Bay of Quinte Tourism

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Brighton poised for growth

Brighton Mayor Mark Walas says things are looking very positive for his community over the next few years. - Contributed photo
Brighton Mayor Mark Walas says things are looking very positive for his community over the next few years. – Contributed photo

By Jim Barber

Bay of Quinte Living is interviewing all of the mayors elected or acclaimed in the Oct. 27 municipal election to talk about their economic and community development plans for the new four-year term of their councils.

It appears that the residents of Brighton had a message to send to town council in the 2014 municipal election held on Oct. 27. And it was a profound message in favour of change that was boldly sent as four incumbents will no longer be sitting around the six-member council – although Mayor Mark Walas was not part of that unfortunate quartet.

“There are so many factors in our election to be considered. Four incumbents were removed. We had a 61.95 per cent voter turnout – it was such a defining statement from the community,” Walas told Bay of Quinte Living.

The mayor, now heading into his second term, said there were a couple of big issues that were key planks in his re-election platform that he feels helped him retain the approval of a majority of Brighton’s electors. One was “protection of Presqu’ile Bay by addressing unresolved issues with the waste water treatment plant” and the second was customer service issues relating to the municipality.

Looking at the next four-year term Walas believes Brighton’s economy is doing well and that the positive momentum should continue.

“Historically, Brighton has had a small industrial base and that remains much the same today. That being said, the municipality has services a new phase in the industrial park for future growth. Residential construction and agriculture are our leading industries and continue to perform above average compare to other areas,” he said.

“We’re going to work on small and medium sized industry for the industrial park. Now that we have serviced acreage, our focus will be on investment attraction.”

Brighton is quickly becoming a destination for folks relocating from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), particularly seniors and young families. Walas said the municipality has a definite strategy to continue to encourage this residential growth trend.

“We will continue to focus on our partners, Northumberland County Economic Development and the Quinte Economic Development Commission (QEDC) and they opportunities they can bring. The Municipality of Brighton has waived development charges on any construction projects in the new phase of the industrial/business park,” he said.

The approach is pretty much the same for attracting and retaining new commercial enterprises.

“Again, utilizing the resource of Northumberland County and the QEDC are key to the success in growing and retaining both new and existing businesses.”

Walas said Brighton not only has the amenities and facilities that most people want, but that there is also a strong sense of community and an open, welcoming spirit to the community that also makes it attractive to visitors and new residents.

“It goes without saying that high-quality amenities are one of many points necessary for a community to prosper. So is quality of place, community spirit, volunteerism, service clubs, churches – they all add to the flavour of the community. Sometimes it’s the things that are not tangible that best contribute to community health and prosperity,” he said.

The tourism component of Brighton’s economy continues to be an important way to bring in vacationers and day-trippers into the area, which sometimes leads to return visits, part time residency or even a full-time move.

“Tourism is very important. Brighton has the benefit of its geographic location, being on the eastern boundary of Northumberland County and immediately west of the Bay of Quinte. Presqu-ile Provincial Park has been the key draw to Brighton, from camping to hiking, bird watching and the beach itself; Presqu-ile offers something for nearly everyone,” Walas said.

Walas had high praise for the various business, tourism, community and economic development organizations operating within the Bay of Quinte Region for continuing to labour on behalf of all the region’s constituent municipalities.

“The various organizations are currently doing a great job of pooling resources and providing information. Obviously there is always room for improvement, but all of these organizations continue to work very hard for the area,” he said.

Needless to say, Walas is a big booster of not only his community of Brighton, but the entire region.

“There are so many reasons: education, employment, sports, and arts. Our area is so diverse. Brighton specifically has a number of fantastic schools. Our high school ENSS [East Northumblerland Secondary School] is famous for its overwhelming support of the Terry Fox Foundation. We are minutes from Highway 401; we offer an agricultural component, a small urban area, natural Presqu-ile Bay off of Lake Ontario and Presqu-ile Park. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

For more information about the Municipality of Brighton, visit www.brighton.ca.

Bay of Quinte Region is an alliance of interdependent communities, bound together by a common history, shared economy, and the water that surrounds and defines us. We hope to welcome you soon.

© 2022 Bay of Quinte Region | © TripAdvisor 2022

Bay of Quinte Region is an alliance of interdependent communities, bound together by a common history, shared economy, and the water that surrounds and defines us. We hope to welcome you soon.