The Committee itself was formed about a year before the closure of Resolute (Bowater) paper mill to come up with a plan to revitalize the community. It consisted of the mayor, three councillors and Economic Development staff.
The Committee pinpointed three sectors to focus on, calling them pillars. The three pillars consisted of Health and Wellness, Academic Research and Development, and Arts and Culture.
Later the Committee received support from the South Queens Chamber of Commerce and the North Queens Board of Trade. Since the closure of the mill several public meetings have taken place to get community input in all areas but also in focus groups, which focused on individual pillars in the committee’s plan.
The Committee hired consultants Louis Grenier and David Harrison to listen to and take all community input and create a final strategy and report.
The final report that was presented on Feb. 13 identified nine actions the community can focus on, three in each of the pillars.
The report lists these actions:
Health and Wellness:
Extend the collaborative care model that has been used to attract physicians to other medical professions such as nurses or physiotherapists.
Do a facility feasibility study for an assisted living project, to be developed as part of an aging-in-place campus.
Promote health and wellness through a community survey.
Academic Research and Development:
Define and document the scope, sites, locations, natural assets, facilities and research projects associated with the Biosphere, with a view of creating a hub to promote research facilities and experience to potential users.
Undertake research into commercialization opportunities associated with natural products such as haskap berries, seaweed, mushrooms, green crab etc.
Promote the North Queens Innovation Centre concept to potential tenants and partners.
Arts and Culture:
Consider all options to expand and promote Queens County’s niche arts festivals such as Liverpool International Theatre Festival, Hank Snow Tribute, Liverpool Ukulele Ceilidh and Port Medway Readers’ Festival.
Build, promote and animate a joint virtual presence for arts and culture in Queens.
Promote the use of the Liverpool Waterfront for festivals and events.
These actions were chosen out of a pool of 50 ideas given by the community in several sets of public meetings and focus groups.
Each action would require a “champion” who is knowledgeable in the chosen action who could also provide assistance to “promoters”. A promoter would then search for investors in each field.
The report also outlined an overall marketing plan for Queens County. This includes such initiatives as: creating a branding process for Queens, determining unique selling points, implementing a social media strategy, developing a one-pager advertisement for stakeholders indicating the reasons for living, playing and working in Queens and researching people from Queens who now live away and utilizing their contact network for potential actions.
“Everyone can play a part. What will yours be?” says Louis Grenier, Senior Expert, DAA Strategies, Project Manager.
The presentation of the report was met by tepid response from the crowd of around 50 community members. Few questions and comments were made after the 45-minute presentation.
Mayor Christopher Clarke said council made the decision that economic development will be the Region’s focus for the county. To that end, they are increasing the resources put into the Economic Development Department to support this initiative, as well as what came out of the Transition Report in December.
Mayor Clarke added they are in the early stages of getting some of the easier initiatives started now.
The full report can be found online: