Business Retention and Expansion Program was launched in February 2005
“to stimulate economic development and growth by assisting existing
Partners in the program include the city, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of
Commerce and the
and Manitoulin Workforce Partnerships Board, with funding from the
provincial and federal governments.
The first phase of the
program was to complete a comprehensive survey of local businesses.
The results could hardly be called "astonishing" in light of
information that has been floating around the Greater Sudbury Region for
conducting a survey of 126 businesses, the Chair of the Greater Sudbury
Business Retention and Expansion Program, Jeanne Warwick, stated that the
two major impediments to business development in this area are a skilled
labour shortage and municipal government.
60 per cent of survey respondents identified a shortage of qualified
workers as one of the major “barriers to the expansion of existing
businesses and the development of new businesses in the community,” the
51 page report states. Based upon the above two survey sources, it would
be interesting to determine exactly "where" businesses are
experiencing the shortages.
Next on the list was a series of concerns with local government attitudes,
services, costs and regulations.
“The municipal government was rated as not supportive, poor on taxes,
development charges and the permit process,” the report says.
“Dissatisfaction levels ran high with street repair (80 per cent) and
the planning, engineering, zoning and building permit process (48 per
cent),” it states.
RECORD OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
is quite disturbing to note that, “71 per cent of the businesses
interviewed felt that the municipality does not take an adequate role in
business and economic development.”
a gathering of business leaders where the report was unveiled, Mayor Dave
Courtemanche said city council and staff will be working co-operatively
with business leaders to address such concerns. He and council are
committed to creating a climate in which “new businesses feel welcome
and existing businesses feel appreciated,” Courtemanche told the
gathering at city hall.
“It’s really existing businesses that are the future of our
community,” said the mayor, who has been involved in the business
retention initiative and has served as the program’s honourary chair.
said she is confident the local business community can work with the city
to address the concerns that have been identified. “Mayor Dave is
willing to work with us and unearth what the problems really are,” she
The next step in the process will include additional research and
development of action plans to address priority issues, she added.