Economic Development- Investment and Job Creation
To borrow an old slogan; we need “Jobs,Jobs,Jobs” in Nanaimo. And not minimum wage jobs where people are always one paycheque away from being homeless. I will work to have Council develop a plan to attract investment in industry and self-employment that pays living wages. Nanaimo has so much to offer employers and entrepreneurs they should be knocking at our doors. The tech industry is one that comes to mind particularly ones related to environmental, ocean and marine industries. Manufacturing, transport and tourism are other obvious ones. Nanaimo has a well respected university that could be a catalyst in attracting these well paying jobs. We have to work hard to let potential investors know that Nanaimo is an outstanding place to set up.
Since the current Council dissolved the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation at the end of 2016 and moved the function in-house it has been shrunk to a staff of one employee. It does not seem that this is an effective way to attract much needed new investment and jobs to Nanaimo. I believe we need to make Economic Development a high priority and if elected will urge Council to substantially increase our efforts.
Nanaimo will be well served to look at the example of Waterloo, Ontario which is a city similar in size to us. They have a powerhouse of an economic development program that attracts and facilitates businesses to locate there. They work with the team at Waterloo Economic Development Corporation which provides several key services to businesses looking to locate, relocate or expand there by providing a a variety of services ranging from introductions to business leaders, customers and potential partners to legal, tax and accounting connections or to gather information on doing business in their city. They also provide information on business and residential real estate, including relocation assistance for employees, information on government incentives and facilitate collaboration with other Waterloo businesses. The City is assisted by the Waterloo Economic Development Committee which advises City Council and staff and acts as a resource on the economic development program. This committee is comprised of members of local industry, Chamber of Commerce, university and members of Council.
So let’s get serious about attracting new industry and jobs to Nanaimo.