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Published on Friday, May 26, 2017

Town meeting economic targets

Oakville attracts new jobs, commercial development

Town meeting economic targets
Town hitting its targets
Council meeting received 2016 economic development annual report
By Nathan Howes, Oakville Beaver

Several companies opened their doors in Oakville in 2016, helping it exceed its target of adding 1,000 new jobs every year.

The Town of Oakville is also expected to surpass the goal next year once Aviva Canada, a property and casualty insurance group, consolidates its operations in January 2018 with a new office, expected to bring approximately 800 jobs to Oakville.

The findings were highlighted in an April 25 economic development report, presented to and approved by council on Monday, May 15.

The document provided council with an update on 2016 economic activity, competitive positioning and departmental initiatives.

Some of the new companies that opened in Oakville last year were MMM, a WSP company (engineering firm), Pusateris (grocery retailer), Dave and Busters (entertainment), Paladion (cybersecurity), Zeton (advanced manufacturing of pilot plants), Lifting Gear Hire (equipment rental) and Skyhawk (telematics firm).

Many existing companies in town expanded their operations last year, including Alphora Research (pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing), Laker Energy Products Ltd. (material and component manufacturing for nuclear and energy industries), Geotab (telematics), NVT Phybridge (switch technology), Indellient (software development), Promation (nuclear engineering and manufacturing) and Kingsway Soft (data integration software).

The town staff report also includes statistics on significant non-residential development projects, a real estate market overview, new and expanding businesses, building permit activity and Oakville’s competitive position on land values, development charges and tax rates.

Competitive position

Attracting new investment and expanding the existing business community is key for the town’s vision to become the most livable town in Canada, according to the report.

Oakville’s current companies provide job opportunities, generate tax revenue and act as “positive corporate citizens, all of which contribute to Oakville’s high quality of life.”

One of the economic development department’s initiatives is to track Oakville’s competitive position for attracting new business investment.

Its analysis focuses on three major variables that impact investment decisions — land values, development charges and property tax rates.

The 2016 data continues to indicate the town is well-positioned to compete for and attract new office and commercial development, while remaining less competitive to attract new industrial development, relative to other Greater Toronto Area (GTA) communities.

Oakville’s building permit values for new construction reflect its ability to strongly compete in the office development market.

Non-residential building permits

In 2016, the top 10 non-residential building permits were a mix of commercial, industrial and institutional projects.

These projects were valued at more than $183 million, significantly higher than the total value ($54.3 million) of the top 10 permits issued in 2015.

In 2016, the largest permits issued were for the new Halton regional police headquarters, a six-storey office building at 360 Oakville Place Dr., and the new ErinoakKids centre.

The Halton police headquarters and ErinoakKids centre are well into development and are expected to open in fall 2017 and late fall/early 2018, respectively.

2016 tax rates

GTA municipalities, including Oakville, reduced their industrial and office/non-retail tax rates in 2016.

At 2.942 per cent, the town’s industrial tax rate ranked 12th out of 18 GTA municipalities and was higher than the GTA average of 2.820 per cent, according to the report.

The office/non-retail rate, however, ranks sixth lowest in the GTA at 1.801 per cent and is below the GTA average of 2.107 per cent.

Real estate market overview

Oakville’s industrial inventory has remained steady at 18.1 million square feet, as limited industrial product has been constructed in Oakville in recent years.

Oakville’s office market inventory continued to grow in 2016 reaching 3.8 million square feet, up from 3.1 million square feet in late 2015.

Vacancy rates have increased year-over-year with the addition of new supply into the market.

Areas of focus in 2017

In addition to the regular programs for business retention and investment attraction in 2017, the following work will be undertaken:

• Completion of the Brownfield Redevelopment Strategy.

• A detailed mitigation plan will be developed for the Lakeshore Road Streetscape Project, in consultation with the Downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA) and various town departments.

• Analysis and recommendations for the interim use of the former post office site will be completed.

• A Doing Business with China forum is being planned for the fall in conjunction with area municipalities and Halton Region.

• Staff will organize the town’s hospitality tent at the Canadian Open and participate on the co-ordinating committee with Golf Canada.

• Staff will work with other departments to co-ordinate a one-window approach for filming in Oakville.

• Various marketing initiatives will be undertaken including the development of videos to showcase Oakville’s value proposition.

• Application for federal funding will be made to offset the costs of a new Town of Oakville Economic Development Strategy. The study, including stakeholder consultation, will commence in 2018 and replace the current 10-year Economic Development Strategy (2009-2019).
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News

Tags: Property Tax , Growth , Ford Canada , Economic Development , Oakville Town Council

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