I ran on a platform: Innovate Belleville, to look at way to which we can spark new economic development in the city, and make sure that we are generating more revenue to alleviate the burden of our existing tax base so that taxes stay constant and we can pay for the things we want to do, let alone need to do.
This means thinking like a city of 65,000, not 50,000. This means creating a committee that looks continuously at the future of Belleville and how we are generating revenue, paying for growth.
Through as a councillor my short term in office thus far, I have brought forward 2 items, the POP-UP Project, and Rural Skilled Trades Immigration Application, that an Economic Development Committee would have been able to vet. I have had to bring these items directly through to Council, instead of first through a committee.
This committee is needed now, and it could not be more pertinent. We spent on average $37 person in Belleville for garbage pick-up. We spend $38 per person for recycling. We spend $5 per person on economic development, or growth of our city that would be the only agency to being garbage down per capita. In short: We spend more money on garbage than we do business development and growth.
There are issues that will require an Economic Development Committee’s use immediately, which will not tackle issues currently handled by Quinte Economic Development Committee, whose mandate is manufacturing and manufacturing retention. There will include Innovation and a Start-up Community, Skilled Labour shortages and strategies, Forecasting revenue and growth with housing skilled trade shortages, investment attraction, economic zones in Belleville, Waterfront investment and development, Loyalist and secondary education partnerships, the Small Business Centre, Tourism and Product Development, Immigration, and Arts and Culture economic development, and strategies to which we generate money to pay for all of it.
On February 11 I made a notice of motion for this committee to be approved as a committee of council. This is suggested to be a committee of 3 council seats with the Mayor Ex-Officio, and suggested that there be an open call, immediately, for 4 public seats and 1 seat for the Chamber of Commerce. I believe that, as the voice of business, it is important that the Chamber represent the majority of businesses in the city, and that they be engaged for monthly surveys on Belleville City Business advice and input to city economic development. I also believe it is very important that this committee be made up of more community than elected officials as I believe we have some incredible local business leaders who would be invaluable to the committee as we plan for Belleville’s growth.