At last weeks City Council Committee meeting, Community Services Committee brought forward it’s support for increased funding to the City’s various Community Improvement Programs. The various programs have been used to assist with development/re-development of specific areas of our City and are covered under the Downtown CIP, Airport CIP and to a lesser amount, the Brownfield CIP.
According to the report to Council, the various programs have been successful in attracting, creating, or retaining over 300 jobs and leverage the amount invested at seven dollars for each dollar invested. Long term tax revenues and assessment growth have seen and will see good returns as well, on the funds invested to these areas. These programs as well, have assisted the City’s Economic Development Department in attracting new investment to our City.
It appears from the report that demand is high and numerous applications are pending, with present reserves not sufficient to fund. The additional two hundred and fifty thousand dollars will allow for the continuation of these important programs. The Chamber supports this recommendation and considers this an important investment in our community. The recommendation will be brought forward to Council next week for approval and the business community will await the outcome.
As a result of the recommendation and the ensuing discussion at the Committee table, revitalization of the West Ferris/Lakeshore Drive area was brought to the forefront. The Lakeshore Drive corridor has taken its share of hits over the past number of years and any relief or incentives that might help attract new investment and assessment growth, are needed. From initial comments at the Committee meeting there appears to be a collective willingness to look at the various options.
While the possibility of an area specific CIP for the West Ferris/Lakeshore Drive area will assist, it is part of a larger discussion that should include other incentives that might attract new investment. Whether it be waiver of demolition charges for improvements to properties or where and when development charges are required, should be discussed as part of the long-term strategy. Attracting investment to revitalize the commercial areas in West Ferris, will require new strategies and tools for Council to utilize. As stated earlier, it appears that Council will support initiatives that will help.
The Board of Directors, Members and staff of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce extend our sincerest condolences to all the families affected by the tragic events that happened in Toronto last week.
Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.
Last week, The Capitol Centre held its Annual General Meeting and announced its financial results for 2017. As we know from the various media sources, 2017 was a disappointing year and there is no doubt that the volunteer Board and staff will be working diligently to reverse this trend. The Capitol Centre is an important part of our community and more so, the heart of our downtown core.
We are very fortunate to have a performing arts centre in our City and the support of the community is essential to its survival. The economic downturn in mining, forestry and ancillary services over the past number of years, has had its effects on our entire district. The lack of disposable income to support these types of venues, through this recession, is more likely than not, one of the major factors that is the root cause.
Hopefully, with the upturn in the mining and forestry sectors, the trend will be reversed, and the Capitol Centre will see the direct benefit of this economic recovery. The Mayor and City Council have been very supportive of this City owned asset and have always recognized its importance to not only our City, but all our surrounding municipalities. It has been and will continue to be a gathering place for our Arts and Culture community and vitally important for our downtown.
Also last week, the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce hosted Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. Despite adverse weather conditions, Karl made his way to North Bay to present the Chamber’s Ontario Economic Report. This report completed by the Ontario Chamber, represents the collective voice of the grassroots Chamber’s membership through the Business Confidence Survey, which provides the Business Prosperity Index and the Economic Outlook. It also detailed the Chamber’s policy priorities for the coming year, based on economic research and consultation with their members.
The report which can be accessed at http://www.occ.ca/ontario-economic-report/ provides much needed context for the business community, as we approach the upcoming Provincial election. The report outlines many issues that we are facing as a province and provides a basis for the Ontario Chambers “Vote Prosperity” campaign. This campaign will challenge all parties to provide their platforms, on how they will return the province to a place of prosperity and opportunity. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce survey results, for the past two years, have indicated that confidence in the Province has declined substantially within our business community.
It is an interesting read for all and we will continue to update our members, as the policy details are rolled out from all parties.
Peter Chirico is the President and CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce
The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce has joined forces with the North Bay Food Bank by engaging our membership in the support of a major change effort underway in North Bay. We are sending out a Chamber Challenge and calling on you to support the North Bay Food Bank’s resilience project. Support can be straightforward, the North Bay Food Bank is looking for you to help this project by engaging in the following ways:
Engage your organization to donate periodically by bringing in just one extra food item at lunch. You can support this effort by accepting a dedicated donation bin from the Food Bank and promote filling the bin using “dress down Fridays” in exchange for a food item” or many other creative methods to align and engage the team at your workplace. Workplaces that accept a bin and engage their team can offset thousands of dollars of food purchase expenses, create workplace norms that help our community and will benefit from greater staff engagement.
Promoting the game-changing idea that a social habit of donating just one of the “foods of the month” each time we shop for food, will supply enough food to feed those most in need.
Choose one of the community capital packages: Community Supporter, Community Partner or Community Leader and contribute a reoccurring amount or one time support to the North Bay Food Bank and reap the recognition benefits of their new reach via a redesigned website and enhanced social reach. We will also be recognizing capital supporters at our evening of excellence award ceremony.
Community Capital funds our next steps toward addressing food insecurity. Community Capital supports initiatives like “Just 1”, community awareness, facilitates community and corporate engagement – and special projects that bring a compounded return on investment. For example, our corporate donation bins, a product of community capital funding, amounts to a minimum of a fivefold return on investment per year in perpetuity. Honda’s Community Capital investment in supplying the North Bay Food Bank with a vehicle means we can pick up the corporate donation bins and has enabled a large portion of this program to work. Sofa Communication contributed their time and bench strength of intellectuals to further enhance a purchased platform to reach and promote these essential initiatives online and in print – amounting to substantial increases in online community support. A usual monetary donation helps us purchase food and keep the lights on to support the current needs; a Community Capital donation allows us to launch initiatives to improve our impact on the ongoing food insecurity and meet all future needs. Community Capital will enable us to get better at what we do, and we believe Community Capital will one day be the source of our ability to tackle the complex causes of food insecurity with success.
As a member that invests in this project’s success, you will reap a return on investment that is unmatched – positive local community impact. The North Bay Food Bank is piloting many new concepts to promote adopting individual and corporate habits that are intended to become broader norms that have the potential to end food insecurity beyond just our community – please join their efforts to change the way we support one another.
Special thank you to Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy & Government Relations from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for his presentation today in North Bay regarding the Ontario Economic Report (OER) and the Vote Prosperity Campaign. For the presentation from today’s luncheon – click HERE.
The OER is the OCC’s annual policy document aimed at spurring growth and prosperity in Ontario. Each year the OER presents a collective voice of the Chamber Network through the Business Confidence Survey, the Business Prosperity Index and the Economic Outlook. It also details the OCC’s policy priorities for the coming year, based on economic research and consultation with members. To view the full OER document – click HERE.
The network is also asking all candidates in the upcoming provincial election to pay close attention to the OCC’s Vote Prosperity election platform. Vote Prosperity outlines eighteen recommendations to provide Ontario with a strategy to leverage our advantages and strengthen our global competitiveness. To view the full Vote Prosperity document – click HERE.
Special thank you to the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario for sponsoring the event.
The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce has watched with much interest, the news regarding Canadore College and the request for investment that was tabled a few weeks ago with Council. The resulting responses from members of Council and others, followed by the subsequent withdrawal of the request by Canadore, is an unfortunate situation, from a business perspective.
Education is one of our major economic drivers in both our City and district. Our post education facilities give us a unique advantage in that sector, with both Canadore College and Nipissing University co-located on the same campus. The annual economic impact that these facilities have on our economy, provides annual stabilization for many of our businesses. When we look at Canadore and the evolution that they have gone through, together with their strategic investments in our communities future, it is here that we lost an opportunity to make change and commitment to future success.
Like it or not, the way we do business has to change when it comes to these type of investments. Canadore did the right thing by withdrawing its request. Not because it shouldn’t have been requested but rather because of the controvery that was created, by a few. If we look at many other communities that have post secondary education facilities in their communities, guess what we see? We see successful partnerships between the communities and their post secondary institutions.
A few columns ago, I referred to a number of acronyms from Doug Griffiths book “13 Ways to Kill your Community”. In the book he spoke about CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything)and I added the ETC (Except Their Cause) acronym to the CAVE people. This appears to be much the case when all items are considered. When it comes down to it, it was a request to participate in an investment in our community that became something, that it never should have.
These investments are not the exception to the rule, this is what is happening in Sudbury, Timmins, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and this is only our closest neighbours. Southern Ontario is even more competitive when it comes to investing and partnering with communities and private business. The community is the one that benefits both in the short and long term. This request was not precedent setting. We have seen many in the past in our City, including One Kids Place, Cassellholme, Laurentian Ski Hill, Capitol Centre, Dionne Home and the list goes on. This was no different than any of these and investments were made.
When we look at the specific investment request that was put forth sometime ago by Canadore, it not only provided training for students but also the commercialization of the facility to attract, retain and expand upon the film and music industries, which has been a major focus by the City over the past number of years. The state of the art facility will be successful with or without the City of North Bay’s investment, but it is my opinion that not only a huge opportunity to support job creation and retention was lost, but also a commitment to the importance of economic development for the future.
If we don’t change the way we look at these investments, are we going to keep pace with others or remain frozen?
Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.
The Ontario Economic Report (OER) is the OCC’s annual policy document aimed at spurring growth and prosperity in Ontario. Each year the OER presents the collective voice of the Chamber Network through the Business Confidence Survey, the Business Prosperity Index and the Economic Outlook. It also details the OCC’s policy priorities for the coming year, based on economic research and consultation with our members.
This event will serve as a regional launch of the Ontario Economic Report (OER), a definitive platform that will help shape public policy discussions in the lead up to the provincial election. This event, co-organized by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce, and will discuss new economic issues that highlight the vulnerable fiscal environment faced by North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce, businesses and consumers.
Special guest Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. For the full poster CLICK HERE.
Join us on Monday, April 16, 2018 from 11:45 am to 1:15 pm at the Grande Event Centre (corner of Wyld and Main Street East). Cost is $10 and pre-registration is required. Call the Chamber at 705-472-8480 or email Patti at email@example.com to reserve your seat.
As Vice-Chairs looking back on the biggest nine day sporting event in the City of North Bay we are pleased to write this letter in celebration and thanks!
Let us begin by THANKING the Executive and Members of the North Bay Granite Club who in March of 2016 allowed us the opportunity of contacting the City of North Bay in hopes of having them partner with us in the pursuit of our dream. We thank Mayor McDonald, City Council and City Staff who backed our vision and the OHL Hockey Club – North Bay Battalion for agreeing to vacate Memorial Gardens for two and half weeks allowing us to proceed with the bid to host the 2018 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship. Thanks to the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce and our local Media for assisting us to spread the word as we launched our pre-event sales campaign throughout North Bay & area, Northeastern Ontario and beyond. This campaign proved instrumental in proving to Curling Canada and the World Curling Federation that we could successfully place fans in the seats!
We are so PROUD of our Volunteers – 401 strong; many of whom worked diligently and tirelessly from the beginning of our bid package to ensure all the t’s were crossed and the i’s dotted. It is a testament to true teamwork and their vision to Welcome the World to North Bay that we were able to attract willing participants from the North Bay Granite Club, area Curling Clubs, the City of North Bay, throughout Ontario, Canada and International volunteers. We thank you one and all, for together everyone accomplishes more!
We were so pleased to hear that all members of our thirteen teams athletes and coaches unanimously expressed their approval of our volunteer base at their Coaches meeting. They spoke highly of their compassion and assistance towards them and their families in attendance.
We would be remiss if we didn’t send a special thanks to our North Bay Granite Club Manager Bobby Ray who fielded countless questions which were answered in a timely and professional manner. He also formed a team of Granite Club Volunteers to promote Curling in general and the North Bay Granite Club specifically at the Championship. An estimated 250 interested fans completed survey cards. This initiative was positively acknowledged by the World Curling Federation. And to our Granite Club Ice Maker Bruno Bin who among his other duties quickly transformed our curling surface so it could be decorated into what would later become the “Patch”. These gentlemen are truly dedicated and valuable staff members! Further with respect to staff members, our heartfelt thanks to employees of the North Bay Battalion (our Box Office Administrator) and to the staff at Memorial Gardens. And how about the “Patch”! From the initial Volunteer Appreciation Night through to the final day we received rave reviews for the wonderful job done by Cecil’s Brewhouse and Kitchen. Your hard work was immeasurable and truly appreciated.
In addition we are truly APPRECIATIVE of our Fans! You may pride yourselves on being part of an attendance record for a World Women’s Curling Event held in Canada. Your knowledge and enthusiastic heartfelt applause was truly appreciated by all the athletes. You “Rock”! All our teams expressed gratitude to local businesses, and the community at large on the huge warm welcome they received everywhere they visited in North Bay and area.
An event such as ours wouldn’t be possible without SPONSORSHIP. It is our pleasure to thank our Signature Sponsor Ford of Canada, the Season of Champion sponsors and our 36 local sponsors for all their support and belief in our efforts.
We were thrilled by the positive reaction to our volunteer requests for assistance with such requirements as our Prize Patrol, Future Stars Program, Placard Holders & Pre & Post game entertainment.
To the entire Staff & Management of Curling Canada, the World Curling Federation, TSN & WCTV. You allowed us on the World Stage and you showed us off to over 175 million people world-wide. It just doesn’t get better than that!!
Finally, to our Event Manager Terry Morris and Office Administrator & Marketing Coordinator Amanda Mackenzie; you have been a pleasure to work with since day one and instrumental in keeping our ship on course!!
Dave Bennett Vice-Chair Special Events
Mark Brown Vice-Chair Hosting
Rick Miller Vice-Chair Facilities
(Editor’s note: I think we can all agree that if it weren’t for these three fine gentlemen, this International event would not have been so successful. Thank you Dave, Mark and Rick!)
I’m back for this week as a guest columnist, as the President and CEO is away on holidays; but who am I kidding, I’m happy to be writing this column on behalf of the Chamber as it has been an incredible week for our region!
So much has happened with so many great accolades and positive comments over this past week of hosting the World Women’s Curling Championships. To the vice-chairs Dave Bennett, Mark Brown and Rick Miller, Curling Canada and the 400 plus volunteers, YOU DID IT! While it was a large undertaking, we are now certain that North Bay and area can pull off a huge international event with style.
Special thanks to the outlying municipalities that also welcomed the women’s teams by allowing practice times at their local curling clubs. Fans got a first look at the teams while they practiced in Powassan, Astorville and West Nipissing. Even a bit of competition at some of the clubs with locals playing a few matches against these incredible athletes was fun and welcoming.
Not only did we have fantastic media coverage locally prior to and throughout this Championship, the world got to know our area a bit better with national and international broadcasting of some of the games which were viewed by millions around the world. You certainly can’t buy that kind of attention that North Bay recently received.
Facebook has been blowing up as the antics of Buzzmasters and Tourism North Bay have been actively welcoming fans and participants to the Curling Championships with their “travelling ice hut”, giveaways and photo ops.
CBC Radio also broadcasted their morning show on Friday from North Bay, of course highlighting the curling but also touching on many other topics of importance to the region. Topics included the Memorial Gardens renovations, the Mike Harris days, the casino, local talent and some gazing into what the future of North Bay has in store.
During these 10 amazing days, other business also occurred with a delegation from the Ukraine, a Defence Conference, another great announcement for Canadore College’s Village Campaign of $100,000 from TD Bank, just to name a few. It doesn’t stop there; this coming week we have a few other visits with investors, the provincial budget is presented at Queen’s Park, a dozen entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas to funders, and the Chamber members will have an opportunity to network at a Business After Hours event co-sponsored by the North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority and Laurentian Ski Hill.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the great program of the Nipissing Trackers on Laurentian Ski Hill and subsequently televised this past week with Rick Mercer. I think Rick really likes our area, as this week, it looks like our local helicopter school, Essential Helicopters will be highlighted on the Mercer Report.
All I can say is thank you to the whole community for being positive, open and friendly to all our guests.
Patti Carr is the Vice-President of Policy and Communications for the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce
The past week has been a busy one for our area, as we welcomed the world to North Bay. There is a very positive energy that seems to have taken over our community, as the kick off to the Ford World Women’s Curling Championships begin. Our hotels, restaurants and businesses are seeing many new faces from around the world, walking through their doors. This is going to be a great week of curling and show-casing our City and area, to the entire world.
I don’t know if there are enough words to be able to thank Rick Miller, Dave Bennett, and Mark Brown , along with the hundreds of volunteers and City staff who have worked tirelessly over the past 17 months to bring this event to Memorial Gardens. I may sound repetitive in my comments over the past couple of weeks, but it is simply incredible what ordinary people can do, when they put their minds and hearts into something. And that, they certainly have.
Our community shines when it comes to volunteering. We do live in a wonderful place but it is the people within our communities that make it our choice of a place to live, work and play. When we work together as a community, challenges are faced head on, causes are supported and solutions to problems and issues are solved. We have so many talented, bright and dedicated people in our communities, both young and old, that continue to rise to every occasion, time after time and for that we should be very thankful.
As a business community, we have seen that same type of support. These events do not get off the ground without the support from our local companies. Many have jumped on board from the beginning, as they recognize that these events not only benefit them financially during the event, but also the community spirit and pride that comes with it. When you get a chance to view the number of local businesses that have participated and sponsored this event, we see what can be accomplished when our business community, just like the volunteers, put their resources together to ensure success.
After this week culminates with the winning team (personal bias-TEAM CANADA), life will return to some sense of normalcy for all involved, but it is my sincere wish that the sense of community continues on as strong as ever and maybe a little more. When we think “How might we” rather than “we can’t or won’t”, as a community we can accomplish the goals that we set for ourselves. This event is a concrete example of that attitude.
The staff at the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce and its Board of Directors, says thank you to our business community and the fantastic, dedicated volunteers who have contributed to this and many other successes. What’s next? With this type of co-operation…anything is possible.
Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.