Corporate leaders have told municipal staff and councillors how to better do business in the County of Brant.
More than 100 people attended the 11th annual Salute to Brant Business at the Brant Sports Complex on Wednesday night.
“This gives us an opportunity to hear the opinions and comments of our commercial and industrial partners,” Brant Mayor Ron Eddy said. “We must be inclusive and obtain the views and comments of our partners.”
Garth Pottruff of Grand River Rafting Company said the County of Brant offers the right mix of natural and commercial features to grow economic development through the tourism industry.
“I believe that Paris on the Grand River can be like Niagara-on-the-Lake,” Pottruff said. “It has amazing potential. People love to come to small towns like Paris, walk around and go to small stores.
“We have a little piece of Europe here.”
David Johnston, the county’s general manager of economic development and strategic investments, said roundtable and panel discussions held during Thursday’s event helped let the county know how to better reach out to the business community.
“The discussions are centered on gathering ideas and suggestions to improve the county’s services to the business community and how we can improve our ability to attract new business to the county,” Johnston said.
Swift commercial development in the county’s Brant 403 Business Park, located at Rest Acres Road and Highway 403, was made possible because Brant councillors took a risk by moving to buy and service the 171-acre site, Johnston said.
“It was hotly debated at the time,” Johnston said. “But without serviced industrial land you can talk about economic development, but it just won’t happen. We are fairly well complete in servicing it now.”
The county recently sold more than 80 acres on the site to Adidas. The company plans to build a massive distribution facility in the new business park and close its existing facility on Adams Boulevard in Brantford once the new facility is up and running sometime after the fall of 2014.
The County of Brant recently set up its own economic development website at www.investinbrant.ca. Business owners considering a move to the county can learn more about the municipality’s bylaws, its existing key industries and view an industrial directory.
Michael Buranyi, business development officer with the County of Brant, said it is important to establish new professional relationships between the private and public sectors.
“We need to show that economic development is out there and we have formed positive relationships with our business community,” Buranyi said. “This is a great socializing and networking event that allows us to strengthen existing relationships and develop new ones.”