The announcement last week by Caisse Populaire Alliance was certainly good news for North Bay and more specifically, the residents of West Ferris.  The closure of the last banking branch in that end of the City earlier this year, was seen as a loss of services to those who actually like to deal with people.  We all get that it was due to change in banking habits, on-line and mobile banking and continued automation that was the decision maker, but it still left a mark.  Fast forward to last week and the void will soon be filled.

The entire team from Caisse Populaire Alliance really demonstrated their commitment to this community by announcing the opening of their second branch, expanding to the Nipissing Plaza in the very near future.  The confidence and investment shown by the Caisse will see a full service branch offering both personal and business banking services, in both official languages.  New employment opportunities will be created and another vacancy, filled.  Congratulations to Norm and the entire team at the Caisse for the early Christmas present, for West Ferris residents.

Last week also saw the Film and Television Industry join with the City of North Bay for a press conference, to dispel many of the rumours circulating in our area around the use of fake snow.  Both sides echoed the need to ensure that any and all environmental concerns are addressed, as well as confirming the industries commitment for continued filming and television production, in this area.  The economic impact for our communities is important and co-operation and communication will be key to ensuring this industry continues to grow.

The Fall Economic Statement delivered by our MP, Finance Minister Vic Fedeli on Thursday, was not a complete surprise given the deficit numbers that were outlined earlier this year, in the Auditor General’s report.  A number of changes forthcoming in the next budget for small business, is welcome news for a sector that has taken its hits over the past few years. Tax and regulatory reforms, red tape reductions and a complete overhaul of the apprentice programs, signal that the Government is serious about the statement that the Province is “Open for Business”.  We know that there will be changes and that economic recovery will not be without some tough decisions having to be made.  Not all will be happy or agree with every decision however, we have to grow and any help for this sector will assist on the road to economic recovery.

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