In the next 5 weeks I will be blogging about the issues as I see them and as I have been able to extrapolate from the last 4 years. Please feel free to comment and discuss the issues. I do not have all the answers but feel free to contact me and I am willing to discuss them.
My friends, this issue is extremely important to our city and The Niagara Region. We have often been told we need more activity on this file. Council has been very active on this issue although there has been very little public knowledge of the activity. Confidentiality is necessary to be able to gain the trust of all industries that are interested in Port Colborne. All industries demand this confidentiality or they will not even entertain a visit to the city in question. There is some great interest in Port Colborne due to our positioning on the canal, the rail lines and the mid-peninsula corridor that has become a priority to the Region and Province.
This council has been very active in inviting and showing off our great city. We have been very cognizant of the need to drive this file forward. Any individual that tells you that we have not been active is not aware of the realities of the file. I must also state that much of the activity is often done in camera which makes much of the information out of reach of the citizen until the industry is prepared to make their decision public. Council has been as active as we can be.
As a city we have prepared documents that are sent to such industries indicating to them the amenities and the fact that we are on the canal, rail line and highway as well as our proximity to the USA border. This gives any industry the ability to reach millions of people . Our closeness to the USA border should give us an advantage that many other communities do not have. It has attracted some interest and we continue to actively interact with these industries. Will they all come to Port Colborne? I hope so. Many of these industries have received packages from other cities as well. Once the industry in question has created a short list they visit the individual communities to assess the fit for their company. That means we may not get all of them but we are working at it.
This council and your ward 2 councillors have been very active at attracting new industry. The fact is that most of the negotiations are done in camera. It must stay at that level until the industry is prepared to release their decision publicly. This cannot change due to the fact that much of it is covered by the Municipal Act. The information is out of reach of the general public until a deal is struck.
Port Colborne is open for business and we must continue to be open. We are actively reaching out to industry that is interested in our city. Your council continues to have your best interest at heart. Your council continues to have meeting after meeting to negotiate a deal that will allow us to expand our tax base.
Last but not least is the fact that it is against the law to bonus a company. The Municipal Act deems this an unlawful action by a council or city. There are consequences to any city trying to bonus an industry. All of council can be charged with this illegal action and can lose their position. Examples of this activity are negotiating a deal with the industry that would allow them to use a building or land rent free for a number of years, not paying taxes for a number of years, selling land at below market value, etc. All of this is illegal. We often hear individuals request that council approach interested industry with some of these deals. Not possible. This type of activity is bonussing and NO city can do this legally in most situations.
Election 2014 is all about the issues that are important to you. Read more about me and what I will do for you. If you have any questions, there may be an answer in my frequently asked questions. Feel free to contact me with your own comments and questions. Thank you for your continued support.