The forest industry is a major economic driver for Renfrew County and many residents rely on the employment it provides. The last 5 years have been particularly difficult for the industry and the downturn continues. Up until the mid 1990s, the forestry sector in the County of Renfrew had been the primary economic driver of the region. There were literally hundreds of direct and indirect businesses associated with wood products in both the County of Renfrew and the Pontiac. The region has a legacy of sustainable forest management and production of quality products.
The goal of this new and innovative project is to maximize and create new marketing opportunities for many local timber and lumber industries that have been relatively hard hit over the last five years due to a drop in global demand and the economic recession that began in 2009 and still has lingering effects. By creating and increasing marketing opportunities for local mills, producers, artisan and businesses that produce local products, the process will help maintain and expand their existing customer base. Through a long term strategic approach using modern technology and innovative web tools, there is a greater chance for increased economic development within this sector.
This project will also raise the profile of sustainable forest management within the Ottawa Valley. The region is recognized both locally and internationally for the advanced techniques of forest management, and the ability of local producers to gain the greatest economic benefits from this natural resource. The County of Renfrew has a variety of forests that allows local manufacturers to develop and deliver a variety of wood products for sale. The ability to effectively market these quality products will lead to increased employment opportunities for local companies.
The new innovative website and increased marketing will also create a sense of community pride among the local consumers in their desire to access and purchase local wood products. The County of Renfrew has a strong tradition of supporting local producers when consumers are introduced to these companies. Most importantly, local consumers have embraced the notion of buying and supporting local producers. Many of the local consumers were completely unaware of the quality and quantity of products available within their own geographical region. Not only did they have the chance to buy local products, but the consumers saved time and money by accessing the local markets; they contributed to the long term sustainability of these producers; and they helped stimulate and increase economic development by reinvesting in the local economy. This translates into local jobs, and increased opportunities for new employment opportunities within this sector.
The residents of the County of Renfrew want to buy local products and support the local economy. Perhaps the greatest impediment to this process is their general lack of awareness of local wood products. This new project will remove that barrier and introduce the consumers to the local products.