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Official Statement: Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development Announces Dissolution

By Christine Drage
Official Statement graphic

CHAIR BURTON LEE PROVIDES UPDATE ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF PETERBOROUGH & THE KAWARTHAS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

It is with profound regret that the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED) Board of Directors formally announces its intention to dissolve the corporation following written notice that The City of Peterborough and Peterborough County intend to change the delivery models of economic development and tourism and will not renew the tri-party Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City, County, and PKED, which expires on December 31st, 2024. Consequently, the PKED Board of Directors formed a dissolution committee and made the difficult decision to cease operations by the end of the year in compliance with the Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations Act.

CONTEXT

Since the Fall of 2023, the PKED Board of Directors has been seeking clarity on the municipalities’ plans while proactively pursuing and communicating opportunities for a smooth transition to a new economic development model, with limited disruption of services to businesses, investors, and visitors.

Peterborough & the Kawarthas is poised for unprecedented growth. It will add to the region’s richness, grow the business community, and stimulate economic activity. It will also increase space, infrastructure, housing, and employment demand. While the delivery model of economic development and tourism is in transition, continued focus on the destination and the needs of the regional economy must remain a top priority.

The organization remains committed to regional economic development, and staff will continue to deliver tourism, visitor services, destination marketing, economic development, business retention, investment attraction, and small business support services until the MOU is complete, while the City and County establish a new direction for this work.

As the second half of 2024 approaches, PKED must begin the comprehensive process of winding down operations, which will be a significant undertaking given the organization’s 25+ year history. As the lead Regional Economic Development Agency and Official Destination Marketing Organization, PKED has obligations to a wide range of partners, stakeholders, and service providers that will be impacted. The Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations Act prescribes clear steps to wind down the corporation, and PKED’s Board of Directors will be vigilant in ensuring a responsible dissolution.

BACKGROUND

The establishment of the Greater Peterborough Area Economic Development Corporation (operating as PKED) in 1998 resulted from the 1997 GPA 2020: A Vision for Our Future process, an outcome of a groundswell of community and business support toward a progressive vision for regional economic prosperity. The report called for a singular economic development organization that could represent the needs and interests of the City, the County, and the private sector.

DISSOLUTION IMPACTS

That purpose and funding structure are reflected in PKED’s Letters Patent and the tri-party MOU. The decision made by the City and County eliminates PKED’s core funding structure. The organization will neither have the capacity nor resources to deliver economic and tourism services on behalf of the region. As such, the impending dissolution has set forth a series of actions, including the delivery of termination notices to staff and providing notice to vacate PKED’s offices and the regional Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism Visitor Centre located in the Venture North business hub in downtown Peterborough effective at the end of this year.

What remains clear to the PKED Board of Directors and staff is that Peterborough & the Kawarthas is a region worth investing in, and a coordinated and shared vision that considers the needs of business will be vital to the success of any new approach to this important and impactful work.

QUOTES

“As reports on new economic development and tourism models are being considered by councils in June, we eagerly await the opportunity to review them and to identify opportunities for service continuity for the businesses and clients that rely on PKED. As a high-performing economic development agency, the health and vitality of the local economy are at the core of our mission, and our team has a vested interest in supporting a mutually beneficial transition.” Said Burton Lee, Chair of PKED’s Board of Directors

“There will be a significant disruptive impact if these plans do not factor in the vast number of existing projects, programs, and initiatives that PKED has developed. The award-winning campaigns and highly recognized Peterborough & the Kawarthas brand are an outcome of our staff’s collaborative and strategic expertise.” Added Lee

“The critical value of our team’s knowledge, expertise, and relationships with local, regional, national, and international partners, businesses, investors, and media cannot be understated. It is our hope that the new models will include positions for our existing team of passionate and dedicated economic development professionals to continue serving the business community and attracting investment to the region.” Said PKED’s President & CEO Rhonda Keenan

For media inquiries, please email Kelly Jessup, Director of Marketing & Communications, at kjessup@investptbo.ca

For updates on this matter, please visit www.investptbo.ca/status