According to Peterborough’s next official plan, which is still in its draft stages, the population of the city is forecast to grow from 83,000 to 115,000 by 2041.
To accommodate a growth of 32,000 residents, the city needs to achieve an employment activity rate of at least one job for every two residents.
The anticipated growth for the employment sector is to a total of 58,000 jobs by 2041, representing an increase of 14,000 jobs.
“So what are those potential growth sectors? We have to make sure our education institutions are aligned with those potential growth sectors, that we’re creating that talent pipeline, so that jobs want to come here,” said Rhonda Keenan, president and CEO of Peterborough and The Kawarthas Economic Development.
“Fourteen thousand jobs is ambitious, but I think we’ll get there.”
One issue facing Peterborough is available land. Right now, there’s very little inventory within the city limits to accommodate a large industry from locating here.
“I think we have an ongoing problem. It’s been an issue for decades and that’s the availability of serviced employment lands,” said Stu Harrison, president and CEO of the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.
“Whether it’s the township or the city, they’re not talking to each other. If we’re adopting an official plan, it needs to be specific of where the jobs will be.”
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The main economic drivers for Peterborough and the Kawarthas are agriculture and tourism.
“We’re trying to capitalize on our personality. Green and cleantech is certainly an area of growth,” added Keenan. “We’ve got a strong agriculture community which has more capacity. Tourism is a strength, so how do we align those things to make them stronger?
“So, we’re going to try some creative things to build on that to create more jobs and bring in more visitors. We need to leverage what we have.”
The Official Plan was last updated 38 years ago. The new draft focuses on five themes: Complete Community, Environmental Stewardship, Vibrant and Unique, More Options for Mobility and Strong and Diverse Economy.
Some major changes to the plan including proposing a new natural heritage system, providing different types of employment opportunities and extending some existing commercial developments.
The City will be reaching out to the community over the next few months to consult with residents on the draft document. City staff will prepare a final version of the draft Official Plan for public review before it goes to city council for a decision in Feb. 2020.
More to come…