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____________________ Friday June 20, 2014 ___________________

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Economic Development

New Framework for Economic Development in Waterloo Region nears completion

Waterloo Region – Several key pieces needed to develop a new framework for Economic Development in Waterloo Region are nearing completion. The first is the creation of a Waterloo Region Economic Development Strategy (WREDS). The second is the recommendation that a new Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation (WREDC) be set up to lead regional- scale economic development activities.

At a joint meeting yetserday of Regional and Area Municipal Councillors, staff provided an update on both of these initiatives. The WREDS is in the final stages of development, following extensive stakeholder consultation, including an Open House held Thursday May 15, 2014. Most recent work has involved the refinement of the Vision, Goals and Objectives that will provide strategic direction to the various organizations involved in the Waterloo Region Economic Development “Ecosystem.” Members of the community are invited to visit www.wreds.ca to find out more about this strategy and to comment on the draft Strategic Directions.

Staff are also recommending the establishment of a new Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation (WREDC) that will focus on the delivery of region-wide economic development activities. The WREDC would be a business focused, arms-length, not-for-profit corporation governed by a Board of Directors. It would be responsible for several key functions, including coordinating the implementation of the WREDS, investment attraction, marketing and promotion, key sector development activities, as well as many other activities related to the coordination, facilitation and integration of various economic development efforts.

“It is an exciting time in Waterloo Region. With the formation of an innovative Strategy that includes aggressive goals and objectives, and the creation of a region-wide organization that can focus on turning those goals into actions, there will be many new opportunities for the community to work together and maximize the economic opportunities of the future.” Said Gerry Remers, President and COO of Christie Digital Systems Canada, Inc. and Chair of the WREDS Advisory Committee.

Each of these initiatives are being co-ordinated jointly by the Region of Waterloo, the Cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, the Townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich and Canada’s Technology Triangle Inc. All recommendations have also been reviewed by an advisory committee of community leaders and other key stakeholders. A more detailed report outlining the status of this work will be presented to Regional Council and each Area Municipal Council for consideration and decision this summer.

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Current Issue: Exchange June 2014