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What does FED/DEV do? Over the past couple of months we have come very close to securing a corporate opportunity that would locate a business in Dunnville at the Bick’s plant. As you can imagine the competition for hosting this company is fierce as we all want the jobs in our own communities. In total it could be approximately 200 jobs for Haldimand.
The company had some particular concerns that needed to be addressed by all three levels of government, the answers to which would help them with their decision as to where they should locate. To date all requests made to the municipality and to the province have been met and, I must say, in record time. In fact I have a letter from the provincial Ministry of Economic Development saying how much they believe in this project and expressing their full support.
Unfortunately, our friends at Fed/Dev have not been so helpful. We are waiting for their replies in order to close this deal and make it happen. So out of frustration I took it upon myself to go to their website to learn more about them, and here is what I found:
“FedDev Ontario supports the southern Ontario economy by building on the region’s strengths and creating opportunities for jobs and economic growth. The Agency has launched a number of initiatives to create a Southern Ontario Advantage and place the region in a strong position to compete in the global economy. These initiatives are designed to encourage partnerships and support projects that help the region’s businesses and communities become more competitive, innovative and diversified.”
Looking further through the website, I found many examples where Fed/Dev has helped businesses and communities work together on some great opportunities. I see millions dollars being handed out all over the province of Ontario. One thing that quickly became evident was that none of these opportunities have been afforded to us here in Haldimand. Why? [ Fed Dev must comply with Federal law and access to information and privacy legislation. Anyone can complete and access to information and request materials from FedDev eg’s: http://www.feddevontario.gc.ca/eic/site/723.nsf/eng/00706.html There were 2 requests completed in May of 2012 CP ]
Now I know every other community deserves this as much as we do, but hey, I am the Mayor of Haldimand, I am not as concerned about the other communities as I am about my own. I want to see us get at least our share, but based on the information I was able to gather, Haldimand is well below that level. So when a company comes to us in Haldimand and has a reasonable request, I say “make it happen”.
After contacting our local MP Diane Finley’s office, the response that we are getting is that “these applications all follow their [Fed/Dev] process and it must be followed.’
Now I cannot say with any fact that this process works flawlessly in every application, but as I read through the website, I find it very interesting when you follow where the money goes and into what communities, who the MP’s are for those communities. You figure it out.
So is it unreasonable to believe that we should be able to go through our MP (who represents Haldimand) and ask that a favor be called in? Why is it that everyone else gets the economic benefits? It would be a real shame if this company locates in another province because we could not collaboratively find a way to make it happen for Haldimand despite our best efforts. For the Silo by Haldimand Mayor Ken Hewitt