Some good news on the Burlington economy scene but it isn’t all sunshine; dark clouds as well.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  November 7, 2011  Gerry Visca socked it to them.  The room was packed and Visca, a very energetic inspirational speaker kept throwing strong, declarative statements at his audiences and for the most part they loved it.

“How many people in this room know someone who is going through hell right now” he asked.  Put your hands up, if you know anyone this is happening to, he urged.  A half a dozen or so hands went up and Gerry shouted out: “Great – tell them to keep going because that is the only way they are going to get through it”.

His message was one of being consistent, being disciplined and staying the course.  “Easy” asked Visca.  “No” he added “But I want you to keep this thought in mind.  What happens when water reaches a temperature of 212 degrees? Right – it boils and with boiling water you get steam and with steam you can drive engines and make things”.  All said with great enthusiasm and energy by Visca.

“What do you get when the temperature of the water is 211 degrees” he asked in a quieter voice.  “You get hot water – but with that one extra degree you’ve got something you can use”.  And that was the message – try harder, stay focused and stick to your plan.

John Chisholm, president of the BEDC told most of the good news but didn't mention a word of the black cloud hanging over the city's economy - the scheduled closing of the Maple Leaf Foods Distribution plant on Harvester Road and the loss of some 800 + jobs that will go to their new location in Hamilton.

The room loved it and at one point he had everyone in the room standing up and wrapping their arms around each other’s shoulders.  THAT is an inspirational speaker.

The Mayor’s Luncheon series ran under the tag line “Connect-Collaborate – Create” Series and featured five speakers.  John Chisholm, President of the Burlington Economic development Corporation and CEO of SB Partners announced that there had been a 16% increase in luncheon attendance since 2010

The final event for 2011 is to be a session with Royal Bank of Canada Senior Vice President & Chief Economist Craig Wright on December 1st.  Wright is going to provide an informative financial look into 2012; that assumes that there will be an economy to look at.  Burlington’s 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year will be announced at that luncheon. The official award celebration will be held on June 7, 2012.

Burlington Economic development Corporation (BEDC) completed its Lean Green and Connected Innovative industrial building stock project. This initiative was undertaken with the local firm KNY Architects who developed models for future industrial facilities that meet the needs of the next generation of advance manufacturers.

BEDC is now actively working with local companies and building owners to launch a demonstration project to take the models from concept to reality. Economic activity in the city continues at a steady pace – In the first half of the year companies have invested $69 million in the renovation and/or construction of their facilities.  Some 15 local companies expanded their operations, 38 new companies opened in Burlington, which all together created 425 new jobs in the community. One of these expansions is ABS Machining that is building its second facility in Burlington. Their new 52 thousand square foot industrial facility at 1601 Corporate Drive will increase their capacity to make parts for a wide range of industrial sectors and accommodate the new staff they will be hiring.

BEDC Staff are working on 30 investment files to date and have visited 50 of our Burlington companies through the Business First corporate calling program. Staff have reported 2011 Industrial vacancies are at 95% full and Office occupancy is 87%.

The dark cloud on the horizon is the announced closing of the Maple Leaf Distribution plant on Harvester Road.  There is some hope that Fearman’s  Pork “might” pick up that space, but the two events won’t happen at the same time – so Burlington is looking at a 87 + job loss in 2013

The Mayor’s BEDC Luncheon Series in 2012 will have the tag line  “Imagine-Ignite-Innovate”! This series will feature speakers and resources that our Burlington companies can take information and inspiration from. The dates in 2012 are: February 16th; March 29th; September 20th and November 1st.  All are on a Thursday.

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