Burlington Mayor greets Apeldoorn Mayor - both sign an Expression of Interest - which means?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 1st, 2016


Not quite sure what this means but the Mayors of Burlington, Ontario and Apeldoorn, Holland signed an Expression of Interest today at Burlington City Hall to promote economic development opportunities between the two cities.

In a media release city hall said an Expression of Interest focuses on advancing potential partnerships in three specific areas, including:

• Clean technology sector development;
• Trade partnerships;
• an exchange program for post-secondary students.

The word that matters here is “potential” for that is about all we have seen in terms of new development in the city.

The Burlington Economic Development Corporation will lead discussions on behalf of the City of Burlington.

Mayor Goldring and Mayor Berends

Apeldoorn Mayor John Berends and Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring “expressing an interest” in each other

Mayor Goldring said: “Based on conversations during our visit to Apeldoorn last spring, as well as meetings this week, we have agreed on three specific areas of opportunity we are looking to pursue. Apeldoorn is a natural economic partner due to our twinning agreement, as well as its prominent clean technology sector as it relates to Burlington’s Community Energy Plan.”

The Mayor went on to say that: “Today’s signing furthers the twinning agreement established between the cities of Apeldoorn, the Netherlands and Burlington, Canada on May 6, 2005. The twinning agreement states that the cities will explore economic development and new business opportunities.”

And that is about all the two cities have been able to do “explore”.

“Apeldoorn is interested in furthering business with Burlington,” said Mayor John Berends. “Several of our companies are interested in Canadian partnerships, especially in a city like Burlington where we have already established a good working relationship.”

There has been some relationship development between Apeldoorn and Burlington but just at a mid-management staff level. Rob Peachey, Manager Parks & Open Space in the Capital Works Department, was part of the delegation that went to Holland to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Holland and he said at that time that he expected to exchange ideas and processes with his peers in Holland, particularly as it related to parks and recreation.

Holland is a country where bicycles are a large part of the movement of people. Burlington is still struggling to get to the point where bicycles are more than a form of weekend recreation.

Palladium Way property

The Economic Development Corporation shows land that is vacant and for sale. New Regional Court House is to be built on part of the property.

Burlington’s Economic Development Corporation hasn’t had much in the way of real economic development to report on – they list future conferences on their web site and, we stand to be corrected, but there hasn’t been a new business of any size or significance brought to the city since the BEDC was reorganized and new management out in place.

Fresh Insights Consulting was created to do some market research for the local business community by MBA students from McMaster University and that operation appears to percolate nicely.

If the objectives and targets in the much touted Strategic Plan are to be met there is going to have to be something significant happen  in the next 25 years, which is the length of the dream contained in that document.

Both the Economic Development Corporation and the city’s Strategic Plan appear to be pretty well reflected in the image on the BEC web site – lots of colour but pretty confusing looking.

BEDC art from web site

Image on the Economic Development corporation web site, while colourful, is confusing – reflecting that state of economic development in the city. Has there been any?

The development taking place in Burlington is residential – with million dollar condos on Lakeshore Road and small residential on Fairview next to the GO station – plus the ADI development on Dundas and Sutton.

The ADI development on Lakeshore and Martha street is still being actively marketed and still working to get through the Ontario Municipal Board hearing that is due to come up for air sometime in June.

Hard to see where those high-tech, high paying jobs are going to come from – if they do arrive – there should be a places for people to live.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.