Queens tries to attract Ontario retirees through Facebook

by Michael Lee

  • <p>RETIRE TO LIVERPOOL WEBSITE</p><p>A screen shot taken of the homepage for the website Retire to Liverpool, a site recently featured in a Region of Queens Municipality ad campaign targeted at future retirees from Ontario.</p>

Come and retire in Liverpool.

That's the message the Region of Queens Municipality is sending to Ontario residents in an effort to attract an aging Upper Canadian population to Queens County.

The region recently finished a two-week long Facebook advertising campaign targeted at university educated professionals from Ontario, aged 50-64, with an interest in arts, culture, the outdoors, beaches, history and music.

Mayor David Dagley said future retirees from Ontario were targeted because there is a fair amount of housing turnover there and a significant portion of the population is entering pre-retirement.

"Our priority of council has been to grow the population, and growing the population is not only talking to developers and employers to create jobs locally, but to entice people to move and relocate here," he said.

"And when you look at retirees they require services, they purchase goods, they spend money, it puts dollars in our economy which creates employment for others. So it's a win-win. We'll target all ages."

The region spent $100 on the ad, a slide show of images featuring the Queens County area, which ran between June 9 to 26.

A link was also included to the web page Retire To Liverpool, a site local resident Peter Ripple created more than a year ago to showcase Queens as a place to retire.

Ripple created the site in response to the declining population in Queens and the loss of long-term businesses.

Figures provided to council show the website experienced a spike in traffic in the month the ad ran.

In June alone the site had 1,447 page views, almost triple the amount from the month before and nearly five times the number of views in the three months before that.

Chief administrative officer Richard MacLellan called this a "really great example of a volunteer community coming forward and doing something to better the community," and Ripple has said he is aware of six families who have moved to the area because of the website.

But in the terms of the immediate benefits of the ad, Dagley said it is a bit early to draw conclusions on the results.

"People will determine when and where they'll move after they retire and that's going to take them probably through the fall and early winter to make those decisions, so we won't really know the full benefit until next spring," he said.

"We would look at the results to the best of our ability and determine whether we go back at Ontario with different specifics or whether we look at other provinces, and I would expect that it would be beneficial to look at other provinces first."

The region has also put $250 into a sign that can be seen from Highway 103.

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