February 20, 2014 – Oshawa Mayor John Henry kept a focus on the positive developments in the past year in his annual address to the over 200 business leaders in attendance at the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce annual Mayor’s State of the City Address. The event, hosted by BMO Bank of Montreal for the 22nd consecutive year, was held February 20 the Quality Hotel & Conference Centre.
The Mayor began his address by announcing that, on March 8, 2014, Oshawa will celebrate its 90th Anniversary as a “City” and thanked local businesses and business leaders for their valuable contributions to the local economy.“Oshawa’s strong business community has been integral to the growth and expansion of Oshawa,” said Mayor Henry. “Thanks to the many years of support and investment of our local businesses, Oshawa has matured from its humble automotive beginnings to an emerging leader in key economic sectors and to a world-class city poised for continued growth.”
Mayor Henry noted that Oshawa is in transition, and taking advantage of every new growth opportunity in emerging sectors noting the City launched an Economic Development Sector Analysis and Cluster Development Strategy.
Mayor Henry highlighted economic development opportunities in each of Oshawa’s existing and emerging economic sectors: Advanced Manufacturing; Health and Bioscience; Energy Generation; Multi-Modal Transportation and Logistics; and Information Technology.
Companies have invested in Oshawa’s Information & Communication Tech sector as Oshawa offers a well-established fibre network that is conducive to the development of local Information Tech industry. Oshawa is a regional hub for health technologies production, education and service because of institutions such as Lakeridge Health, LHEARN, Oshawa Clinic and the Taunton Surgical Centre.
Another emerging sector is Multi-Modal Transportation. The Mayor noted the City’s ongoing support for the continued development of the Port of Oshawa as an economic engine for Oshawa and Durham Region. He also noted that Oshawa’s location provides timely and efficient connections to eastern Ontario, Quebec and the maritime provinces and this connectivity has attracted businesses specializing in product warehousing and distribution centres, to logistics and manufacturing support.
On an International level the City of Oshawa has signed a Friendship Agreement with Luoyang of China and a Memorandum of Understanding with Rizhao of China.
The address focused on Oshawa’s promising prosperous future made possible through the support of local businesses, community partnerships and new investment opportunities.
In terms of positive economic signs, he mentioned the Rice Group expansion project at Adelaide and Ritson currently underway and future projects on the books of Metal Traders International, Del Monte, Holiday Inn Express and Convention Centre, the Quality Hotel & Conference Centre renovation transitioning it to The Courtyard by Marriott as well as proposed residential projects.
Mayor Henry thanked the City staff for its hard work on the City’s 2014 budget and their efforts to bring in a budget that maintains all base 2013 levels of programs as well as addressing inflationary increases including increased contributions to reserves to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the City.
“I am extremely proud of the progress we have made together this year,” said Mayor Henry. “I look forward to another amazing year and collectively, to our continued success and growth.”
In closing, with the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto and with Oshawa hosting boxing and weightlifting, he encouraged the business community to get involved as it is expected that 38,000 spectators will be at the GM Centre contributing close to $10 million to the local economy over the eight days.
Click here to download Mayor Henry’s complete Year-in-Review report.