‘LOSING OUT’: Winnipeg is lacking out on alternatives resulting from enterprise obstacles, says EDW CEO
Winnipeg continues to be impacted by several development barriers, although several business areas boomed during the pandemic.
The obstacles include the need for maintained industrial land, a business-friendly environment, more bureaucracy and more transparency, said Dayna Spiring, President and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg (EDW), in a presentation to the city’s innovation and economic development committee on Monday.
“Companies want certainty,” she said. “You want to understand the process and timelines required to get the necessary approvals. It helps them make informed decisions and shows them where to invest. “
Spiring said EDW continues to hear from companies frustrated with the city’s approval process, adding that there is strong interest in developing Winnipeg’s industrial areas such as CentrePort South, which has lost to rural communities due to a lack of infrastructure.
“Multi-year schedules to prepare them (industrial areas) for development do not represent that they are moving at the pace of business,” she said. “Winnipeg is losing, and that results in lost property taxes for the city. Another challenging area is the opportunity to attract large manufacturing companies with significant water and wastewater requirements. “
Spiring said vaccinations are a critical component of the economic recovery, and vaccine rollouts should be quick and efficient. She also said Winnipeggers must stand up for the airport, which suffers from travel restrictions.
“Is that appropriate and how long?” She said. “We need to understand the plan to bring international travel back to Winnipeg. Investments go where they are efficient. “
Winning businesses during the pandemic include advanced manufacturing, technology, and transportation and distribution, Spiring said, adding a few companies like Precision ADM that secured contracts to manufacture PPE and essential goods during the pandemic. Some food delivery services have also performed well during the pandemic.
“We have also seen the demand for precision agriculture and agricultural technology increase,” she said. “In the area of transport and sales, we supported two new Amazon sales facilities. This is good news for our airport’s cargo growth. The shipping companies also did very well during the pandemic. “
Jonathan Alward, director of provincial affairs for the Manitoba branch of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, told the Winnipeg Sun that he largely agreed with Spiring’s report.
“Some companies that may outperform others may be bigger,” he said. “Residential properties are doing very well, most would say. Think how hot our housing market is right now. I think (EDW) mentioned agriculture. Hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate and we will have another strong year. “
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