EDC looks to boost sagging tourism industry.Re-invigorating the Sault's sagging tourism industry is among the priority issues for the Sault Ste. Marie Sault Sainte Marie — pronounced "Soo Saint Marie" (IPA /su seɪnt məˈɹi/) — is the name of two cities on the Saint Marys River, which forms part of the boundary between the United States and Canada. Economic Development Corporation (EDC EDC
See: Export Development Corp. ).
Plans are in the works to give a major upgrade to the Sault's world famous Agawa Canyon Tour Train.
Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, the EDC's tourism division, is partnering with Canadian National Railway Canadian National Railway, rail system in Canada and the United States, extending from coast to coast in Canada with many branch lines in each province and in the United States. to put together a $10-million to $12-million package to purchase and renovate a fleet of double-decker rail coaches. After a North American-wide search, the cars were located at a New England-area source.
EDC president and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. Bruce Strapp says both parties are moving forward with applications to various funding agencies.
He says the partners are investigating placing some "entertainment technology" product development on the tour train and looking at hospitality development at the canyon site.
Tourism is one of the key areas identified in the City's strategic plan and their inventory of projects worth $211 million in public and private dollars that's expected to come online this year.
In relying largely on American tourism, tour train ridership has been on the wane in recent years due to U.S. Homeland Security issues.
"There seems to be a real perception that Americans can't come to Canada without a passport and can't get back into the U.S.," says Strapp.
Once construction on the Gateway-Borealis tourist attraction begins later this year, the passenger rail depot on Bay Street will be shifted over to that property. Strapp says the City is awaiting provincial sign-off on $15 million worth of Northern Ontario Heritage funds for the attraction. The Toronto developers, the Garforth Group, are targeting a spring 2008 grand opening.
Keeping the Searchmont Ski Resort viable for next winter remains a priority, as does finding a fresh injection of cash for the Bushplane Heritage Museum. City and tourism officials want to upgrade the attraction to provincial tourism attraction status, similar to Thunder Bay's Old Fort William site.
The City is looking to the Ministries of Tourism, Northern Development and Mines, and Natural Resources for solutions to strengthen the volunteer-run museum and make it a more sustainable year-round operation.
The EDC is concentrating on attracting new investment in tourism, traditional industries, the knowledge-based economy, health sciences, small business, trade and export, and the public sector.
Destiny Sault Ste. Marie, the City's diversification strategy, will be measuring their success by job creation numbers and tax assessment base.
Strapp says if everything comes together in the next three to five years, about $705 million worth of new projects will come on-stream to create 615 new jobs.
The City is looking to identify more opportunities in value-added forestry with Boniferro Mill Works and the Flakeboard Company in areas of glue-lamination, decorative fencing and flooring products using MDF (1) (Main Distribution Frame) A wiring rack that connects outside lines with internal lines. It is used to connect public or private lines coming into the building to internal networks. (medium density fibreboard) components.
The EDC is working with Flakeboard to identify some supporting infrastructure for their MDF and new melamine lamination lamination
a laminar structure or arrangement. facilities, including a possible resin plant, some new energy projects and other value-added businesses for the city's west-end industrial park.
"We're looking to set up a (cluster) model similar to what Flakeboard has in St. Stephen, New Brunswick St. Stephen (2001 pop.: 4,667) is a Canadian town in Charlotte County, New Brunswick.
The town is situated on the east bank of the St. Croix River at . ," says Strapp.
Value-added steel opportunities are being explored to compliment Algoma Steel and Tenaris Tubes. The SIAG SIAG Survey Instrument, Azimuth Gyroscope Great Lakes Partnership to build wind towers on the plant was a first step, but Strapp says there are other possibilities in the auto supply industry including seat manufacturing, hot-dipped galvanized steel and making hydroformed car frames from tubular steel.
On the bioeconomy front, the Sault's two government forestry labs will play a major role in commercializing research into bioproducts. The community is one of five major centres participating in the Northern Ontario Commercialization Initiative (NOCI NOCI Native Orchid Conservation Inc. ), a regional innovation network of private and public sector players.
The EDC is working closely with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is a medical school created through a partnership between Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario and Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. to examine medical research and bio-prospecting opportunities locally.
"We know NOSM NOSM Northern Ontario School of Medicine (Canada)
NOSM Navy Occupation Service Medal (US Navy decoration)
NOSM Network Operations and Systems Management is building out platforms in the other communities and we've found some niche areas with the Group Health Centre ... and Science Enterprise Algoma to tie in with bioprospecting and life sciences with natural resources," such as developing Canada Yew plantations for cancer-fighting drugs, says Strapp.
BY IAN ROSS
Northern Ontario Business Northern Ontario Business is a Canadian magazine, which publishes monthly in Greater Sudbury, Ontario. The magazine covers business news and issues in Northern Ontario.