While things aren’t great; business is being done in the Region – not for profits getting a leg up as well.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  December 19, 2011  –  The Halton Region Community Investment Fund wants to hear from the not for profit community on how to revise the fund to best meet the needs of non-profit programs and the residents they serve. The consultations will also explore other strategies to help agencies respond to community needs.

If you are involved with a non-profit organization or community group that provides community health and social service programs in Halton, Halton Region would like your input on Halton Region’s Community Investment Fund.

The HRCIF funds non-profit programs that address key community health and social service needs in Halton. In January 2012, the Region will be holding consultations throughout Halton to determine “We value the important work being done in Halton by the non-profit sector and have committed resources in the Citizens’ Priorities – Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan to support those efforts,” said Regional Chair Gary Carr.  “I encourage individuals who work or volunteer in the non-profit sector to be a part of the conversation about the future of the Halton Region Community Investment Fund.”

Community consultations about the investment fund have been scheduled as follows:

 Burlington – January 19, 2012, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., De Groote School of Business (Ron Joyce Centre, 4350 South Service Road)

MASS LBP, a Canadian advisory firm that specializes in community engagement, is coordinating and facilitating the consultation sessions. To register for a community consultation in your community contact Mass LBP at 1-888-377-2739 or register online at www.halton.ca/investmentfund.

While the non-profit sector is important, the health of the private sector is vital to the community and Halton has done reasonably well.  Construction, which is the industry the Region follows closest, looked like this:

New houses in the Alton community on the North side of Dundas added to the construction industry numbers for the 3Q of 2011.

Construction industry:

Halton’s total value of new construction and expansions declined during the 3rd quarter of 2011 from the same period in 2010, falling 23% to just over $381 million.  The decreases in construction values was seen across the industrial, institutional and residential categories, whereas the commercial category saw an increase from the same period in 2010.  The major non-residential project that got underway during the 3rd quarter was Phase 1 of the Joshua Creek Corporate Centre in Oakville, where permits were issued for three office buildings totaling 120,000 sq.ft. and a combined construction value of over $14.5 million.  There were no notable industrial permits issued during the quarter.

Overall, there were 1,734 building permits issued in Halton during the 3rd quarter, which represents an 18% decline from the same period in 2010.  Residential permits accounted for 58% of all building permits issued and 14% were Industrial, Commercial or Institutional (ICI) permits.

Halton’s industrial vacancy rates during the 3rd quarter of 2011 dropped 5.8%, while vacancy rates in the office market rose slightly to 14.2%.  At the same time, there was negative absorption in both Halton’s industrial market (-86,506 sq.ft.) and office market (-15,910 sq.ft.).  This contributed to slight declines in both industrial and office net rental rates in Burlington and Oakville, while industrial rates in Milton rose marginally.

Economic Conditions

Ontario’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined 0.3% in the 2nd quarter of 2011, following seven consecutive quarterly gains.  Production by goods-producing industries fell 1.0%, while services-production industries edged down 0.2%.  Production declined in the manufacturing, finance and retail trade sectors, while utilities and construction posted the highest gains.  Meanwhile, business investment on plant and machinery continued to trend upward, rising 4.9% during the 2nd quarter.

Employment in Ontario was also up over 12,000 in September 2011.  Over the past 12 months, employment in the province increased over 135,000 (+2.0%), the majority of which was full-time work. The provincial unemployment rate climbed 0.1 percentage points in September to 7.6%.

Federal government Stimulus Funding, announced by signs like this wherever the governmenet spent any money, made a significant contribution to the Regional economy. Is a second wave of Stimulus funding needed or can we just weather out the coming economic uncertainty?

Halton’s economic conditions weakened during the 3rd quarter of 2011 from the same period last year, halting the substantial market rebounds observed throughout the post-recessionary period of 2009 and 2010.  Construction activity in Halton fell by 23%.  The industrial sector posted the highest losses, with a decrease of 81% over 2010.  Institutional investments also deceased (-39%) as federal and provincial infrastructure stimulus funding wound down.

In the residential sector, development activity dropped 12%, however, Halton’s resale housing market remained strong with a reported 23% increase in sales listings and 41% decrease in the number of days listings were staying on the market longer on average.  Housing prices rose 12% over the same period in 2010, reaching just over $515,000 on average.

The labour market in Halton also weakened slightly during the 3rd quarter with the region’s unemployment rate rising to 6.6% from 5.0% during the same period in 2010.  However, this was an improvement on the 7.2% unemployment rate recorded in the 2nd quarter of 2011.  The number of residents participating in the labour force decreased from a rate of 77.0% in 2010 to 74.9% in 2011.

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