December 19, 2018
We asked 10 senior thought-leaders in the Saskatoon Region one question:
Other than waiting for resource prices to rise, what can Saskatoon do to grow the local economy?
And here are their answers:
“Make sure our labour pool is ready when opportunities present…Indigenous, technical, programmers, etc….people are our #1 resource!”
“Creating a business friendly climate needs to be more of a priority – we have 4-5% property tax increases, a new waste utility, a “temporary” flood protection levy, a new storm water retention levy for new and existing construction and we have 61 new civic positions. Many businesses are under continued assault as a result of trade and tax policy in an environment that is increasingly competitive. As profits erode, investment dollars will look for more fertile ground. We need to attract investment not discourage it.”
“We need to continue to fund programs that promote diversification in the economy (i.e. science and tech) but also continue to develop programs/incentives for existing players to increase productivity to ensure competitiveness (i.e. tax abatement).”
“We need to ensure we have procurement policies that support the economic growth and well being of our bricks and mortar Saskatoon companies and our growing Indigenous demographic from a corporate and people perspective. Not tokenism but meaningful, significant and value based procurement policies.”
“We need to ask why not more often than we ask why. For example, why not build taller buildings in Saskatoon?”
“Driving new export revenues and increased investment into Saskatoon is an obvious answer – the trick is how to generate it. We need a common platform to capture and share information on business leaders that are visiting Saskatoon (whether that be for conventions, speaking engagements, board meetings, tourism, etc.) and create a hosting program that exposes these leaders to diverse opportunities for investment and growth that exist in Saskatoon.”
“Remove red tape, no more addition of more government regulations and let businesses do what they do best – build our city and build our province.”
“Ensure that taxes are competitive with other jurisdictions. The city needs to stay in sync with the economy as a whole. Adding 60FTE in a soft market and raising taxes while businesses are experiencing slow or no growth doesn’t help attract or retain businesses.”
“Make the downtown entertainment complex (rink) and convention centre the top priority. Building the BRT system before the destination is complete or even finalized is putting the cart before the horse. BRT will not experience high ridership without a destination.”
As we move into 2019, one thing is clear – Saskatoon is at a pivotal time where we have the opportunity to get it right through innovation, diversification and working together.