The Ontario’s Lake Country BR+E project was implemented in 5 phases:
In mid-2014 a Leadership Team was formed, comprised of municipal and county staff representatives. In the latter part of 2014 and the first half of 2015, the CDC initiated the implementation of a BR+E program by coordinating the efforts of the municipal & county economic development representatives, as well as provincial funders.
A Community Task Force was recruited to expand and enhance the depth of experience of the Leadership Team. The Task Force members were strategically invited to join the Task Force to ensure regional representation of the business community.
In July 2015 Gary Staines was contracted, through the CDC, as the BR+E Program Coordinator. Additional assistance, including database support, came from Michael Hawke, who participated in the 2011 Orillia BR+E project.
In this phase of the project, volunteer interviewers were recruited and trained, our local survey was written, and a marketing strategy developed.
To encourage participation in the survey, a direct-mail campaign was started in late August, 2015 and followed up by email, phone calls and in-person connections. Businesses invited to participate represented a cross-section of the local economy in an effort to deliver the most accurate picture of the local business climate.
BR+E surveys were conducted over a seven-month period from September 2015 to March 2016. The interviewers met face-to-face with approximately half of the 160 businesses interviewed. The other half of the businesses completed the survey by telephone interview or independently.
Preliminary analysis of the qualitative and quantitative survey data was completed by Lisa Avery, Avery Information Services Ltd. It was then presented to and reviewed by the Leadership Team, who made some fundamental changes to the presentation structure of the preliminary reports in order that it better reflect the significance of the results on a municipal/area level, as well as a regional level.
A community action planning session was held in order to provide community stakeholders and participants with an opportunity to review the research and results, as well as to invite input on developing community action plans.
The findings from the community action planning session were consolidated, as were initiatives currently underway within our communities. The Leadership Team utilized this information to generate the recommended next steps.
The final BR+E Report was compiled. Overall findings from the BR+E Project have culminated in this final report to be used to develop community-based economic development strategies. The findings will also be presented in a series of presentations to the community and local councils.