The power of an hour to talk about the Peterborough economy

Words such as collaboration and community were a few of the takeaway phrases from the Chamber’s inaugural Power Hour event last week and the atmosphere encouraged a sense of connection between our elected political leaders and a sense that there was an understanding of the issues facing businesses.  What they are able to action still remains to be seen, but the event was about connections, and these connections and conversations must start somewhere.  

MP for Peterborough-Kawartha Riding and Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef spoke about the importance of jobs and how a job carries so much more meaning to an individual than just paying the bills.  “A job brings with it a sense of dignity,” she told the crowd of 175 people.  She spoke about how Peterborough has so much going for it as a region, with many connections by road, air, and yes, rail.  

MPP for Peterborough Riding and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal detailed the importance of several spokes of Peterborough’s economy – agriculture, water and innovation and how going forward in the future the role these industries play will only grow.  Minister Leal also spoke about the impact of the 407 being completed to the 115 and how that road will start to push growth from the GTA even further east.  The impact of the 407 is also an issue the Chamber has on its radar as we determine how to help businesses prepare. 

Warden for the County of Peterborough J. Murray Jones spoke about how all of us in this region are responsible for building it up and seeing success.  “We’re all in this together,” Warden Jones reiterated.   He went on to speak about the importance of bridges and infrastructure projects that top the list for the County, such as the James A. Gifford Causeway, and how there is a constant struggle to raise the funds needed for infrastructure.

City of Peterborough Mayor Daryl Bennett told the crowd that the role for government is to provide a framework for business success and that jobs are created by businesses that have a solid framework from which to work. "When our businesses prosper, so too does our community.”   Mayor Bennett detailed a number of projects on the go at the city level from Bethune Street flood mitigation, to the library upgrade, to the new research park at Trent University.

Chamber member Noble Purification also received a number of mentions throughout the night as a shining example of Peterborough success.  

At the end of the prepared speeches, three questions were put to our four elected leaders including:

  1. What is the most pressing issue for businesses in Peterborough?
    Encouraging innovation was the main theme in the answers to this question.  Businesses need to be given the space to be innovative and have a support system that allows for that.
    The Chamber network asked in the “Emerging Stronger” document that the SR&ED tax credit be restored to 20%.  The program was reduced to 15% in 2014.
  2. With billions of infrastructure dollars looking to be spent what do you see as opportunities for Peterborough?
    Minister Monsef spoke about the infrastructure spending program and how it will be rolled out in two phases.  She spoke to the importance of recognizing the water situation on the Curve Lake First Nation and how a clean water system in that community would benefit us all.
    The main message was the importance of infrastructure is well known and the benefit of solid infrastructure to move our goods is paramount to our local economy.  The Warden and Mayor spoke to concerns about the funding model and the difficulty raising the one-third as municipalities must do under the current model. 
  3. How do you see the refugee resettlement benefiting your community?
    There was no doubt that each of our leaders sees the opportunity in welcoming potential new Canadians to our community.  They all expressed that not only does our economy benefit, but the community as a whole.  It came up more than once that Peterborough’s own roots lie in immigration and how we will need immigration to fulfill the needs of our economy.  

The private and public sectors must work hand in hand, collaborate, for a strong economy at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels of government.  

“All ships float on a rising tide.”   

Thank you to our elected leaders for their words and to our Power Sponsor Cogeco Connexion for taping the event.  Cogeco has provided a few dates the show will be airing:

Sat, Feb 20, 2016 06:30:00

Sun, Feb 21, 2016 12:00:00

Tue, Feb 23, 2016 15:00:00

Tue, Feb 23, 2016 21:00:00

Wed, Feb 24, 2016 12:00:00

Fri, Feb 26, 2016 19:30:00

Sat, Feb 27, 2016 08:00:00

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