How’s Our Economy Look To You?
by Scott A. Sumner
This is the time of the year that historically we have talked about the state of the economy of Northwestern Ontario. I have always enjoyed having a look at what is going on and high liting some major
The Thunder Bay Waterfront continues to develop with a 4 star Delta Hotel well underway. I think it will open late this year and will be a new full service hotel complete with restaurant and large meeting room
space. The views will be exceptional as I have found out being in the area for the last 3 years.
There seems to be lots happening with condominiums in Thunder Bay. The Thunder Bay Country Club project is moving along well and a look at their website shows a very high end elaborate project complete with restaurant, pro shop, outdoor pool and over 100 units that are quite large. Other condo projects are underway on Dawson Road and at the Hillcrest High School facility. The consumer will have many options.
Retail wise I think the Thunder Centre looks to be very prosperous.The recent opening of the new Winners and Home Sense stores have almost utilized all the space on this site. The day of the opening, the traffic was intense in this area. Perhaps consumers like this type of a drive up big box type of store.
Mining has done well in the region especially with the NewGold property near Fort Frances in operation and providing many good paying jobs. There are also good projects in the development stage throughout the region including Marathon,Geraldton and the Red Lake area. Of course we also still have the Ring of Fire project which I think will happen especially after the provincial election is settled and the government
has some stability to move the road access process forward.
Forestry continues on and even with the placement of duties on softwood lumber the companies are doing well. I think the low Canadian dollar definitely helps.
Our local economy of Thunder Bay seems pretty solid. I look at the performance of the airport and passenger traffic as an indicator of the economy.The number of flights per day to Toronto continues to rise to 16 plus and my experience is they are usually quite full.We do have a very government oriented economy with 9 off the 10 top employers government funded. The hospital,university,college,city, federal and provincial lead the way with large, highly paid staff that strengthen our economy.
The Port of Thunder Bay continues to do well with great numbers the last few years and a good start to this season.
I do think the backbone of the local economy comes from small business owners.These entrepreneurs provide the bulk of the jobs in total numbers. You have to hand it to an entrepreneur because they have their financial position at risk and no certain income on a monthly basis. Some of these businesses have been in operation over 100 years which is amazing. I talk to these risk takers all the time and some have had stellar years recently. The number of restaurants here is a prime example of good success.
I’m hoping for good economic times for the Northwestern Ontario region in 2018 and beyond. We have a beautiful area, rich in resources and natural beauty. This is the place to live and opportunities are here to