Center Wellington's Economic Development Strategic Action
In 2002-3 the Township of Centre Wellington launched the
preparation of an Economic Development Strategic Action Plan to strengthen the
Township's economy and help guide longer-term economic growth and development in
the municipality. TCI Management Consultants was retained to help develop the
plan under the direction of the Township's economic development committee and
senior Township staff.
scope of the plan included: an assessment of the Township's strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities and threats; the role of tourism, recreation, arts,
culture and special events; the agricultural economy including agri-business and
agri-tourism; the role of the Township in industrial land development and
marketing; business retention and expansion; and downtown core area
The plan needed to address some challenging issues. Paul
Walker, president of the Chamber of Commerce said that one of these is the need
to work together. The outside world basically hasn't heard of Centre
Wellington, he said. "They know us as Fergus and Elora. So a key question here
is whether we should create a new image or identity based around Centre
Wellington, or continue to build upon our existing names. Whichever approach we
take will require that we work together as one community.
The process was highly consultative with a number of
interviews and focus group sessions. In addition, a web site containing
information about the study and soliciting community reaction and input was
The Township of Centre Wellington is a new municipality
created in 1999 as a result of the amalgamation of the Town of Fergus, the
Village of Elora and parts of the Townships of Eramosa, Nichol, Pilkington and
West Garafraxa. It is located in the central portion of Wellington County with a
population of approximately 24,000, with the majority living in one of three
urban centres Fergus, Elora-Salem and Belwood.
Centre Wellington has experienced significant residential
growth throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium. The Township is within
commuting distance of the City of Guelph and Waterloo Region, as well as the
westerly portions of the Greater Toronto Area. It has begun to attract new
residents wishing to relocate from larger urban centres.
The economy of Centre Wellington is broadly based in
agriculture, industry, commerce and tourism. Historically, the Town of Fergus
has been the centre of most industrial and commercial development in the
Township. Elora-Salem and Belwood has tended towards tourism. Fergus and Elora
each have a distinctive downtown commercial core providing a mix of stores and
services addressing the needs of both local residents and tourists.
In recent years, industrial and commercial development has
not kept pace with the rate of growth in residential development. The Township
has determined that a greater effort in terms of economic development needs to
TCI completed an Economic Development Strategic Action Plan
for the Township that identified key actions that must be taken by the
municipality within a 5-year timeframe in order to implement or sustain
longer-term strategic objectives. The action plan developed the following core
An assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and
threats (SWOT analysis)
The regional and local economic trends affecting Centre
Socio-economic characteristics of the Township and
region, and their potential impact upon business creation and retention
The role of tourism, recreation, arts and culture, and
The agricultural economy including agri-business and agri-tourism.
The role of the Township in industrial land development
Business retention and expansion.
Downtown core area revitalization.
The plan then formulated strategic goals and objectives for
economic development within Centre Wellington, as well as an action plan to
implement the goals and objectives. The action plan provided a range of actions
that could be taken towards improving the economic vitality of the Township.
These actions rated and prioritized the likelihood of a positive outcome and
cost to the municipality. Emphasis was placed on those plans that will achieve
positive results at a reasonable cost.
Link to community organizations involved with the project
The Township of Centre Wellington
The Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce
Elora Business Improvement Area (BIA)
Fergus Business Improvement Area (BIA)