October 20, 2014
An Open Letter to Municipal Candidates:
The purpose of this letter is to introduce Progress London to you, to offer our service as a resource, should you be elected, and to advise you of what we are doing to encourage the electorate to make an educated vote on October 27th.
Progress London is a group of organizations that have come together to advocate for job creation and economic growth by providing a balanced perspective on its benefits to the community, media and local government. We are here to help, to inform, to monitor and to remind politicians that they are accountable for both their actions and their promises. These organizations include:
- London Chamber of Commerce;
- Labourers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 1059;
- London & District Concrete Forming Contractors Association;
- London & District Construction Association;
- London & District Construction Trades Council;
- London Development Institute;
- London District Heavy Construction Association;
- London Home Builders’ Association; and
- London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS®.
It is clear from both our internal polling and that of the London Free Press that an overwhelming number of Londoners believe jobs and economic growth are the issues that matter most in this election. Progress London agrees. That is why we have been urging Londoners to research where candidates stand on the following three critical issues:
A robust and high functioning infrastructure. This includes roads, bridges, sewers, water, fibre-optics, and transit. Right now our City’s infrastructure maintenance deficit is $52.1 million; if the status quo is maintained over the next decade that deficit could swell to $488.11 million. If we want jobs and growth, our infrastructure must be up to the task and it’s not going to be cheap.
Which candidates are most able to deal with London’s serious infrastructure issues, now and going forward?
A competitive business climate. A competitive business climate attracts new business and industry to our City and gives existing businesses a reason to continue to operate here. Currently London competes both at home and abroad for business. That means our business / property taxes, our water, sewer, development charges and the efficiency with which licenses and permits are processed must be assets, not detriments. It has been widely reported that London gives the impression that it is not open for business; that impression must be reversed.
Which candidates will work to make London truly “open for business”?
Industrial/commercial/residential growth. Prudently conceived and well-managed growth has enormous benefits for a community. Recently London has lost many of the well paid manufacturing jobs that helped drive the local economy in the past – jobs London must replace if it is to prosper going forward. For example, research by the Altus Group estimates that the average housing sale in Ontario generates approx. $53,000 locally for general household purchases, furniture, appliances, moving costs, renovations, services (financial, legal, real estate, appraisal, survey, other). Home sales also create jobs, not only those required to produce the goods and services purchased by homebuyers, but indirect jobs generated to provide the inputs necessary to produce those goods and services. New builds (homes, industrial and commercial structures) generate significantly more jobs and ancillary spending, plus they create permanent property tax revenues for the City. Industrial and commercial growth also results in new workplaces and the jobs required to operate them plus they increase the City’s tax base.
Which candidates will support the kind of growth — industrial, commercial and residential – that translates into good jobs for Londoners?
In closing, we wish you the best in the upcoming election and stand ready to provide you with information and expertise on matters critical to the wellbeing of our City if you are elected.