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Bay of Quinte communities hope website will help retain immigrants

Jade Calver

Belleville – If the Quinte area gains more immigrants, the region will broaden its population base and will likely see more entrepreneurs to create jobs and more skilled tradespeople to fill vacant jobs, local mayors and business leader say.

With that in mind, officials and elected members from local municipalities gathered at Loyalist College on Wednesday, March 23 to celebrate the launch of a new immigration website to promote the Bay of Quinte region to the country’s newcomers.

The website is www.immigration.bayofquinte.ca

It tells people what it’s like to “live, work, play and learn” in the area. It also contains videos of interviews with several new Canadians who’ve moved to and have come to love the region.

“Our goal with this project was to create an Immigration Portal that would share information about our region but also help tell the unique and wonderful story of the Bay of Quinte region to new Canadians looking for a place to call home,” said Aaron Bell, a communications specialist hired to create the site. “We were able to capture several unique stories about people from across the world that have made our community their new home and we are sharing those stories to encourage other people to see the wonderful opportunities that we have in our community.”

Bay of Quinte Living council was a partner in the project. Its president, Jon VanHuizen, was excited to be part of the launch, as he feels the portal will tell people that there are plenty of opportunities to grow businesses in the region.

“We have a region that’s a hidden gem,” he said to an audience in Alumni Hall that included Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher, Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison and Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff. “I’m extremely happy with this. It’s not only the best portal in the province, it’s our first.”

Bell explained that the goal was to create a site that was user-friendly and easy to navigate.

The main sections of the website were translated so pages also appear in French, Spanish, German, Mandarin and Korean.

Former President of the Bay of Quinte Tourism Council Ryan Williams also spoke at the event, and addressed one of the reasons it’s important to embrace immigration.

“We’re a nation of immigrants, a mosaic of different cultures,” he said.

He also said efforts to promote immigration are part of a greater business strategy for the region. By 2030, 100 per cent of the region’s population growth is expected to come from immigration, he said.