In late December the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce participated in a meeting of the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area Chamber of Commerce to hear a presentation by Bruce McCuaig, President and CEO of Metrolinx on its plans for the Big Move. The meeting was hosted by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in Toronto. The discussion was informative and fruitful and a good start to what is seen as a productive relationship between Metrolinx, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the business community in Ontario.
Business agrees that a strong, efficient, integrated transportation network is integral to the future competitiveness of the region. Along with the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, 12 other Chambers from Hamilton, Burlington, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Mississauga, Markham, Oakville, Halton Hills, Toronto, Ajax/Pickering, Markham and Dufferin signed on to the OCC letter sent to Metrolinx on January 11th stating the GTHA Chambers strongly believe transportation infrastructure investments are vital to economic growth and productivity, particularly in light of the uncertainty facing the Ontario economy.
“The Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce has always been proactive on the transportation file and supports Metrolinx as it moves forward with developing and building political will and public support for an investment strategy,” stated Bob Malcolmson, Chamber CEO, “and act as an interface between Metrolinx and the GTA business community.”
On Monday, March 5th The Durham Economic Prosperity Committee of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, in co-operation with the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA), is hosting an International Leaders Breakfast with Mr. McCuaig as the keynote speaker. The breakfast is designed to inform the Durham business community on the role of Metrolinx in Durham Region’s prosperity. Click here [PDF] to download the registration form.
“We are happy to share information with the Durham Region business community and to help Metrolinx engage with them,” stated Geoff Michie, President of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, “and anything Metrolinx can do with our support to help facilitate a cultural shift towards transit, would also be helpful.”
Congestion results in lost trade opportunities, jeopardizes employee recruitment and retention and limits economic development. In the letter to Mr. McCuaig, the Chambers noted that they supported the plan and understand the need for new revenue sources to fund the $36 billion shortfall to move the plan forward. The Chambers outlined some features that, from a business perspective, would need to be part of any investment plan for the Big Move. They included transparency, dedicated funding, revenue tools, wage restraint, alternative funding, use of private sector and most definitely community engagement.
“It will be important for Metrolinx to ensure that each GTA community understands what the ‘win’ will be for them,” stated Len Crispino, OCC President, adding “this could be an opportunity for Metrolinx to work with chambers to inform them of the status and relevancy of projects and build support at the local level.”