Another week, another great announcement coming out of the City on Thursday.  The proposed fifteen-million-dollar condominium development, that was unveiled, is good news for the City.  The staged development for three condominium buildings of 21 units each, is a perfect fit for our waterfront and with the proximity to downtown, should assist with the continued revitalization of our City’s core.  By bringing people back downtown to live, the ancillary services, will soon follow.

For the past fifteen or so years, the City has been attempting to market the property for a variety of projects, but none have been able to break through the environmental issues that have dogged the property.  With advances in environmental technologies over the past number of years and time itself, it appears that New Vision Park Properties Inc, of Sudbury, has figured it out and believes they can make this work.  We are hopeful that it will proceed.

The pundits will no doubt have a bit of a field day with this one given the fact that the proposed sale price is twenty-five thousand dollars.  At first glance this appears to be a relatively low sale price for property located next to Lake Nipissing but as with most things, the devil is in the details.  The environmental clean up of this property has been the major issue surrounding this prime real estate and the reason that development has been slow.  If memory serves me correctly, back in approximately 2006-07, it was estimated that the clean up would cost in the neighbourhood of two and one half million dollars.  Certainly not chump change.  Add that to the sale price and one can hopefully connect the dots.

There will always be detractors when it comes to development.  Many of these detractors are the same ones who complain about tax increases, possible service level reductions and those that wish no development near the waterfront.  The facts are simple:  if we wish to retain our quality of life and the services that we presently have, we must grow and generate additional tax revenues, to meet the expectations of our citizens.  That is not only true of this City, but of many of our neighbouring municipalities and virtually every community outside the GTA, that are not high growth communities.

Investments by private developers and businesses are key to the future prosperity of our community.  A broader tax base in the commercial and industrial sectors will help offset the need for increased residential taxation, in the future.  The announcements both last week and the previous week, are a great start and hopefully the trend will continue.  It is after all, our future.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.