St. Catharines mayor Walter Sendzik delivered his annual state of the city address on Jan. 26 to an audience of more than 500 at an event hosted by the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC).
The mayor’s presentation highlighted many of the accomplishments of local businesses, entrepreneurs and investors over the past year.
Continuing a tradition started at his first annual address, Sendzik presented ‘Team St. Catharines’ awards to three local businesses for their positive contributions to the city.
Local manufacturing firm Haver & Boecker was recognized as a ‘Legacy Leader’ while development firm Penn Terra and downtown restaurant N’ata Cosa were each recognized as ‘Future Leaders’.
“By all measures 2016 was a year of growth and change for our city and there is much more to come,” Sendzik said. “The real estate numbers, construction projects and stories of entrepreneurs and investors show that together with our business community, we are putting St. Catharines on the map as a great place to live, work and invest.”
Sendzik also provided a look ahead at key priorities including a plan for integrated, user- focused transit service for the region, preparing for daily GO train service and redevelopment sites across the city.
The mayor announced that the Shickluna hydro generating station, a long-delayed project by St. Catharines Hydro, is no longer a viable investment. In the best interests of the city and hydro rate payers, the green energy project will be cancelled and funds will be reinvested into city programs and services.
Sendzik spoke about the local real estate boom and growing demand for affordable housing when he announced a new housing action plan.
“There is no denying that growth in real estate and property values reflect positively on our community, but also creates pressure on homeowners, renters and families,” he said. “We have to make sure that St. Catharines continues to be an affordable place to live. I am committed to ending homelessness in St. Catharines – not pushing more people into the margins. Through a new housing action plan I will work together with regional partners, private developers and non-profits and find creative tools and incentives to create attractive and affordable housing that meets our growing and changing needs.”
The City of St. Catharines economic development office also launched a new promotional video shining a spotlight on the diversity of local businesses and new investments that are the cornerstone of a renewed St. Catharines. Below is the video from www.investinstc.ca.
Brian York, director of economic development and government relations, commented on the video’s message about a growing and changing city.
“Our city has undergone significant change in a relatively short period of time. Those that think they know St. Catharines, are often surprised to learn just how different today’s really is. Both the private and public sectors are contributing to our community’s renaissance and we want to encourage everyone to help get the word out about all the good things that are happening in St. Catharines and the opportunities here.”