Three Oil Springs residents will work with village councillors to find some way to bring new business to the Central Lambton village.
Brenda Cummings, Gord Perry and Carol Woods headed up a group of about a dozen citizens who expressed concern the village wasn’t doing enough to spur growth. They believed a 2011 Economic Development plan had not been implemented.
About 20 people came to a public meeting April 5 to talk about their concerns.
Fairbank Oil President Charlie Fairbank says Oil Springs has the same problem as many other rural communities; “the small is being bled into the big” as people move to larger centers with more services.
But he says the village has to capitalize on what it has – the history of the beginnings of the oil industry. “The whole oil industry began her and people should know that,” he says.
Mayor Ian Veen agreed but adds “once they get there they have to have something to do, and a place to stay and a place to eat.”
Getting that development moving is tough. Resident Dennis Smith says one of the big problems is two of the best lots for commercial development at the corner of Oil Springs Line and Oil Heritage Road aren’t selling because old underground gas tanks have to be removed. That can cost upwards of $100,000.
Veen agrees it’s a problem, saying one person was actively interested until they found out they would be responsible for the environmental clean up.
It’s one of the problems the new committee of council plans to tackle. Veen would also like to see the Village get its message out. “We need to advertise outside this area – we have to go across Canada.” But even that is problematic, says Veen. So far, the traditional events that might attract tourist are lacking in volunteers and have yet to be planned for the year.
Still he’s pleased people from the community want to get the ball rolling. “It’s really good to see people here …it shows people care bout Oil Springs.”