FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – STUDY DELIVERS PATHWAY TO PROSPERITY…NOW!
A much-anticipated Agricultural Economics Study, commissioned by Land Over Landings, was released on April 3. It delivers proof that the best future for the remaining Pickering Federal Lands is agriculture and agri-tourism, activities that will safeguard the natural capital, create jobs, and quickly return prosperity to the Lands after a near half-century of decline under the cloud of a potential future airport.
David Crombie, who described the Study as having “clarity and punch”, was host of the event. Study consultants Dr Atif Kubursi (Econometric Research Ltd) and Dr John Groenewegen (JRG Consulting Group) presented their findings to a large crowd of area MPs andmunicipal stakeholders; leading food, farming, and environmental NGOs; farmers; educators; and local business owners.
The Study’s data and analysis show the great economic potential of the Lands, especially if the ongoing threat of an airport is removed and farmers are granted long-term (30-year renewable) leases. The consultants were clear: “Uncertainty is typically considered the nemesis of investment.”
“The findings are tremendously exciting,” says Mary Delaney, Chair of Land Over Landings. “At last we have a report that shows a pathway to prosperity with no need to pave over a prime natural asset. We can see how real jobs would start to be created almost immediately, and how the area could flourish. It’s a breath of fresh air after more than four decades of nothing but promises of jobs at a never-never airport.”
“A vision,” say the consultants, “is only good if it guides action and is put into place. The transformation of the region is feasible and the rewards are high and realistic. The challenge is to mobilize the local community and the communities around it to work together for their common good.”
Click here for the full report, “A Future for the Lands: Economic Impact of Remaining Pickering Federal Lands if Returned to Permanent Agriculture,” the Study Annexes, and the “In Brief” version. You may also wish to access the PowerPoint presentation delivered by the consultants on April 3.
One-time infrastructure boom…
Returning these Lands to productive (not merely protected) farmland will trigger immediate jobs and long-term economic activity as leaseholders build new homes and outbuildings, upgrade existing buildings, replace or add field-tile drainage, fencing, wells, etc. An estimated 621 jobs would be created in York-Durham during the upgrade period, and investment expenditures are estimated to reach $58 million. Province-wide, this rehabilitation work will create 1,180 jobs and boost economic activity by $136 million.
Long-term economic benefits…
… from agriculture: The potential output from more-diverse, higher-value agricultural production (e.g. fruit, vegetables, livestock, poultry) is calculated to be over $3,500/acre, a significant increase over today’s $563/acre (from mostly feed corn, soy, and wheat)!
… from agri-tourism and general tourism: “A vibrant and diverse agricultural sector is a prerequisite for the tourism spending. … The tourism potential is here and needs only to be developed.” The Study shows that tourism has the potential to easily surpass the economic output of the farming sector. The combined impacts of agriculture and tourism can create $130 million in local expenditures, with $221 million across the province. The number of jobs jumps to 1,459 locally and 2,051 across the province. All told, economic activity on the Lands would increase more than 30-fold and employment almost 40-fold.
… from an agricultural research/innovation centre and a farming incubation centre: The centres’ main emphases on carbon capture; best practices for organic, world-food, and livestock farming; and providing a gateway into farming for new entrants and entrepreneurs will pay dividends far into the future.
Contact for more information or to schedule an interview:
Mary Delaney, Chair