Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development to dissolve at end of 2024

Click to play video: 'Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development announces plans to cease operations'
Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development announces plans to cease operations
The region's lead economic development agency will cease operations by the end of the year. The city and county of Peterborough will not renew a funding agreement with Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development, instead moving the services in house. A dozen PKED staff will be impacted. Germain Ma has more on what this change will mean for the region – Jun 3, 2024

The Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED) corporation will dissolve at the end of 2024 as Peterborough city and county will conduct their own in-house operations for economic development.

On Monday, PKED announced its intention to dissolve the corporation after the City of Peterborough and Peterborough County both provided notice to not renew the tri-party memorandum of understanding, which expires on Dec. 31.

The city and county have indicated intentions to focus on economic development and tourism in-house. The not-for-profit PKED was established in 1998 to deliver economic development and tourism services to the city and county.

“The decision made by the city and county eliminates PKED’s core funding structure,” PKED stated. “The organization will neither have the capacity nor resources to deliver economic and tourism services on behalf of the region.”

Story continues below advertisement

PKED says its 12 staff have received notifications of termination and to vacate its offices and the Tourism Visitor Centre in the Venture North business hub in downtown Peterborough.

Burton Lee, PKED’s board of directors chairperson, says the organization will continue its work for the remainder of the year as the region is “poised for unprecedented growth.”

“As reports on new economic development and tourism models are being considered councils in June, we eagerly await the opportunity to review them and to identify opportunities for service continuity for the businesses and clients that rely on PKED,” he said. “As a high-performing economic development agency, the health and vitality of the local economy are at the core of our mission, and our team has a vested interest in supporting a mutually beneficial transition.”

Get the day's top news, political, economic, and current affairs headlines, delivered to your inbox once a day.

Get daily National news

Get the day's top news, political, economic, and current affairs headlines, delivered to your inbox once a day.
By providing your email address, you have read and agree to Global News' Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Lee noted the city and county should follow up on PKED’s existing and remaining work.

Click to play video: 'Peterborough could opt for ‘in-house’ approach for economic development as deal with PKED expires at end of 2024'
Peterborough could opt for ‘in-house’ approach for economic development as deal with PKED expires at end of 2024

“There will be a significant disruptive impact if these plans do not factor in the vast number of existing projects, programs, and initiatives that PKED has developed,” he said. “The award-winning campaigns and highly recognized Peterborough & the Kawarthas brand are an outcome of our staff’s collaborative and strategic expertise.”

Story continues below advertisement

PKED’s president and CEO Rhonda Keenan hopes many team members can continue their work with the city and county.

“The critical value of our team’s knowledge, expertise, and relationships with local, regional, national, and international partners, businesses, investors, and media cannot be understated,” she said. “It is our hope that the new models will include positions for our existing team of passionate and dedicated economic development professionals to continue serving the business community and attracting investment to the region.”

Peterborough Mayor Jeff Leal tells Global News that the city’s share of the $2.5-million contract with PKED was just over $1 million. The county itself would not be able to fund PKED alone.

“We got some very sobering statistics about census metropolitan areas in Ontario, looking at growth for the last six or seven years,” said Leal. “The City of Peterborough is at the very bottom of GDP growth.”

Leal says it’s time for the city to go in a new direction.

“We have an investment of $12.5 million in servicing and clean tech commons — we happen to think that the availability of industrial land needs to be promoted actively. Trent (University) and Fleming (College) should play a larger role in our economic development profile.”

In a statement, Peterborough County notes it has established a dedicated economic development transition committee last month comprising county and town staff and council members, including Selwyn Township Mayor Sherry Senis and Havelock-Belmont-Methuen Township Mayor Jim Martin.

Story continues below advertisement

The committee has a report going to county council for its meeting on Wednesday, June 5, outlining the County’s new Strategic Plan and work for a smooth transition from PKED. There is also a recommendation to hire an economic development general manager.

“With a county focus, we can look to other neighbours to possibly partner with,” County Warden Bonnie Clark told Global News. “City of Kawartha Lakes has a huge economic development team. I think there could be some opportunities there. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention our eight municipalities.”

— more to come

Click to play video: '5-year economic strategic plan unveiled for Peterborough and Kawarthas'
5-year economic strategic plan unveiled for Peterborough and Kawarthas

Sponsored content