In 2002, with a goal to stimulate regional economic opportunities including by strengthening the tourism industry and diversifying its business community and makeup, the Mattawa & Area Forestry Committee for Economic Development was founded. Three strategic themes would guide its work:
- Creating and revitalizing economic opportunities
- Maintaining and improving community infrastructure
- Expanding and promoting a high quality of life.
In 2004, due to global forestry market conditions, the Tembec Mill, a key employer in the region, announced its impending closure, one which would have a devastating effect on the local labour force and the region's economy. In response, the Mattawa-Bonfield Economic Development Corporation was spearheaded and formed by the region's five municipalities: Bonfield, Calvin, Mattawa,Mattawan & Papineau Cameron. The vision for this new organization was innovative and bold - with the co-operation, active involvement and support of its founding municipalities, to promote regional economic development by encouraging, facilitating and supporting regional strategic planning, increasing self-reliance, business investment and creating job opportunities. Without on-going operational funding from all five member municipalities, putting the vision into action would not and could not be possible even today.
In 2009, in order to preserve the Tembec Mill site infrastructure, to save it from demolition after the Tembec closure, and to secure an investor who would use the facility for job creation purposes, financial assistance provided by MBEDC's member municipalities allowed MBEDC to purchase the facility and land. The site was sold to BioSila Corporation in 2010. Then in 2014 BioNorth Technologies Group purchased the facility, where today they are a growing and thriving local employer.
Fast forward to current day. MBEDC, in partnership with its municipal partners, provincial and federal government agencies, and various organizations whose mandates offer complementary programs and services, is actively involved in assisting businesses in their start-up, re-location and expansion efforts and in identifying and pursuing niche business markets that are aligned with its member municipalities' official plans. With the active participation of its regional tourism sector partners, MBEDC continues to promote Mattawa Voyageur Country as a four season tourist destination.
Together we continue to works towards making the Mattawa-Bonfield area a great place to do business, to live, to work, to visit and to play!
Other interesting historical articles about MBEDC:
The Town of Mattawa, A Case Study
Economic Development, A Community Effort