Presentation to council proposes new economic path

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Mike Perry and Dennis Geelen believe that Kawartha Lakes should be looking at new and innovative ways to build back in the post- pandemic economy in central Ontario and shared their vision with council at the committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 3.

Perry is a lawyer and social worker who has long been interested in social policy. Geelen is a business consultant, focused on innovation and customer-centric solutions for small businesses, recently releasing a book on this topic.

“We can do better coming back from the pandemic,” Perry said. “We must re-build in a better way,” he added, “and we need to look for ideas outside the box.”

“The new economy needs to be sustainable, viable and more shockproof,” Perry continued, “and we need a new way to be and exist.”

Perry, Geelen and four others have been working on their ideas for a number of months and told council that they would like their ideas to compliment the suggestions being put forward by the Economic Recovery Task Force, who also presented their findings at this meeting.

Perry shared with council that Trent University hosted a People’s Economic Summit with over 80 participants. Many of the ideas they were putting forward came out of discussions at that summit.

Geelen suggested there were as many as seven different ideas that came from the Trent sessions that could be implemented by the municipality.  As a group they chose to focus on three ideas that they hope Kawartha Lakes will embrace.

“We would like to see incentives for co-ops and social enterprises, “ Geelen said. “We would also like to see a home ownership re-fit program and (see) the municipality lobby the provincial and federal government to re-tool the old Fleetwood plant to produce products for a greener economy.”

“We want to figure out how we do business better,” Perry added.

Mayor Andy Letham praised the presentation as one “with many great ideas.”

Councillor Doug Elmslie asked the mayor if the Perry/Geelen report could be added to the Economic Recovery Task Force report for further study at the next council meeting.

Letham thought that idea made good sense, and later in the meeting by unanimous vote the report was added to the task force report for further discussion and debate on Nov. 17.

Kirk is a retired high school history teacher and coach who has had a lifelong interest in politics at all levels. Since retiring, Kirk has spent the last three years doing freelance writing of all kinds for various platforms. Kirk can often be found sitting in the press gallery at City Hall observing and reporting on the vagaries of local government.

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