The Municipality of Emerson-Franklin has unveiled its long-awaited economic development master plan.
Part of this vision includes capturing the economic potential generated by the Canada-US border crossing at Emerson by partnering with the province to create an economic development area on Crown land along Highway 75 to the north from the entry point.
“We need economic development in our area. We’ve lacked that. We need business development, we need jobs,” Warden Dave Carlson said. “It’s one of the busiest border crossings in Canada and North America, it’s the tip of the mid-continent trade corridor and there’s nothing here. We have to take advantage of it…the billions of dollars worth of goods pass through our border here every year and there should be infrastructure here to capture that.”
The proposed economic development zone would include a logistics park and an industrial park. This could include transshipment facilities, warehouses, transport companies and transport support such as a truck stop, truck wash and/or repair shop. There’s also space for retail like a gas station, restaurants and possibly, Carlson noted, a hotel. Beyond that, the prefect says the development could also include things like agricultural processing facilities.
“We have a lead developer working with us. They’re extremely interested and they’ve already had interest from the commercial or business community, and we think the sky’s the limit here,” Carlson added. “It will not only be a significant economic impact for our municipality, but also for the province.”
Carlson says the municipality will continue to pursue this strategic partnership with the province to secure these Crown lands.
In addition, the blueprint includes a one-of-a-kind online investor portal that highlights reasons to invest in Emerson-Franklin, what is available for investment and key industry profiles. All proposed development areas have also been mapped.
“It’s really cool because you just click on one of them, and it brings up the possibilities for those different areas and how to go about developing them,” Michelle Richard explained. Its planning and development firm, Richard Wintrup, worked with the municipality to develop the master plan.
The overall strategy also includes a tourism action plan.
“We have done a full inventory of all of our assets in the municipality. We are looking for opportunities to create a place to take advantage of some of our amenities,” Carlson explained. “We are working to attract more people to our area.”