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HomeNewsHaliburton Highlands Chamber 'looking forward to optimism'

Haliburton Highlands Chamber ‘looking forward to optimism’

A new report by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce says 53 percent of the province’s businesses are “expecting to grow” despite ongoing challenges.

However, the eighth annual Ontario Economic Report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce cites high inflation, interest rates, and housing costs are “driving pessimism” in the province’s economic outlook.

Officials with the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce explain the report contains “regional and sector-specific data on business confidence and growth, public policy priorities, regional forecasts, and timely business issues such as supply chains, employee well-being, diversity, equity and inclusion, economic reconciliation, and climate challenge.”

The report references growth in the mining industry but Mark Bell, president of the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce, says that industry has little impact locally with the biggest industries in the county being construction, tourism-related work, retail, and healthcare.

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Adding to what’s said in the report, Bell says bringing skilled labour continues to be a challenge locally, adding it’s compounded by the lack of housing in the area.

He points out that’s an issue facing many – if not all – businesses in Ontario.

“We’re seeing some steps,” he says about potential projects on the horizon but notes it will take a while. He mentions Dysart et al council buying a 90-acre property for just under $2 million in Oct. 2023 for possible development and Haliburton County council recently making it easier for additional dwelling units to be constructed.

Amanda Conn, executive director of the Chamber, teases projects coming in the “next couple of weeks.”

“I think that there is some level of concern and people they see some challenges with the economy and kind of what’s been happening locally, however, I would say our businesses in Haliburton County have always proven to be very resilient and very agile,” says Conn.

“Keep the faith,” adds Bell.

He hopes businesses “continue to look at creative opportunities” to broaden what they offer.

Conn boasts the Chamber, located at 195 Highland St., has an open-door policy and can simply be someone to bounce an idea off of or help a business get connected with supports in the community.

“While there’s a challenge, our businesses they are looking for a really positive path forward and we’re looking forward to optimism,” she says.

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