As the city works to identify its role in spurring growth, two key priorities emerged as a possible growth strategies after consultation with the business community.
Local stakeholders from both the public and private sectors took part in a workshop at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre Wednesday morning to contribute ideas to a Working Group established by Mayor Ian Boddy that is trying to identify ways the city can grow the population of the Scenic City to 30,000 by 2030.
According to Statistics Canada census data, the population of Owen Sound in 2016 was 21,340.
Mayor Boddy says there was broad representation from the manufacturing, tourism, education, retail, finance, health services and information technology sectors who offered input at the workshop.
The Mayor's Working Group was formed to gather ideas from the community and develop a plan describing the city's role moving forward on three key pillars of growth: population, assessment base and jobs.
Former Canada Post CEO Michael Warren, one of nine members of the Mayor's Working Group, says changing the perception of Owen Sound and attracting young entrepreneurs are two key themes that emerged during Wednesday's stakeholder consultation.
"People come up here, they have cottages, they come into Owen Sound and say: 'this may be a great place to retire, a great place to bring a business," continues Warren. "But that's not enough. We need to find other ways to change the perception and make sure that we're marketing the real lifestyle that exists here."
Boddy says the the Working Group will meet in the next couple of weeks to sift through all the feedback gathered and start to build a growth plan -- which, once complete, will come to city council.