Bordering the Niagara Region and the City of Hamilton, Haldimand County is a quaint community in the Golden Horseshoe. Home to 46,000, Haldimand County is a multi-faceted community with large bases in the industrial and agricultural sectors. Named a single-tier municipality in 2001, Haldimand County incorporated the former communities of Caledonia, Cayuga, Dunnville, Hagersville, Jarvis, and Townsend.
A diverse community spread over a large geography, Haldimand County embodies exceptional community spirit and local involvement. James Goodram, Manager of Economic Development and Tourism with Haldimand County, told The Canadian Business Journal, “People are very friendly and community minded. Everyone is willing to help one another. It is unbelievable here.”
Tourism and Community Vibrancy
On the shores of Lake Erie, Haldimand County is a place where people love to live and love to visit. The tourism industry plays a significant role in Haldimand County, where local attractions such as Bing Conservation Park see more than 300,000 visitors each year. The Grand River, which flows through Haldimand County, connects the county with its surrounding region. Goodram commented, “I think where you have water, you have a huge opportunity for tourism.”
Offering an affordable cost of living, Haldimand County brings together all of the amenities, plus businesses across the industrial, commercial, and residential landscapes. It’s an attractive model that’s bringing businesses from the Golden Horseshoe into Haldimand County.
“Our council has made decisions to create a community that is healthy and vibrant,” Goodram summarized. “We’re doing things for the business community and we’re also doing it for the people who live here. When you invest in community vibrancy, it is a real opportunity to promote tourism. Haldimand offers a good work/life balance.”
Bringing Industry to Haldimand
Home to industrial giants such as Ontario Power Generation, Imperial Oil, and U. S. Steel Canada, Haldimand County hosts major employers as well as smaller supportive industries, creating many opportunities for economic diversity and a solid base through tougher economic periods. Haldimand County has made diversity a key goal, so it is not relying on a single industry, another factor which makes the community an attractive business base.
Businesses want to operate in Haldimand County. When American-based Smucker’s shuttered its Canadian operations and consolidated in the United States, it left its former Dunnville plant empty. The vacant facility has drawn significant interest from companies looking to operate in Haldimand County, and the County continues to work with interested parties in returning the plant to operation.
As another example, Teme Engineering recently relocated its operations to Haldimand County to a same size site, a move which significantly reduced its property tax expense and one that takes advantage of Haldimand County’s regional connectedness. Other local initiatives, such as a financial assistance program that encourages downtown core properties to engage in property improvement, are also available in Haldimand County, furthering the message that the county offers exceptional business opportunities.
In recent years, Haldimand County has also turned its attention to the green energy sector, and sees the development of wind turbines and solar panels becoming a significant sector in the county. As it stands, more than 45 wind turbines are currently under construction in Haldimand County, with another 150 approved for construction, plus the development of 1,000 acres of solar fields. Financing from these projects will contribute to Haldimand’s Community Vibrancy Fund, which will then be used to for local enhancement, including park projects as well as new upgraded community facilities.
From a local development perspective, Haldimand County focuses on creating economic opportunities, ensuring community vibrancy, and establishing an efficient corporate image. Haldimand County acts as a facilitator of business development.
“Everything we do, every decision we make, ties back to our three pillars,” Goodram explained. “We aggressively go out and make calls to businesses, see how they’re doing, see if they have any expansion plans, see if they’re facing any issues that we can assist with. If a business is interested in establishing in Haldimand County, we’ll pull all the resources together for you, acting as a one-stop shop. We’ve created a nice package for someone who is interested in doing business in Haldimand County.
“We continue to chip away at our three strategic pillars. We’re creating a nice environment that attracts people to live in Haldimand County and an environment that businesses will want to call home.”