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Public, private sectors combine efforts to market industrial land.

Public, private sectors combine efforts to market industrial land

While some Northern Ontario cities and many towns with a resource-based economy are experiencing the effects of an economic slowdown, North Bay continues to show signs of progress.

In the past year the City of North Bay reported a fifth year of record expansion in the local economy.

Industrial/commercial expansion activity showed an increase of 44 per cent over 1988. The resulting total of $70.6 million in construction was an increase of three per cent from 1988.

Rick Evans, manager of the economic development division of North Bay's department of planning and development, said "the city's economy continues to strengthen through diversification and growth."

North Bay's tax base increased four per cent to a total tax assessment of $4.2 million.

"The forty acres of municipal land sold in 1989 represents an increase in land sales revenue of 27 per cent over the previous year," said Evans. "This suggests continued strength through this year.

"Continued high levels of activity in the commercial sector by outside investors complement significant local initiatives and ensures ongoing growth in that sector."

Although the city has only "bits and pieces" of industrial land to offer prospective buyers, there is a large inventory of land available within the private and public sectors. The public groups include the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Transport Canada and the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.

An industrial land review committee, represented by the public and private participants, identified land to be sold. The private sector is the dominant influence, with strategies that acknowledge the appropriate partnership roles. The city can now "mix and match requirements" to the needs of a client.

City-owned land in the Gateway Industrial Park is now being sold at $20,000 per acre, compared to the previous $10,000 price.

"We wanted to get more involvement from the private sector and have money to replenish and develop other industrial land. We now have a balanced delivery in serving prospective clients and can rely on the larger inventory provided by all the players," Evans explained.

Evans describes the ongoing assistance from provincial and federal sources as a major method of promoting the community to international audiences. He said local industries have continued to invest in modernization and expansion.

"This has allowed us to attract a major new industry in the acrylic and ceramics sector (Mirolin Industries)." He said significant export activity will act to further stabilize North Bay's economy.

Although the long-predicted national economic slowdown has materialized, the economic outlook for North Bay remains stable.

Evans points to Ontario Ministry of Labour statistics which indicate more Ontario workers lost their jobs in layoffs in 1989 than during any year since the 1982 recession. Both major resource sectors, forestry and mining, are feeling the impact of the downturn.

He sees the continuation of North Bay's "focussed approach to the Toronto area market" as one of the keys to the city's ability to attract more industry. "The operating costs for businesses in that market continue to escalate beyond their means."

What will help in marketing the North Bay area are the regional partnerships with sister municipalities along the Highway 11 corridor and the Action Group of Mayors.

"Each community's success strengthens our entire region and helps to profile our area internationally and reinforce our corporate community."

WILSTON STEER Correspondent
COPYRIGHT 1990 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
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Title Annotation:Construction Report; North Bay, Ontario economy expands
Author:Steer, Wilson
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:May 1, 1990
Previous Article:London-based construction company opens Sault office.
Next Article:Construction activity levels off after past year's 'dramatic' hike.

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