Halton Real Estate Forum a success

On Thursday, November 8, I joined more than 200 industrial, commercial developers and real estate brokers from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), regional and local municipal elected officials and staff for the fourth annual Halton Real Estate Forum.  Held at the Teatro Conference and Event Centre in Milton, the Forum provided an opportunity for participants to hear an update on the industrial and commercial real estate market in Halton and the GTA.

The Forum was presented by Halton Region Economic Development in partnership withReal Estate Forum 1 the Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) and the economic development offices of the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton and the Town of Oakville.

FCT (First Canadian Title) was a Gold Sponsor of the event, Bentall Kennedy a Silver Sponsor and RIM (Research in Motion) a Technology Sponsor.

Halton Region has experienced strong population and business growth over the past several years. Our Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan provides direction for future economic development so we can ensure business growth continues.  The well-attended Forum was successful in further building awareness of Halton as a location of choice for business investment and reinforced the Region’s many strengths.  In fact, a key message voiced by the speakers was that Halton is indeed a location of choice – a great place to live and work and definitely on the radar screen for forward thinking businesses.

In his opening remarks, Halton’s Economic Development Director, John Davidson, touched on the Halton Region Economic Development Strategy for 2012-2021, provided an overview of trends in the commercial and industrial real estate market in Halton and announced the launch of the Region’s new Halton Data Centre.

Keynote speaker Sheila Botting, Partner & National Leader, Deloitte Real Estate, talkedReal Estate Forum 2 about demographics, productivity and how the real estate game is changing, noting that “Commercial real estate can be a catalyst for growth in our economy.”

Office panelists John Arnoldi (Colliers International), Dave Carreiro (First Gulf Corporation) and Chris Holtved (Pauls Properties Corp.) along with Wayne Walton (Sun Life Financial), Ken Nevar (Cooper Construction) and John McCall (Oxford Properties Group) all said that Halton is a big part of their respective businesses, agreeing that land availability is higher and operating costs and taxes are lower than other areas.

Here are just a few of the comments made by the panelists:Real Estate Forum 3

“Halton is at the stage of its development where it has hit escape velocity…Like tenants want to be near like tenants – we are seeing that with financial and professional services companies such as Siemens, Canadian Tire Financial Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers, all choosing Halton.” Chris Holtved

“Halton is a hotspot for business investment.” John Arnoldi

“Halton is also uniquely positioned to attract large industrial development by virtual of its location near major transportation corridors and the availability of serviced industrial land as evidenced by the recent Target and First Gulf/Sun Life Financial developments.” Ken Nevar

As I listened to Ms. Botting and our other speakers, I was reminded of the words of Franz Kafka, the renowned Czech-born writer, who once wrote, “Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.”  The opportunities here in Halton are endless. More and more companies are finding new ways to capitalize on Halton’s many advantages to bring innovative products and services to market. Halton Region truly is a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

To learn more about Economic Development in Halton Region, dial 311, 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866, TTY 905-827-9833 or visit www.halton.ca/business. You can find Halton Small Business on Facebook and on Twitter @HaltonEcDev, as well as Halton Tourism on Facebook and on Twitter.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”


Employment Halton opens doors to job seekers and employers of Halton

At Halton Region, we are working to implement a new ten-year Halton Region Economic Development Strategy Implementation Plan in partnership with our Local Municipal partners in Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville, that will guide the fulfilment of the Region’s vision for economic development to 2021. One of the great things we have going for us is the fact that Halton Region is such a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. Businesses realize this, which is why companies like Siemens and Target are choosing to locate in Halton. These two businesses will bring about 1300 jobs to the Region. Through our Citizens’ Priorities – Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan, Regional Council is committed to both attracting and retaining jobs, and helping job seekers to find work and employers to find employees.

On January 24, 2012, I had the pleasure of joining the Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, local elected officials, community partners and members of the public to celebrate the official opening of the Employment Halton office in Oakville. Employment Halton offers personalized services to help job seekers meet their goals and employers achieve success in today’s labour market by providing a comprehensive range of programs and services.

As a service provider for Employment Ontarioexternal link, Halton Region is part of a network of providers in Halton who are committed to providing accessible, customer focused and integrated services so that the experience for individuals accessing the system is seamless. Employment Ontario programsexternal link include apprenticeship opportunities and programs such as Second Career external link which provides participants with financial support to assist them as they re-train for a new career.
In addition to the services offered onsite, job seekers and employers benefit from the free online job posting board operated by Employment Halton. Our staff is also working closely with employers in Halton to help them meet their hiring needs. If you are an employer in Halton you may be interested in the services Employment Halton can offer you.

While last week’s event marked the official opening of Employment Halton, this location has actually been providing services to our community for a year. During this time, staff have developed an innovative and integrated model of service delivery that has achieved impressive results. In its first year of operation, Employment Halton exceeded Ministry targets for the number of clients and employers served and the number of clients placed in jobs. Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to help make our first year such a huge success.

I would like to thank the Provincial government for the funding provided through Employment Ontario. Your support has enabled us to strengthen access to employment opportunities in our community. I would also like to thank the Federal government for the support they provide us for employment programs for youth and newcomers.

If you are looking for a job, interested in a new career or are an employer in Halton who wants to learn more about what we can do for you, contact us by dialing 311 or 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866, or visit www.halton.ca/employmenthalton. Our Employment Halton office is located in Bronte Village Mall in Oakville (2441 Lakeshore Road, view mapexternal link).

Employment Halton Grand Opening
If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Economic Development Strategy Approved

A strong and innovative business community is key to ensuring that Halton Region can continue to prosper. More and more businesses, such as Target, Siemens, UPS and Sensient are choosing to call Halton home. Combined, these four companies are bringing 1,300 to 1,400 jobs to Halton. They choose to locate here because of Halton’s high quality of life and our excellent track record with keeping taxes low.

To continue this trend, on December 14, 2011, Regional Council approved a new ten-year Halton Region Economic Development Strategic Implementation Plan that will guide Halton Region Economic Development, in partnership with our local municipal partners in Burlington external link, Halton Hills external link, Milton external link and Oakville external link.

The Strategic Implementation Plan:

  • builds on the vision for economic development approved by Halton Regional Council last fall
  • establishes direction for Halton Region’s Economic Development services and programs
  • informs decision making for economic development within the Region. 

One of the key Citizens’ Priorities identified by Halton residents is to attract and retain jobs. To help achieve this goal, the Strategic Implementation Plan sets out 23 directions with specific actions, targets and performance measures. 

In addition, a Strategic Directions Report was developed by Millier Dickinson Blais Inc. This report provides directions in five key pillars supporting economic growth in the region, namely:

  • Employment lands – ensure sufficient supply of employment lands in Halton to meet Halton’s growth forecast and fiscal objectives and monitor land absorption
  • Existing and emerging sectors – undertake information gathering, liaison and support local sector-based strategies
  • Investment attraction and retention – establish an investment attraction plan for office and export-oriented development, a “Regional investment response” team, an online data resource centre and ensure industrial tax rates and non-residential development charges are competitive
  • Entrepreneurship and innovation – Establish a north Halton Small Business Centre, empower young entrepreneurs and develop entrepreneurship programs for Newcomers
  • Quality of place – support priority areas, e.g., physician recruitment, tourism and agriculture

Halton Region’s Economic Development division will report back to Council annually on its progress in achieving the Strategic Implementation Plan.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”