St. Catharines, Niagara, ON (Nov. 12, 2021)
Protecting employment lands, while allowing room for appropriate new housing, is feasible and compatible.
In achieving this, Niagara must also have a balanced approach to protecting job-generating employment land for industry — a valuable resource, as developable land in the region becomes increasingly scarce.
That was a key message delivered on Wednesday by Kevin Jacobi, a director on the Board of the Niagara Industrial Association and Chair of its Government and Community Relations Committee.
Jacobi spoke on behalf of the NIA, to a Niagara Region Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee meeting. The NIA adds its voice, he said, in supporting a Niagara Region staff recommendation to maintain employment land zoning, for all seven areas currently under discussion.
The NIA itself is an advocate for Niagara manufacturers, with 245 members employing 8,200 people and generating annual revenues of $1.3 billion.
Jacobi told Committee members that the region, with its gateway location and expanded intermodal access to rail, road and water, needs the support of employment lands to attract diverse manufacturing and related business. These businesses — part of a centre of excellence supported by Niagara College and Brock University — provide a prosperity base for the region in higher-paying manufacturing jobs and municipal tax base.
The NIA also appreciates the need for housing, he added in his presentation, noting it’s easier to attract workers and their families, if they can live near where they work.
“We support affordable housing programs and density intensification in our municipalities,” Jacobi said. “However, this should not be at the expense of properly-services lands to allow the resources for people to buy a home.”
Commenting afterward, Jacobi said he sees the NIA’s role in matters like the Committee presentation, as partnering “both to people who put themselves forward in leading our communities, as well as staff who offer experience and insight to these efforts.
“If we want a better future for Niagara, we all have to step up and be part of the conversation.”
NIA Board Chair Don Cyr notes that opportunities are often associated with challenges.
“Niagara’s projected population growth is a welcome opportunity,” Cyr said, also commenting after the presentation.
“However, it also creates challenges for our elected representatives in determining the critical balance between the natural environment, agriculture, residential and employment or industrial lands.
Said Cyr: “The NIA recognizes this challenge and welcomes the opportunity, in collaboration with our Chambers of Commerce, in promoting the retention of suitable employment lands in Niagara — providing for needed well-paying jobs and the economic health and growth of the Region.”
For more information, please contact: Sophia De Luca
Operations Manager, Niagara Industrial Association
About the Niagara Industrial Association: The Niagara Industrial Association (NIA) is an industry-focused organization that advocates on behalf of local industry, promotes local industry, addresses the issues that inhibit the advancement of local industry. The NIA also pursues business development opportunities in a collaborative manner with business and government partners to facilitate new opportunity for our members.