The Whitewater region is best known for its tourism and agricultural landscape. For many years, people from around the world have been coming to the township to experience the thrills of rafting and kayaking the Ottawa River, some of the best white water conditions in the world. But, before the region became a tourism destination, it was known for its rich farmland which continues to drive the local economy.

Whitewater Township was formed following the merger of several local municipalities that included the villages of Cobden, Beachburg, and Westmeath. With a population of 7,225, the area is home to several innovative businesses that have further developed the area’s tourism sector. This includes the expansion of Whitewater Brewery and the award-winning Heliconia Press, which has been recognized for its production of films dedicated to promoting outdoor adventure.

The economy of Whitewater Region is diverse, with the largest industries being manufacturing, health care and social assistance, and educational services. The fastest-growing industries are health care and social assistance, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The highest paying industries are utilities, professional, scientific and technical services, and public administration. Agriculture is a significant sector, employing 261 people, and represents nearly a quarter of all livestock farms and one-third of all croplands in Renfrew County, generating 34% of total gross farm receipts.

Tourism also plays a crucial role, with attractions centered around whitewater activities, camping, and notable sites like Logos Land Resort and the Oaks of Cobden golf course. Infrastructure development is ongoing, with significant residential growth in Cobden and Beachburg, new subdivisions and amenities, major investments in water and wastewater projects including a new treatment plant in Cobden, and planned optimization of the Beachburg plant. Road rehabilitation projects are also enhancing accessibility and supporting local communities.

Economic and community development initiatives are actively pursued through a Growth Readiness Action Plan and marketing strategies. Industrial and agricultural sectors are expanding, with growth in cannabis production by GlassHouse Botanics, grain handling by MacEwan Agricentre, and recycling by Redi Recycling. Magellan Aerospace is a primary employer in the region, providing numerous job opportunities.

The future prospects for Whitewater Region are positive, with anticipated continued growth in population, agriculture, and economic sectors driven by the township’s strategic location and rural charm.

Written by Christie Laurin – Project Officer at The Labour Market group of Renfrew and Lanark Counties

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