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Economic Recovery Task Force Update

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faces inside an arrow going upKawartha Lakes - The Economic Recovery Task Force met on December 8, 2020 to review the progress to date and close out the year. You can watch the meeting on YouTube.

Topics included new development in the municipality and improvements to the development process, along with a review of the recommendations for recovery that have been adopted by Council.

Development across Kawartha Lakes

There is a variety of new development on the go across the municipality, including new subdivision homes, seniors’ apartments, estate lots and commercial development.

To assist with moving development forward, the Task Force took on the challenge of making the planning and development process more streamlined and easily accessible to key staff and developers. Along with these improvements came a new way of managing site plan applications. The Concierge Pilot Program acts as a link between staff departments to enable developers to have a seamless experience throughout the process. Initial progress is going well and will continue to be measured and adapted in the future.

Other improvements include tracking and managing the status of all new developments through a consolidated spreadsheet system, so they can be presented quarterly to the Planning Advisory Committee and staff so inquiries can be more efficiently answered. Enhancements are also being made to the subdivision planning process to make it simpler for developers to navigate the process.

The Economic Recovery Task Force’s Action Plan was considered and approved by Council on November 17. A full list of the Task Force’s strategic focuses and recommendations are available online in the Action Plan. Here are a few of the key recommendations that were adopted:

  • Council continue to support residents and businesses with access to high speed broadband and to eliminate cell gaps through the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN).
  • Patios and restaurants are allowed to expand into parking lots or sidewalks if requested, at no charge in 2021.
  • A current exemption is in place for all Industrial Development Charges and up to 2,500 square metres of Commercial Development Charges. This exemption will be reviewed again by Council at the end of 2021.
  • The implementation of the Culture Master Plan be accelerated and Council to consider setting up an immediate short term funding program in 2021 for the cultural sector.
  • The Downtown Fenelon Falls reconstruction project will proceed in 2021.
  • Kawartha Lakes Innovation Cluster Pilot Project extended to December 31, 2021.
  • The ongoing Tourism and Shop Local campaigns will be maintained to continue to support local business.
  • Local businesses can receive support for digital transformation through the Digital Main Street program.
  • Increased signage and portable washrooms in downtowns and major parks.
  • Increased investment in boat launches and trails, for improved access and enjoyment.

The Economic Recovery Task Force was established to provide advice and recommendations to Council and Staff to stimulate local economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. While implementing its Action Plan, the Task Force will continue to look for opportunities to further invest in infrastructure, stimulate development and support the recovery of local business.

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