In a wide-ranging speech this morning, Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope said the community is in strong financial shape and is willing to invest in the future.
Hope told attendees at a Chatham and District Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting that the municipality’s debt has reduced by 40 per cent in the past seven years, its unemployment rate is roughly half of what it was seven years ago and the local real estate industry had its strongest sales year in history in 2016.
A survey by the Chatham-Kent Workforce Planning board indicates local firms are prepared to add more than a thousand jobs this coming year.
He pointed to the greenhouse sector where $22 million was spent in construction last year and noted that a proposed Union Gas service expansion could provide enough capacity for 750 acres of greenhouses and potentially a billion dollar economic boost to the community.
The mayor said Chatham-Kent continues to be a leader provincially and nationally in renewable energy through wind power.
Despite a 40 per cent funding gap in what the community should be receiving in provincial infrastructure funding, he noted Chatham-Kent will spend more than $46 million to upgrade roads, bridges and sewers this year.
Chatham-Kent council has approved up to $3 million to partner with TekSavvy and Entegrus to bring high-speed internet service to underserviced parts of the municipality.
He said development of an interchange at Highway 401 and Charing Cross Road is vital to economic development on the south side of Chatham and he will continue to push the province for a funding commitment.
He said Chatham-Kent’s progress in building trails and advocating for healthier lifestyles makes it imperative that it invest in upgrading the Wallaceburg Memorial Arena and undertake serious plans for the closure of Memorial Arena and creation of a multi-ice pad facility.
Through CK Plan 2035, the mayor said the community will continue its development, socially, culturally and economically, to “become a welcoming, healthy, prosperous community that is culturally rich and naturally innovative.”
For more information contact
Mayor Randy Hope
519-360-1998 x 3001
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
519-360-1998 x 3624