A person with shoulder-length hair and a black shirt on the sidewalk smiling in Mitton Village,
Economic Development Coordinator Leena Bourne.

September 12, 2023 — With funding support from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, the City has hired a new economic development coordinator to spearhead a Neighbourhood Revitalization Project for downtown Sarnia and Mitton Village.

The project will support revitalization in both these areas by identifying opportunities for physical improvements, supporting new marketing efforts, and providing expanded business development services.

Funding for the project is provided in part by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) through the Rural Economic Development (RED) program. The City of Sarnia will provide matching funding for delivery of the project.

“I’m extremely pleased that the City of Sarnia Neighbourhood Revitalization Project was selected as one of 80 projects from across the province that was approved for funding under the Rural Economic Development Program,” said Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey, adding, “this investment is another example of how our government is ensuring Sarnia-Lambton continues to share in the province’s growth and economic prosperity.”

Leena Bourne has been hired as an economic development coordinator to coordinate and deliver the program over the next two years.

“We want to create vibrant and livable places for people to work, shop, dine and enjoy, while supporting the local economy and fostering a sense of community pride for residents,” said Bourne.

The project will include direct consultation with stakeholders, including surveys, pop-up engagements, and formal interviews. Initial work will also include an update of the areas’ business inventories; compilation of historical data; and community engagement events to inform short-term actions and long-term strategic revitalization priorities.

Revitalization of both Mitton Village and downtown align with the City of Sarnia Economic Development Department’s strategic plan and vision.

“This is an exciting project for the community and these neighbourhoods. It will provide a place to have meaningful conversations about ways to increase business success and enhance beautification and safety in these areas. We are grateful for the support from the Province of Ontario, OMAFRA, and Sarnia City Council that has made this project possible,” said Economic Development Director Kelly Provost.

About Ontario’s Rural Economic Development Program:

The RED program provides cost-share funding to support activities that create strong rural communities in Ontario, and opens doors to rural economic development through:

  • funding assistance to address barriers to economic development, better position rural communities to attract and retain jobs and investment, and enhance economic growth;
  • funding to build community capacity and support for economic development in Ontario’s rural communities; and
  • investments in rural communities to help diversify and grow local economies – making economic growth more inclusive so rural Ontario continues to share in the province’s economic prosperity.

More information is available at www.investsarnia.ca/neighbourhood-revitalization.