The Dryden Observer

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DDC report recommends improvements to downtown commercial district

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.

By Dryden Observer Staff

A year-end report by the city’s economic development office recommends the city consider taking steps to keep Dryden’s downtown vibrant in the face of recent business closures.

The recommendation was just one in a comprehensive report of the Dryden Development Corporation’s activities over 2016.

The report suggested further infrastructure and building improvements to the downtown area over the long-term and pointed to various recommendations made in the Downtown Revitalization Study. Formed around 2011-12, the study looked at integrating higher-end residential opportunities into the business district and enhancing public infrastructure elements like riverside walking trails and public spaces to create a positive atmosphere for business development.

The DDC reported that three local businesses in Dryden’s downtown closed over 2016 for varied reasons.

Outside of the downtown, work continues to promote the city’s Centennial and Norwill industrial parks. One land parcel option is still active within the Centennial with several expressions of interest that will be followed up on in 2017. One 5-acre land sale was completed for Norwill subdivision in 2016.

The agency’s focus of 2016 was to put into action the recommendations of the city’s five-year strategic plan and the recent Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) Study.

Throughout the year, the agency worked with several entrepreneurs to identify grant opportunities, partner on projects, offer support with marketing, business plans and referrals. 

The DDC’s report also mentioned ongoing projects, such as a partnership with the Kenora Soil and Crop Association and Bionera to examine the commercial potential of willow as a source of woody biomass.

The group spoke of their role as a local liaison for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMU) and the possible opportunities for Confederation College to play a role in providing industry required training for its activities near Ignace. Ignace is one of nine communities taking part in a selection process to host a deep geological repository for Canada’s nuclear waste. For their participation the city of Dryden will receive $140,000 in administrative and strategic planning support in 2016 – nearly double of what it received over 2015.

Over the year the DDC assisted local organizations with funding application assistance to the tune of $700,000.

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