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A presentation to the University of Western Ontario Urban Economic Development Program

Text of Uwo Urban Economic Development

  • 1. An Introduction to the Economic Developers Council of Ontario University of Western Ontario Urban Economic Development November 2009

2. 3. Presentation Outline

  • Overview of EDCO
  • EDCOs Local Economies in Transition Initiative
  • Challenges in Economic Development

4. Background

    • Aileen Murray Ec.D. (F)
    • President EDCO
    • Manager of Economic Development, Middlesex County
    • Principal Mellor Murray Consulting
    • Previously 10 years Chatham-Kent Economic Development
    • DMA, Alpha Services, Cadillac Fairview, Carlton Cards

5. Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO)

  • Largest provincial economic development association in Canada with just under 600 members representing 175 communities across the province.
  • Independent, non-profit incorporated association of persons engaged in economic development for over 50 years.
  • Members include:
    • Municipal, provincial, federal governments
    • Community Futures Development Corporations
    • Workforce Development Organizations e.g. Training Boards, Industry Education Councils, Educational Institutions
    • Industrial, commercial realtors and land developers.

6. Vision & Mission

  • Vision: Enhance and develop an economically viable and environmentally responsible Ontario
  • Mission: EDCO will provide a forum to enhance the professional development of its members;advance economic development as a profession and promote, assist and foster economic prosperity within our municipalities in the province of Ontario

7. Our History 8. EDCO Roles

  • Focus is on professional development for the membership
  • Not an advocacy organization
  • Liaison between province, economic developers, and business community
  • Disseminating information and raising awareness

9. Local Economies in Transition 2007

  • Initiative in partnership with the Ministry of Economic Development in 2007
  • Project activities & outputs:
    • Engagement of site selectors
    • Mock site selection exercise, involving an RFP and site visit

10. What was involved?

  • Project activities & outputs:
    • Series of 6 one day roundtables to present investment readiness best practices and results of mock exercise.150 + attended.
    • Created project web site that was heavily visited and is still an actively used resource.
    • On-line investment readiness assessment


  • Supporting the Economic Development Mission
    • EDCO is one of the better Economic Development organizations by industry standards
    • There is a high level of Provincial involvement in economic development
    • Generally good Provincial level data resources
  • Regional Branding / Attraction Strategies
    • Notable success stories
      • Ontario East Economic Development Commission
      • Canadas Technology Triangle
      • GTMA
    • A handful of communities have developed and articulated an economic development strategy
    • Most communities are poorly represented at this macro level

#1 Are Ontario CommunitiesGetting on the Radar Screen? 12. #2 Are Development Ready Ontario Communities Passing the Test?

  • The LETI Site Selector initiative involved two levels of community assessment:
    • Response to site selector project RFP
    • Site selector community visit Readiness Assessment

13. Site Selector Visits 1. Rainy River/Ft Frances 2. Thunder Bay 3. Greenstone/Geraldton 4. Sault Ste. Marie 5. Sudbury 6. Pembroke 7. Hamilton 8. Orangeville 9. Brockville 10. Gananoque 11. Mississauga 12. Oakville 13. Collingwood 14. Meaford 15. Minto 16. Goderich 17. Tillsonburg 18. London 19. Chatham 20. Leamington 1 3 4 6 9 11 15 18 19 16 10 20 13 2 5 17 14 12 8 7 14. Investment Ready - More than Just Sites What Does It Mean?

  • Successful industry retention program
  • Fast-track permitting for new investment
  • Well versed on federal, provincial, and local incentive programs
  • Incentives tailored to meet the needs of individual businesses
  • Local business participates in community organizations, events
  • Active community programs include festivals, public art, recreation
  • Community is in good condition including roads, public buildings, schools, parks
  • Stakeholder Buy-In

15. What Site Consultants Look for in Communities

  • Up-to-date and Forward Looking communities that frequently assess strengths and weakness and adjust strategies accordingly
  • Regional Approach communities that take a regional approach to coordinate marketing and attraction efforts
  • Provide Professional Assistance communities that follow a high standard when working with site consultants and company prospects
  • Data Rich communities that invest in robust data resources

16. What Site Consultants Look for in Communities

  • Know Themselves communities that keep site, city and regional maps up-to-date (on top of growth)
  • Involve the Real Estate Community communities that make brokers, property owners and developers part of the team
  • Educated Stakeholders communities that involve board members, politicians, government officials, business community
  • Professional communities that are responsive, punctual, honest, thorough in all dealings
  • Good Restaurants ED professional who prefers a local dive to Applebees and isnt afraid to admit it

17. Community Visit - Readiness Scoring 2007 Scoring Category Possible Score Community Reception 35 Labour 50 Transportation 35 Utilities 35 Community Appearance 35 Sites/Buildings 60 Schedule 15 Community Stability 20 Intangibles 15 TOTAL 300 18. Community Visit Outline

  • Community Orientation overview of community and business environment
  • Labour Interview meeting with local employer
  • Meet with Utility Representatives utility service details related to available site, estimated monthly bill, rates & fees
  • Industrial Park / Site Visit tour available site(s)
  • Technical School Visit overview of school as training resource
  • Employment Services local workforce information
  • Community Tour
  • Taxes property tax rates and information
  • Development Incentives discussion and overview of available incentive programs

19. Community Visits The Good Developable land offered at reasonable cost and development fees Attractive, thriving downtown Good Utility Infrastructure Local improvements underway Proven connection between training resources and industry 20. Community Visits The Bad Site not cleared for development, low power lines straddle future entrance High cost of land and development fees Lack of connection between industry and local training resources Utility infrastructure not in place and/or capacity not available for new industry 21. Community Visits The Ugly Long abandoned hospital is testimony to a breakdown in local leadership Brownfield site is far from being ready for development Existing building not ready for a new tenant Lax rules for outside storage makes industrial parks less desirable 22. #3 Closing the Deal Do Ontario Communities Appear Ready and Able to Close the Deal?

    • Communities do not seem to have the financial ability to close the deal on proposed projects (i.e. infrastructure improvements, training funds, etc)
    • A prolonged decision on funding or planning approvals* could drive a proposed project to another location that has the ability to work faster
    • * Particularly for communities without delegated Ministerial approvals for Official Plan amendments

23. Key Finding:Low Level of Community Preparedness

  • Limited number of shovel ready industrial sites and buildings
  • Many communities lacked an up-to-date economic development strategy with industry targets
  • Community profiles were not of quality to sufficiently inform site selection decisions
  • Most economic development web sites provided insufficient information and functionality
  • Weak linkages between economic development and labour force development activities


  • Development fees and land costs are potentially prohibitive to many new investments, especially for projects that are co

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