KINGSTON — Encouraging local food production and consumption, finding ways to promote smaller houses on farms and supporting economic development in the hamlets are among the objectives in a rural economic development strategy to go before city council Tuesday night.
The rural economic strategy is part of the city’s new integrated economic development policy, and improving the rural economy was among the strategic priorities adopted early in the current term of city council.
“The purpose of the strategy is to create intentional development in the rural region that will leverage the existing assets, industries and opportunities of the area,” a report to council from Peter Huigenbos, commissioner of business, environment and projects, stated. “The ultimate goal of the strategy is to position the city of Kingston to ensure short- and long-term sustainable economic development growth of rural kingston.”
Council is to be asked to spend up to $200,000 to continue fund the rural economic development work.
“The work to implement the recommendations of the strategy will require a co-operative approach across city departments, with the work touching many disciplines and areas of city work, including strategy and innovation, land use planning, cultural services and business support, amongst many others,” Huigenbos added. “Partnership from other stakeholders such as Kingston Economic Development, Tourism Kingston and Utilities Kingston will also be of key importance to the success of the implementation of recommendations.”
In 2017, council spent a similar amount, and the city said that investment attracted $2.33 million in federal and provincial grants.
The rural strategy included input from 375 survey responses and 21 meetings with interested parties.
The rural area of Kingston, as defined by the city, has about 19,000 residents — about 15 per cent of the city’s total population — and covers 83 per cent of the municipality’s land.