March 12, 2017
by Michelle Allenburg, The Tribune
In 2016 Welland issued building permits for about $81 million in development.
Gary Long, the city’s CAO, says he saw a great deal of growth in Welland last year, that is reflected in the municipality’s annual report. The growth isn’t limited to an increase in population, but also in industry and development. Last year the city issued about 620 building permits. The construction value of those developments is about $81 million. In the five years previous to 2016, the city issued about 575 building permits.
A number of city-owned lands were sold in 2016, including more than five acres on Prince Charles Drive for residential development of 70 townhouses.
Long says staff anticipate 2017 will be a solid year, especially due to the addition of the General Electric plant on Silverthorn Street in Welland.
GE is scheduled to open in 2018 and will employ about 220 people.
Welland Mayor Frank Campion says growth in development has led to the creation of jobs which will boost Welland’s economy. This increase in funds allows the municipality to invest in services.
“The growth is significant for us because not only does it create those jobs and business opportunities, but also our tax base,” Campion says.
Campion anticipates the growth trend will continue in 2017, but says it will be hard to match 2016 because of the GE plant investment of $240 million.
Campion says the city is seeing a great deal of inquiries with regards to development. He says there are multiple factors that influence people, developers and businesses decision to move to
Campion says the growth has been natural because of a migration from the Greater Toronto Area.
He says Welland offers affordable land and programs, including tax incentives, that draw people to the municipality.
“Once we get the process moving they start building fast. So time is money, there are a lot of factors that come together,” Campion says.
Welland is also an optimal place for growth because of it’s location within Niagara, Campion says.
There are great options for transportation, including trucking, the canal and rail.
Last year, Welland transit had 924,206 trips. Transit is also continuing its partnership with Brock University and Niagara College until 2018.
The municipality has applied for funding from the federal government through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund and will receive $1.5 million. The city will match those funds in order to
improve infrastructure by purchasing new buses and upgrading electronic fare boxes on buses.
To view Welland’s 2016 annual report visit www.welland.ca/HotTopics/AnnualReports/COWAnnualReport2016.pdf