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