Brant candidates in the recent federal election were asked by The Expositor how their party, if elected, would grow the local economy. In the preamble, representatives from the Chamber of Commerce Brantford-Brant provided some background statements which inspired us to come up with some suggestions.
“The building boom (in Brantford) is temporary. The fact is, soon the available development lands will run out and then things will dive.”1
This tired sound-bite has been used for years by the need-more-land chorus. Therefore, why are we still waiting for the available development properties in Brantford to be used up? It should have happened by now.
“We’re not doing enough to encourage new businesses and retain old ones and I don’t hear enough discussion from any of the political parties about how they’ll retain the manufacturing base in Ontario and support small businesses in Brantford,”2
Since it is the job of a chamber of commerce “to promote and protect the interests of for-profit business,” a better question is, how can government compliment the actions of the chamber?
There is a school of thought that says government can’t do much to affect short-term economic activity. We all know how small and medium size businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. It’s, therefore, incumbent on for-profit business to drive economic activity without waiting for government to act.
“We realize that Brantford’s economy is dependent on how the boundaries issues work out.”3
If the economy was truly dependent on the lack of property there would be zero industrial, commercial and residential vacancies in Brantford NOW.
“We’re pleased to see an increasing interest in business and residential development.”4
Yes, that shows that Brantford’s economy is in progress without a Brantford-Brant boundary adjustment.
“She (the president of CCBB) said one encouraging aspect of the local economy is the growth in education initiatives.”5
Yes, again, Brantford’s economy is progressing without a boundary adjustment.
Which begs the question, why has the predicted economic activity from fifteen years of over investment in post-secondary education downtown not resulted in available development properties being used up? Why hasn’t it created a economically diverse downtown for all citizens? Why hasn’t it created a windfall in new assessment?
Instead of courting politicians, The Chamber of Commerce Brantford-Brant may want to shift some of its time to help for-profit businesses use up available development properties, that is (in order of priority):
- unused buildings
- underused buildings
- misused buildings
- unused land
- underused land
- misused land
without handouts from government.
1-5. Gamble, Susan. 2015. “Boundary deal seen as key for local economy,” The Expositor, October 14.
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