Cathy's Plan - Open For Business
Economic development is one of the most important aspects of any mayors job, and one I will clearly be focusing on. It is incumbent on a mayor to meet with large businesses who are interested in our city, to sell them on why they want to set up their businesses here. As a councillor I have taken it upon myself to seize the reins on this subject, preparing for the day when I have to speak as the mayor for St. Albert.
In my first term on council, we formed and opened our Economic Development department. Since then, the amount of business growth in our city has grown dramatically. The once impossible 80/20 tax revenue split is within our grasp; a goal I am confident will be reached soon. It's time to look towards the next goal, and plan on how to get there.
Likewise, now would be a great time to review the Economic Development department and see what can be done to enhance the supports they have. This is the department that brings in commercial tax money, and therefore I feel we need to do everything possible to support their efforts.
Economic development is about more than offering land and tax cuts to big business. It's about nurturing a business community that will support themselves, support our city, and be supported by our residents. The city of St. Albert has always enjoyed a strong relationship with our Chamber of Commerce, but I believe there is an opportunity to strengthen that relationship even more.
Business incubation is a key part of my strategy. We have NABI, a strong incubator with decades of history in our community. But just as a stronger relationship with the Chamber benefits all of St. Albert, stronger relationship with NABI will benefit us all too. Businesses formed in St. Albert are more likely to stay in St. Albert, hiring local staff and contributing to our tax base. So anything that can be done to help NABI help more local start ups is worth looking into.
Some of the strongest business centers form around a common industry. Silicon valley is flourished with the advent of the personal computer, for instance. Major ports do well because of their transportation industries. St. Albert should be looking to be the home of an industry, something new and developing that will draw like minded businesses together within our borders.