Lowes Distribution Centre Opens Up In Milton

Here we grow again!   Here is the link to the story in the Milton Canadian Champion!  Great news for the Greater Milton Area (GMA)!

Halton Region and the Town of Milton welcome Lowe’s Canada’s Distribution Centre

Halton Region and the Town of Milton were on hand for a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday to celebrate the start of construction of Lowe’s Canada’s Distribution Centre at 3333 James Snow Parkway (West of Hwy. 25) in Milton.”We are pleased that Lowe’s Canada has chosen Halton as the home of its new Canadian Distribution Centre,” said Gary Carr. “Businesses continue to locate in Halton for two key reasons – quality infrastructure and high quality of life. These attributes are attractive to both skilled professionals and the companies they work for.”

The new 626,000 sq. ft. Canadian Distribution Centre is expected to provide more than 500 full and part-time jobs plus local construction jobs. Lowe’s Canada has entered into a long-term arrangement at the Milton site and has the capacity to expand the Distribution Centre by an additional 175,000 sq.ft.

Milton Mayor and Regional Councillor Gord Krantz welcomed the company’s new investment in Milton, noting “the addition of Lowe’s Canada to our business community will benefit Milton through assessment growth and new jobs created locally. A balance of residential and non-residential development is important for a stable and prosperous local economy.”

Founded in 1946, Lowe’s Link to external site has grown from a small hardware store in North Carolina to a Fortune 50 company with thousands of employees – the second largest home improvement retailer worldwide.

For more information, dial 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at www.halton.ca or Milton’s economic development site at www.milton.ca Link to external site.

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Media Contacts:

John Davidson, Director, Economic Development, Halton Region 905-825-6000, ext. 7828 

Andrew Siltala, Senior Manager, Economic Development, Town of Milton 905-878-7252, ext. 2103

Regional Councillors Debate Development Charges

Here is an interesting article from Christina Commisso from the Champion.

Councillors debate DC issue

Corporate welfare or a tax grab?

Regional council was divided yesterday on the issue of charging business owners a development charge (DC) to convert their space from a non-retail to a retail use.

The issue was a sticking point for business improvement associations that said the hefty fee, which would amount to tens of thousands of dollars, would hurt small, family-run businesses in Halton’s downtowns.

For example, a 2,500 square-foot office, which paid DCs when it was built, that’s converted to a retail use would face a $24,000 DC.

The Region has said generally retail operations generate more traffic and wear and tear on the roads in justifying the charge.

In its 2012 development charges update, the Region agreed to wave the fee for businesses under 3,000 square-feet in the interest of economic development. However, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton called the move “corporate welfare” and asked that all businesses, regardless of size, pay the fee.

His motion was supported by most of Oakville’s councillors and Regional Chair Gary Carr, but failed after being widely criticized by the majority of Halton’s 21-member council.

“This is not welfare. Honestly, if you vote for this amendment you’re stealing money from people. Let’s find out who the thieves are,” said Halton Hills Councillor Jane Fogal. “This (conversion) amount is small to Halton Region but big for the mom and pop operations.”

Added Burlington Councillor Marianne Meed Ward, “Let’s see who is in favour of a tax grab and who is against economic development and small business owners, who are residents and taxpayers as well.”

Not all were convinced that the fee for small businesses should be waved.

“Retail, when it’s converted from an industrial or office use, it creates more demand and use of our transportation infrastructure. There is a cost, it’s not free,” said Oakville Councillor Tom Adams. “We’re talking about money that will come out of the taxpayers pocket eventually for the benefit of two or three developers. That’s the exact definition of corporate welfare.”

Fogal asked if businesses who convert from a retail operation to non-retail would receive some sort of refund on the development charges previously paid, however staff said that move would create uncertainty in terms of regional revenue.

The conversion fee was part of Halton’s 2012 development charges update, which was passed by council.

Currently non-residential DCs — office space, retail and industrial — are grouped together. The updated DCs, which come into effect September, separates retail and non-retail business into two separate categories with retail DCs increasing by 52 per cent and the non-retail charge decreasing by 25 per cent for Greenfield development. 

What would you ask them?

Next week will be my first AMO (Associations of Municipalities of Ontario)Conference.  Its going to be held in London this year and goes from Sunday August 21st to Wednesday the 24th.

The conference is designed for municipal leaders from all over the province to meet and discuss issues and share knowledge and resources to help come up with solutions to problems.  There’s going to be roughly 1600 politicians running around London (sounds scary doesn’t it 🙂 ) for those days and I’m personally looking forward to a number of events that will be happening over the course of the conference.

Most importantly to me is some of the meetings that have been scheduled with provincial representatives by Regional Chair Gary Carr and ministers in the Province of Ontario.  I along with other Milton & Halton councillors will be attending these meetings.  This will provide us with an opportunity to speak directly with those ministers, mainly the Minister of Health Deb Matthews and Minister of Infrastructure Bob Chiarelli.  If those names sound familiar, you must have been reading my blog on a regular basis. 

These ministers are two of the key decision makers when it comes to getting a green light for the Milton Hospital expansion.  There have been meetings in the past, of course with no firm date or timeframe given to us, but hopefully we can “twist their arms” slightly in getting something done.  It is no secret in Milton that the expansion of the Milton District Hospital is “THE” issue in town.  

Week after week, organization after organization holds events in support of MDHF and the importance of supporting our local hospital.  Thousands of dollars has been raised for the foundation and even more will come with future events.

Regional Councillor Colin Best wrote a letter to the ministers via the Milton Canadian Champion recently outlining our concerns once again with the lack of detail in their latest “capital project projections”

If there is one issue that everyone in Milton can unite behind its the hospital.  We as elected officials in Milton have to keep up the pressure.  Its been well documented on my site about the efforts of the  Friends of Milton Hospital a few years ago and most recently the Grow Milton Hospital campaign and the numbers of signatures that have been collected and delivered to the Province of Ontario letting our voices be heard that we need that expansion to start now.

Unofficially the Town of Milton is over 90,000 in population with 100,000 in our sights.  The hospital continues to be under intense pressure to be able to deliver the health care services that Milton needs.  Beds are in short number, the nurses and doctors are doing their best but without the facilities needed to serve a growing population, it runs the risk of a disaster happening.

I’m hoping at this meeting, myself along with other Milton and Halton councillors can convince these provincial ministers (it IS a provincial election year mind you) to get off the fence and approve the expansion of Milton’s hospital.   There will also be opportunities to speak with the provincial party leaders as well during this conference (Dalton Mcguinty, Tim Hudak, Andrea Horvath) and rest assure I will be “badgering” them as well over the course of the four days.

If you have any comments or questions you would like me to pass on to the Health Minister and Minister of Infrastructure, please email me mike@mikecluett.ca and I will ask them directly when we meet with them.