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King Chamber holds AGM, elects its new board      By Mark Pavilons

THE WEEKLY SENTINEL - Thursday, February 28, 2019

Steady membership gives the King Chamber of Commerce a mandate to continue to advocate on behalf of local business.

The Chamber’s role was reaffirmed last week, during its AGM. Members gathered at the King municipal complex for a networking time, followed by a tour of the facility.

President Tom Allen, who was once again voted in to lead the group, (CORRECTION Tom Allen has not been voted in as President, elections have not taken place at this time) asked members to let the board know what matters most. Members are encouraged to be engaged and actually help the Chamber drive forward.

Making things exciting this year will be the federal election.

Some economists note it’s been 10 years since the last recession, and one is overdue. Allen said he’s not convinced the economy is fragile, but rather seems to be robust. He also asked local businesses to let the Chamber know if they’re feeling any signs of an economic slowdown.

One member wanted to know where the majority of revenue for the Chamber comes from, and how this can be increased. Allen said it’s the membership fees that carry the Chamber. A steady number of roughly 150 members provides the funds needed to operate. He said most of the events the Chamber puts on are on a break-even basis. He did point out that there’s a sub-committee, led by Zach Shoub of London Publishing, that’s trying to drive membership.

“I’d like to see us grow,” Allen said, “to improve the cash flow. But  steady is good.”

The Chamber is also constantly trying to get people and businesses connected throughout the township.

Another major role is that of business advocate. The group has credibility in its lobbying and advocacy roles, given its strong membership.

One member wanted to know about the opportunities for cross-promotion, and getting some visibility on the Chamber’s and King’s websites. Allen said business openings and similar events can be put on the website. Someone wanted to know about posting help wanted ads on it, too.

Allen said it’s never come up in the past, but is something to look into. Allen said there’s nothing wrong with promoting local opportunities to local workers.

Jamie Smyth, King’s economic development officer, said he does send out e-blasts about business events. He’s happy to join forces with the Chamber and local businesses to promote them any way he can.

The board said goodbye to a few members, and welcomed new ones. Leaving the board were Rose Dodaro, Margarida Ramoa D’Alfonsi, Tara McCarthy and Rob Payne.

Joining the board for 2019 are David Cross, Brian Speers, David Huckvale. Huckvale, of The Country Day School, said he’s been at the school for 10 years and is also a King resident. He wanted to join the Chamber because CDS is a proud member of the community and often gives back as well. “We benefit from a successful township,” he pointed out.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KING CHAMBER OF COMMERCE –STATEMENT ON PROPOSED                         “OPEN FOR BUSINESS” BY-LAW PROVISIONS IN BILL 66 

King Township, THURSDAY JANUARY 10. 2019

In December of 2018 the Ontario Provincial Government introduced draft legislation, the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018 (“Bill 66”). This omnibus legislation is being proposed for the express purpose of reducing regulatory burdens and cutting “red-tape” for businesses seeking to enter or expand in Ontario, creating new jobs and much needed economic development of Ontario’s industrial base.

One key facet of the proposed legislation is an amendment to the Planning Act that, if passed, will allow local municipalities to enact “Open For Business” (“OFB”) by-laws. Any such proposed by-law is to be subject to approval by the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Essentially, where a local municipality can establish that there is significant potential for relatively large scale commercial/industrial development creating a significant number of new jobs in the community, it can use its own by-laws and planning processes to fast-track the project approval process by by-passing certain existing regulatory requirements.

The King Chamber of Commerce (“KCC”) is the “Voice of Business” in King Township. The KCC represents over 150 small, medium and large sized businesses in King Township, and has done so as the united voice of businesses in King Township for over a decade.

The KCC supports the OFB by-law provisions being proposed in Bill 66. The proposed provisions do not require Council to act, nor can an OFB by-law be enacted without ministerial approval. Rather, Bill 66 empowers Local Council, acting reasonably, with an important planning tool to attract, secure and facilitate significant economic development opportunities and much needed job growth in King.

It is also important to emphasize that the Planning Act amendments proposed in Bill 66 apply exclusively to commercial/industrial, and not to residential, development opportunities. All of the existing rules and regulations, municipal, regional and provincial, pertaining to proposed residential development, will continue to apply.

As many are aware, King Township faces a significant existing “jobs deficit” and is definitely not on track to meet the preferred Growth Scenario of 16,000 jobs (i.e. 8755 new jobs representing a 120% increase in total employment) in King by 2041 contained in King’s approved Economic Development Strategy Plan (for further information please see attached the KCC’s previous Statement on Economic Development in King and link to King Township’s approved Economic Development Strategy Update (2018-22) http://www.king.ca/Government/Departments/Economic%20Development/Publications/Documents/Economic%20Development%20Strategy%20Update%20-%20FINAL.pdf ).

In King Township opportunities for relatively large-scale industrial and economic development and the creation of new well-paying jobs for King already exist, in both the near term and foreseeable future. For example, in the near term there may be an opportunity to attract Toromont to develop the strategically located land it presently owns at Hwy 400 and King Road. In future, there may also be opportunities to develop the strategically located lands at both Hwy 400 and Aurora Road and Hwy 400 and Davis Drive. 

The strategic location of these employment lands contiguous to interchanges on Hwy 400 provides King Township with a unique opportunity take advantage of infrastructure investments being made by higher levels of government. Further, development of the employment lands at the Hwy 400 interchanges would not, in our view, impair the movement of goods and people through our municipality in any material way and such development aligns closely with the recommendations contained in King Township’s Economic Development Strategy Update (2018-22).

If Bill 66 is enacted, all three of these land parcels could potentially be the subject of a request by Council to the Province for approval of an OFB by-law. We are confident that Council would only do so after public consultation and after carefully balancing the potential for economic development and jobs creation with the potential impacts on issues like the environment, character of the community and quality of life (e.g. increased traffic) in King.

In summary, the King Chamber’s view is that the OFB by-laws envisioned by the Bill 66 proposals enhance the potential for future economic development and quality jobs creation in King Township while ensuring that Council maintains local control over all important issues surrounding economic development, land use planning and environmental stewardship. 

What, we say, is wrong with that?

Tom Allen 

President, King Chamber of Commerce


King Chamber of Commerce - Box 381 Schomberg, L0G 1T0                        Administrator- Helen Neville         905-717-7199            info@kingchamber.ca               

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