McGuinty Government Teams With Niagara Region To Support Community Revitalization



    Province Invests $500,000 For Regional Economic Growth

    THOROLD, ON, June 22 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is working with the
Region of Niagara and the Niagara Economic Development Corporation to help the
local economy become more innovative and competitive, Economic Development and
Trade Minister Sandra Pupatello announced today.
    "The Niagara region is a key contributor to Ontario's overall economic
diversity and prosperity," said Pupatello. "With today's announcement, we're
focusing on three areas to enhance Niagara's long-term competitiveness and
encourage increased investments in innovative economic and cultural
revitalization, development of the gateway economic zone, and valuable
regional marketing strategies."
    The Ontario government is matching the $500,000 investment by the Region
of Niagara, municipalities and the Niagara Economic Development Corporation.
The combined $1 million will support four initiatives announced today:

    St. Catharines City Centre Revitalization - An analysis of the economic
opportunities available in downtown and the development of a strategy to
encourage the innovative growth of the city's economic, cultural and academic
sectors.

    Gateway Economic Zone/Gateway Economic Centre - Niagara's close proximity
to the US border presents unique economic advantages for the region and
Ontario. As part of Ontario's Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe,
the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal will work with regional partners
to develop an action plan that will support economic diversity and promote
increased opportunities for cross-border trade, the movement of goods, and
tourism.

    Niagara Region Branding and Marketing Strategy - The Ontario government
will work with Niagara to develop a regional branding and marketing strategy
that will showcase Niagara's competitive advantages and position the region as
a leading business hub. The aim of this initiative is to encourage investments
and spur job creation region-wide.

    Manufacturing Network - Manufacturing is the backbone of Niagara's
economy; however, the sector has gone through a period of transition over the
past decade. Creation of a manufacturing network will bring sector
representatives together to discuss opportunities and develop solutions to the
challenges their industries face.

    "We are extremely pleased that the provincial government and Niagara have
worked so closely together to act upon new initiatives which benefit our
future economy and ability to compete for worldwide investments," said
Regional Chairman, Peter Partington. "This announcement reflects some of the
proposals and ideas put forward in April during Niagara Week at Queen's Park,
and we are very appreciative of the quick provincial response."
    "Niagara is a vital gateway to our largest trading partner - the US,"
said Minister of Public Infrastructure and Renewal, David Caplan. "These
initiatives will help position Niagara as a leading business hub that can meet
the demands of the global marketplace and leverage its location in order to
secure greater investments between Ontario and its US partners."
    "Innovative investments will help Niagara reach the next level," said MPP
for Niagara Falls, Kim Craitor. "Today's investments will encourage
revitalization throughout the region."
    "This is a big step forward for Niagara," said MPP for St. Catharines,
Jim Bradley. "The partnership between Niagara and the provincial government
has been a fundamental catalyst for a positive, tangible change throughout the
region. The plan announced today presents a solid foundation that will support
Niagara's continued growth, competitiveness and prosperity for many years to
come."

    
    This is just one more example of how, working together, Ontarians have
achieved results for Niagara residents. Other initiatives include:

    -   $3 million in 2006 to help small and medium-sized VQA wineries with
        challenges related to the grape short crop in 2005

    -   $12.5 million to support Niagara's Vineland Renaissance project, an
        initiative that is transforming the region into a vital hub for
        horticultural science and innovation by making it a model for
        research facilities and

    -   $45 million joint investment with the federal government to enhance
        the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge at the Niagara crossing

    Disponible en français

                            www.ontariocanada.com


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

               COMMUNITIES IN TRANSITION PROGRAM HELPS NIAGARA
                          BECOME "INVESTMENT READY"
    

    The Ontario government is providing $500,000 in matching funds through
the Communities in Transition program to support four initiatives to help
strengthen the economy of the Niagara Region.
    The Communities in Transition program helps communities in Ontario
attract new investments and retain existing businesses by becoming more
"investment-ready."

    
    The four initiatives are:

    St. Catharines City Centre Revitalization

        Total value of project: $450,000
        Niagara contribution: $200,000
        Provincial contribution: $250,000

    An analysis of the economic opportunities available in downtown St.
Catharines will be carried out and an implementation strategy based on smart
growth and targeted development will be developed to realize economic
opportunities. This work will provide:

    -   A synthesis of economic opportunities and their relationship to a
        broader, comprehensive and integrated strategy for the revitalization
        of downtown St. Catharines
    -   A business case and feasibility study for revitalizing downtown St.
        Catharines and leveraging the Places to Grow Strategy and Urban
        Growth Centre designation
    -   Recommendations for realizing economic opportunity across the region,
        and
    -   Potential models of governance, sustainable financing, and facility
        operations

    Gateway Economic Zone/Gateway Economic Centre

        Total value of project: $300,000
        Niagara contribution: $200,000
        Provincial contribution: $100,000

    The project will develop a plan to take advantage of Niagara's close
proximity to the US border. The plan will support economic diversity and
promote increased opportunities for cross-border trade, the movement of goods,
and tourism. The Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Public Renewal, under
Ontario's Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, will work with
regional partners to identify key locations for strategic investments, support
economic diversity, and promote increased opportunities.
    An action plan for the implementation of the Gateway Economic Zone and
Gateway Economic Centre will be developed.
    The project will provide information to the Region's Growth Management
Strategy process, currently underway. Input will be solicited from a wide
variety of sectors, including: elected officials, economic development
officers, and planning officials from area municipalities; agricultural and
environmental sectors; business groups, tourism associations and the chamber
of commerce; and transportation organizations.
    This project complements investments made by Niagara in the Economic
Impact Analysis of the Niagara to GTA Corridor.

    Niagara Region Branding and Marketing Strategy

        Total value of project: $200,000
        Niagara contribution: $100,000
        Provincial contribution: $100,000

    The Ontario government will work with Niagara to develop a regional
branding and marking strategy that will showcase Niagara's competitive
advantages. This strategy will showcase Niagara's strengths as a vibrant
business community and reposition Niagara as a leading business hub.
     Stakeholders, including the local political and business community, will
be involved in developing this strategy.

    Manufacturing Network

        Total value of project: $50,000
        Niagara contribution: in-kind
        Provincial contribution: $50,000
    

    The primary economic driver of Niagara is manufacturing. There is a
critical need to bring existing manufacturers together in the region, identify
opportunities to do business together, as well as market existing
manufacturing expertise to businesses outside of the region. As part of a
multi-phase plan to strengthen the manufacturing sector, a network will be
created to bring representatives together to discuss opportunities and work
towards finding solutions to the challenges that face their industries.
    This multi-phase program will include establishing a formal or informal
association of manufacturers willing to work together, holding of a trade fair
which will allow companies to identify more potential suppliers and customers,
and continuing the Alberta project to connect existing businesses with Alberta
companies in need of new product supply.

    
    Phil Demont                                   Dave Bauer
    Minister Pupatello's Office                   Communications Branch
    416-325-6706                                  416-325-6998

    Disponible en français

                            www.ontariocanada.com
    





For further information:

For further information: Phil DeMont, Minister Pupatello's Office, (416)
325-6706; Dave Bauer, MEDT Communications Branch, (416) 325-6998; Andrew
Bowles, Executive Assistant to the Regional Chairman, (905) 321-3978

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Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure

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