The Township of Woolwich is an interesting blend of urban and rural, small c conservative and progressive. The Township wraps around the Region, sharing borders with Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge and Wellesley. With a population of about 25,000, we encompass approximately 31,912 hectares a landmass that is greater than the three cities combined. We have experienced the largest growth rate of all the municipalities in the Region of Waterloo, but still have had one of the most progressive phasing plans in the region to ensure sustainability. With three main ‘urban’ centres of Elmira, Breslau and St. Jacobs, and ten settlement areas, we can offer a variety of options that provide a great small town feel.
Our economy is growing in sectors such as construction, advanced manufacturing, retail, transportation, tourism and information and technology. We have a strong agricultural base and associated processing. As well, we are connected t
o the world by the Region of Waterloo International Airport located in our Township. The airport has also attracted new aviation related businesses. We are proud to be an overall net importer of jobs. Across all industries, we saw the number of jobs in the Township increase by 13% from 2011-2015. Another 111 jobs were created from 2015-2016. Innovation and entrepreneurship is alive and well in Woolwich.
Woolwich has experienced very positive industrial and construction value growth over the last 5 years (Industrial construction value is $56,931,228 and Commercial construction value is $53,046,008).
Our strength lies in our people and ensuring community connections remain strong and viable. Our challenge is how to grow and maintain those touchpoints. For many years we have practiced managed growth in St. Jacobs and Elmira whereby we limit the number of residential units that can be developed in a year. That initiative has helped us better manage municipal services/programs, and the infrastructure deficit that all municipalities struggle with. We have recently introduced a similar program in Breslau. In addition, to help with our infrastructure deficit we are one of a very few municipalities who allocate a portion of the annual tax increase specifically to infrastructure.
Our residents are aging and they want to stay in their community of choice. For each person that may mean something different. For some it means they would like a more upscale condo. For others, they need subsidized housing. For many, it is something in between where they can downsize, eliminate property maintenance and be close to friends and family. We are looking for investors who would be willing to invest in a community that volunteers their time, talents and resources for the greater good.
Ensuring we are developing healthy communities is important to us. We have many great quality of life recreational facilities, parks and trails, and do our best to encourage grass roots involvement in the community. In a recent survey, residents were asked how many neighbours they could ask for a favour. The Regional averaged about 5, while the Townships averaged 19. Keeping those connections strong and vibrant is important to us.
We are a leader in the province in emergency management and ensuring we have safe communities. We have a Township wide Community Alert Notification System, and the siren program has recently been expanded from Elmira to St. Jacobs and Breslau.
We welcome new businesses and investors. Our Economic Development and Tourism Officer is available to assist with finding a location, coordinating funding applications and other supports for new and existing businesses.