Shovel ready sites

After a few depressing posts, I’ll get back to the business of economic develpment this morning. I have been tracking a growing trend – particularly in the U.S. – of jurisdictions developing ‘certified’ or ‘shovel ready’ industrial properties for large manufacturing, data centre or other uses. Site Selection magazine calls this “One of the fastest growing trends in the site location business”.

In Ireland, they are taking this further – actually constructing buildings ‘on spec’ as a lure to firms considering that country. PEI did this with the Atlantic Technology Centre – built it without tenants – and now they are having to build a second facility.

I don’t see a lot of that in New Brunswick. I don’t believe are any 200+ acre shovel ready sites just in case a large manufacturing project is looking. I don’t believe the government has invested serious funds into building or upgrading industrial/business parks in a long time. I seem to recall them putting some form of financial guarantee associated with the Greater Fredericton Knowledge Park.

It’s like anything else. You can lead, follow or ignore trends. Shovel ready sites is becoming a top trend in economic development. We can’t get out front of it. We could ignore it. But we would be wiser to follow this trend and have Certified Sites around the province – and then market these sites to potential investors.

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0 Responses to Shovel ready sites

  1. Anonymous says:

    You are referring to the Irish IDA (Industrial Development Authority) model. This has been successful and helps to attract investment. Wasnt there supposed to be an environmental park built in Sussex as part of the Irish resort project that would operate in a similar form except the industries involved would be environmental technology industries?

  2. David Campbell says:

    I am not sure about the environmental park. Maybe someone else can comment.

  3. Anonymous says:

    When I say “wasnt there?” I mean “There was”. It was to house a German waste treatment system manufacturing plant licensed to a St Andrews Company, an organic fertiliser plant, a solar technology plant, an alternate fuel cell research and development plant, a wood pellet manufacturing, processing and export plant and a wood pellet heating furnace manufacturing plant among others.

  4. Malley says:

    I die a little more inside every time I read about something this province has either scared away, or was too scared to go after. That project outside of Sussex had a world of potential, especially seeing as how it was outside of the big three cities….sigh.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Are there any links to those assertions? Don’t mean to rock the boat but this is the internet. Why exactly does a german waste treatment plant need a resort close by? And what kind of waste are we talking about?

  6. Trevor says:

    Unrelated but interesting nonetheless… Hello BNB, pickup the phone and call Microsoft and whomever else is having immigration issues NOW!

    It’s a win-win. We need to attract more immigrants and they need somewhere open to immigration. I wonder if Bill plays hockey???

  7. NB taxpayer says:

    No doubt, Trevor. We could definitely take advantage of this reverse outsourcing trend by Microsoft. (i.e. immigration challenge)

    Unfortunately, the early bird gets the worm when it comes to investment. And that early bird is BC’s Gordon Campbell at the moment as he has reduced the dependency on government when it comes to business incentives and, in turn, has lowered taxes significantly. Enough to counter the years of government dependency by the tax-and-spend NDP of the 90s:

    “However, Mr. Ruffolo said it’s too early to predict that Vancouver will emerge as Canada’s next technology centre. In the 1990s, Microsoft had large development facilities in Vancouver but scaled them back significantly in the latter part of the decade, he said.

    “Is there the population there to support that? The B.C. government is also not well-renowned for providing incentives from a business perspective.”

    He’s refering to the massive pullout by investors which happened at the end of the 90s when the NDP’s spending was out of control and the business environment became unmanageable.

    Furthermore, they will only relocate to regions that have a significant amount of high-tech engineers. At the moment, the United States and Canada are producing relatively few high-tech engineers as India and China still seem to be leading on this front.

    However, BC has made significant strides over the years in their development of the animation, high-tech and gaming industry. Something I have heard you and David speak loudly about for NB. Unfortunately, it sems to have fallen on deaf ears.