By Chris Marchand
Newly hired City of Dryden Economic Development Manager James Harvey. Staff Photo
James Harvey’s introduction to the community was a memorable one, Monday night, as city council introduced the newly hired Economic Development Manager, gesturing to a suddenly empty chair in the gallery.
Harvey had stepped out with the delegation from Treasury Metals to introduce himself to the local leaders of the Goliath Gold Project, easily Dryden most promising economic prospect.
It might have been the perfect entrance.
Harvey comes to the job after close to a decade of working with small northern communities on the provincial government side. Harvey worked for Natural Resources minister David Ramsay, moving to Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry under Thunder Bay MPP Michael Gravelle in 2007 where he managed the forestry file and conducted stakeholder relations. He’s also worked closely with the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) and has developed government programs to support entrepreneurs in employment transition in the region.
“James brings an incredible amount of experience working with different provincial ministries,” said City Manager Joe van Koeverden. “His knowledge of funding programs and his knowledge of the efforts government makes to promote entrepreneurism are all essential skills that we need.”
Harvey says his first order of business will be to gain an understanding of the services that currently exist in the community.
“There’s definitely challenges ahead,” said Harvey. “But first and foremost it’s getting out in the community and meeting and speaking individually with the businesses in Dryden — getting to know those people and what their vision is. To begin with I’d like to focus first on the existing businesses that are here and making sure we can sustain them and help them to broaden their business scope, then look to outside business coming into Dryden.”
With multiple exploration and mine developments underway in the surrounding area, Harvey says there are significant opportunities for the community to expand in a support role for the burgeoning mining sector.
“Mining is going to boom in Ontario in the next many years and Dryden is situated geographically and business-wise to become a service hub for mining companies in the area.”
Family-wise, Harvey will move his wife, an eleven year-old and seven year-old twins to Dryden.
“We’re very excited,” he said. “I think Northern Ontario really offers young families great opportunities that are quite different from the chaotic life of Southern Ontario. I’m looking forward to spending more quality time with my family.”