills, training, education and labour gaps.
  • Chatham-Kent Workforce Planning Board:  Strengthen the skillset of the workforce to meet the needs of current and future employers by building supply and demand side data to identify gaps in the skills within our own workforce and support the development of training/learning/experiential building to address
  • Chatham-Kent Workforce Planning Board:  Develop a skilled workforce strengthen to meet the needs of current and future employers, such as those involved in low carbon economic opportunities by changing the mindset to value education and “life long learning”; increase educational attainment of both high school level and decrease the number of persons with “no certificate”                               


What is the Municipality of Chatham-Kent doing to achieve this goal

  • Promise of financial assistance in the development of the R&D Centre at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus 
  • Promise of financial assistance for St. Clair College
  • Undertake research around institutional support to emerging sectors with high growth and 'employment potential’
  • Develop action plans for cooperation between the municipality; our educational institutions and the business sector


For More Information: 

  • Chatham-Kent Workforce Planning Board   LINK
  • Goodwill Enterprises   LINK
  • Employer One Survey    RESULTS
  • Gail Course-Chatham Public Library   WEBSITE
  • Chatham-Kent Community Futures Development    WEBSITE

  

Note:  CK Plan 2035 is a  living or dynamic document that will be continually edited and updated.  If you know of a project or plan that you are or community groups is working on that will help our community achieve our goals, please let us know.

                                              www.chatham-kent.ca519-360-1998ckplan2035@chatham-kent.ca