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A look at our economy from community business leaders

Rose
Rose

The Western Star contacted several community businesses leaders in the area for a quick chat on the 2016 as well as the year ahead.

Here's a look at some of what they had to say:

 

Robust year for Bay St. George

 

 

When it came to business and commerce, Tom Rose, president of the Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce, said 2016 was a busy year for the area.

 

Q. What type of activity in your area during 2016 that made things busy for businesses?

Rose: Emera and all the sub-contractors associated with the Maritime Link project created an awful lot of demand for supplies and services for businesses in the region.

 

Q. What types of benefits came about from specific projects in 2016?

Rose: From an infrastructure and a regional perspective, there have been great benefits to our airport and port operations because of this project as Emera has offices at Stephenville airport, along with storage and rental properties. Also, it has resulted in an increase in passenger movements with Provincial Airlines.

 

Q. Now that 2016 is behind us, do you see any positives in relation to business activity this year?

Rose: I’m anticipating a busy and active 2017 because of several announcements already made and the continuation of the Emera project. One of them is the more than $18 million that will have a start in being spent this year on the creation of the Centre of Excellence for Heavy Equipment Operator and Skilled Trades at College of the North Atlantic. The other is the $6 million expansion to the Northern Harvest Smolt operation. Both will create new jobs and further opportunities for local businesses to supply goods and services.

 

Q. Do you see any growth in tourism in your area for 2017?

Rose: This year will be the second year of the American Cultural Tourism product development. As that gets rolled out it will increase tourism visitors from within and outside the province.

 

Q. Are there any renewable energy possibilities for you area this year?

Rose: If legislation changes immediately allowing companies to sell renewable energy to the grid, then Beothuk Energy Inc. wind energy project will have a significant impact on Stephenville, its port and its airport.

 

Tourism, airport traffic increases helped

 

 

DEER LAKE

Terrilynn Robbins, administrator with the Deer Lake Chamber of Commerce, said 2016 was a busy year for the community and most businesses did well.

Robbins said more traffic at the airport trickles down to benefits for all the industries and businesses that support it.

 

Q. What type of activity in your area during 2016 made things busy for businesses?

Robbins: The airport traffic played a huge role. When the Alberta fires took place there was a fear of a traffic slowdown because of less people commuting back and forth but during the summer more tourists offset what the airport and community missed from the Alberta money.

 

Q. What types of benefits came about from specific projects in 2016?

Robbins: There was an increase in workers traveling back and forth to work at the Muskrat Falls project and local businesses definitely benefitted from that.

 

Q. Now that 2016 is behind us, do you see any positives in relation to business activity this year?

Robbins: Yeah, I see no reason why the trend won’t continue, especially as it relates to workers traveling back and forth to Muskrat Falls in 2017.

 

Q. Do you see any growth in tourism in your area for 2017?

Robbins: Absolutely. The numbers for accommodations operators are already looking good, including conferences and bus tours. They’re getting off to a good start. Deer Lake considers itself the snowmobile hub of Newfoundland and Labrador and we’ve been building on that continually for a number of years and are starting to see the benefits now.

 

Q. Are there any renewable energy possibilities for your area this year?

Robbins: Not absolutely positive on that right now, at least none that I’m willing to discuss at this time. I will say that I expect the Humber Valley will be seeing some great things happening during 2017.

 

Challenging year for small, medium size businesses

 

Corner Brook and area was not immune to the effects of the spring provincial budget with small and medium size business feeling the results of increase gas tax and sales tax, says Sheldon Peddle, president the Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade.

Peddle said this forced local consumers to tighten their belts and businesses had to follow in line.

 

Q. What type of activity in your area during 2016 made things busy for businesses?

Peddle: As a result of tightening budgets we saw more people vacation in the province (stay-cationers) which despite an economic slowdown resulted in Deer Lake airport having its busiest year yet. A report in MoneySense magazine indicated the City of Corner Brook is not a good place to do business and the good news is it forced people to sit up and take notice with our board of trade pushing the city to try and reduce red tape and speed up decision making.

 

Q. What types of benefits came about from specific projects in 2016?

Peddle: Our board of directors has put in place a priority to grow membership, so a new category for students and emerging entrepreneurs was put in place waiving a fee for the first year. New people will bring new ideas.

 

Q. Now that 2016 is behind us, do you see any positives in relation to business activity this year?

Peddle: Our board of trade made a submission to the City of Corner Brook with 24 recommendations on lessening the load on local businesses. Part of the consultation through the budget process reflected on the past five years and we asked businesses their forward outlook. They see the status quo or expansion, so there is optimism out there.

 

Q. Do you see any growth in tourism in your area for 2017?

Peddle: Our board of trade runs the tourism information centre with a status quo in 2016 or possibly a small decline, so we’re looking at expanding hours and modernizing so better services are available to visitors with events listings, Parks Canada passes and things like salmon licences. We want local traffic as well and we’ll advocate for a levy on tourism-related businesses that will be a dedicated fund for the tourism market.

 

Q. Are there any renewable energy possibilities for you area this year?

Peddle: Beothuk Energy Inc. and partner Copenhagen Investors have been generating interest in their wind energy project, which could be big for our region and we will continue to provide support on that project. But we’re looking at other opportunities, such as canola production and supporting the smaller Ma and Pa businesses.

 

 

Provincial economy, fiscal situation took its toll: Parsons

 

 

The year 2016 was a challenging one with the provincial economy and fiscal situation taking a toll on everyone.

That’s according to Jim Parsons, chair of the board of directors of the Corner Brook Downtown Business Association.

He said he has heard that a lot of businesses under the umbrella of the association are suffering and luckily there hasn’t been an extreme number of closures.

 

Q. What type of activity in your area during 2016 made things busy for businesses?

Parsons: There were some bright spots overall as it was a good tourism season and Christmas business was brisker than perhaps expected. Prior to June, when the harmonized sales tax change was implemented, some retailers and contractors did good business as people wanted to get things done before the increase in tax was implemented. Overall, spending was a concern.

 

Q. What types of benefits came about from specific projects in 2016?

Parsons: There was some activity at the port in Corner Brook, but nothing major happening in Downtown Corner Brook.

 

Q. Now that 2016 is behind us, do you see any positives in relation to business activity this year?

Parsons: It is going to be a rough road for the next number of months, so it’s very important for the City of Corner Brook and partners to come up with some kind of an economic strategy to assist existing businesses and find ways to expand. In the downtown we are looking forward to a major infrastructure project for revitalization. It will involve about $1.5 million worth of work on green space development, signage and pocket parks. However, that doesn’t solve the short term problems our businesses might face.

 

Q. Do you see any growth in tourism in your area for 2017?

Parsons: Last year was a banner year for tourism in the province but we’re still not punching to our weight in this sector in Corner Brook. We need to take advantage of tourism projects and work with our partners to come up with a solid tourism plan.

 

Q. Are there any renewable energy possibilities for you area this year?

Parsons: There has been a lot of talk about wind energy, but given the realities of Muskrat Falls, I’m not counting on any new wind energy projects happening soon. I don’t see enough detail on it at this time and locally there’s not enough market for it. It would be great for Beothuk Energy Inc. to move ahead with it and I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong, but I think we need to concentrate on expanding and holding the businesses we have here.

 

 

No complaints about slow business in 2016

 

 

A first in a long memory Stephenville Downtown Day in late July was a highlight of what Ian Stokes called an excellent year in 2016 in the town.

The president of the Downtown Stephenville Business Improvement Association said feedback from citizens and storeowners was that it was a phenomenal success and now they're looking at making it an annual event.

 

Q. What type of activity in your area during 2016 that made things busy for businesses?

Stokes: I never received any complaints about business in downtown Stephenville being slow and I believe the ongoing Maritime Link Project by Emera is contributing greatly with restaurants and supply companies all doing well because of the contractors in the area.

 

Q. What types of benefits came about from specific projects in 2016?

Stokes: The benefits from the work at the Port Harmon Industrial Facility early in the year and Maritime Link Project throughout the year had a cycle effect in the community with spinoff felt at downtown businesses from gas bars, restaurants, night clubs to furniture stores.

 

Q. Now that 2016 is behind us, do you see any positives in relation to business activity this year?

Stokes: Yes, the Stephenville Downtown Business Improvement Association is actually looking at continuing improvement projects in 2017 by extending its lighting project from Main Street towards Prince Rupert Drive.

 

Q. Do you see any growth in tourism in your area for 2017?

Stokes: Yes, the Stephenville Cultural Destination Committee have taken a lead role in this and assisted the business improvement association in its first Downtown Day last year. We look forward to dealing with this great committee in the future.

 

Q. Are there any renewable energy possibilities for you area this year?

Stokes: I’m aware that both Jet-Age Wind Inc. and Beothuk Energy Wind Inc. are both active in the area; however, I’m not aware of how close Beothuk is to actually setting up yet, but hopefully it will become a reality sometime in the near future. The last I heard was that Jet-Age was still in the developmental of its product.

Here's a look at some of what they had to say:

 

Robust year for Bay St. George

 

 

When it came to business and commerce, Tom Rose, president of the Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce, said 2016 was a busy year for the area.

 

Q. What type of activity in your area during 2016 that made things busy for businesses?

Rose: Emera and all the sub-contractors associated with the Maritime Link project created an awful lot of demand for supplies and services for businesses in the region.

 

Q. What types of benefits came about from specific projects in 2016?

Rose: From an infrastructure and a regional perspective, there have been great benefits to our airport and port operations because of this project as Emera has offices at Stephenville airport, along with storage and rental properties. Also, it has resulted in an increase in passenger movements with Provincial Airlines.

 

Q. Now that 2016 is behind us, do you see any positives in relation to business activity this year?

Rose: I’m anticipating a busy and active 2017 because of several announcements already made and the continuation of the Emera project. One of them is the more than $18 million that will have a start in being spent this year on the creation of the Centre of Excellence for Heavy Equipment Operator and Skilled Trades at College of the North Atlantic. The other is the $6 million expansion to the Northern Harvest Smolt operation. Both will create new jobs and further opportunities for local businesses to supply goods and services.

 

Q. Do you see any growth in tourism in your area for 2017?

Rose: This year will be the second year of the American Cultural Tourism product development. As that gets rolled out it will increase tourism visitors from within and outside the province.

 

Q. Are there any renewable energy possibilities for you area this year?

Rose: If legislation changes immediately allowing companies to sell renewable energy to the grid, then Beothuk Energy Inc. wind energy project will have a significant impact on Stephenville, its port and its airport.

 

Tourism, airport traffic increases helped

 

 

DEER LAKE

Terrilynn Robbins, administrator with the Deer Lake Chamber of Commerce, said 2016 was a busy year for the community and most businesses did well.

Robbins said more traffic at the airport trickles down to benefits for all the industries and businesses that support it.

 

Q. What type of activity in your area during 2016 made things busy for businesses?

Robbins: The airport traffic played a huge role. When the Alberta fires took place there was a fear of a traffic slowdown because of less people commuting back and forth but during the summer more tourists offset what the airport and community missed from the Alberta money.

 

Q. What types of benefits came about from specific projects in 2016?

Robbins: There was an increase in workers traveling back and forth to work at the Muskrat Falls project and local businesses definitely benefitted from that.

 

Q. Now that 2016 is behind us, do you see any positives in relation to business activity this year?

Robbins: Yeah, I see no reason why the trend won’t continue, especially as it relates to workers traveling back and forth to Muskrat Falls in 2017.

 

Q. Do you see any growth in tourism in your area for 2017?

Robbins: Absolutely. The numbers for accommodations operators are already looking good, including conferences and bus tours. They’re getting off to a good start. Deer Lake considers itself the snowmobile hub of Newfoundland and Labrador and we’ve been building on that continually for a number of years and are starting to see the benefits now.

 

Q. Are there any renewable energy possibilities for your area this year?

Robbins: Not absolutely positive on that right now, at least none that I’m willing to discuss at this time. I will say that I expect the Humber Valley will be seeing some great things happening during 2017.

 

Challenging year for small, medium size businesses

 

Corner Brook and area was not immune to the effects of the spring provincial budget with small and medium size business feeling the results of increase gas tax and sales tax, says Sheldon Peddle, president the Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade.

Peddle said this forced local consumers to tighten their belts and businesses had to follow in line.

 

Q. What type of activity in your area during 2016 made things busy for businesses?

Peddle: As a result of tightening budgets we saw more people vacation in the province (stay-cationers) which despite an economic slowdown resulted in Deer Lake airport having its busiest year yet. A report in MoneySense magazine indicated the City of Corner Brook is not a good place to do business and the good news is it forced people to sit up and take notice with our board of trade pushing the city to try and reduce red tape and speed up decision making.

 

Q. What types of benefits came about from specific projects in 2016?

Peddle: Our board of directors has put in place a priority to grow membership, so a new category for students and emerging entrepreneurs was put in place waiving a fee for the first year. New people will bring new ideas.

 

Q. Now that 2016 is behind us, do you see any positives in relation to business activity this year?

Peddle: Our board of trade made a submission to the City of Corner Brook with 24 recommendations on lessening the load on local businesses. Part of the consultation through the budget process reflected on the past five years and we asked businesses their forward outlook. They see the status quo or expansion, so there is optimism out there.

 

Q. Do you see any growth in tourism in your area for 2017?

Peddle: Our board of trade runs the tourism information centre with a status quo in 2016 or possibly a small decline, so we’re looking at expanding hours and modernizing so better services are available to visitors with events listings, Parks Canada passes and things like salmon licences. We want local traffic as well and we’ll advocate for a levy on tourism-related businesses that will be a dedicated fund for the tourism market.

 

Q. Are there any renewable energy possibilities for you area this year?

Peddle: Beothuk Energy Inc. and partner Copenhagen Investors have been generating interest in their wind energy project, which could be big for our region and we will continue to provide support on that project. But we’re looking at other opportunities, such as canola production and supporting the smaller Ma and Pa businesses.

 

 

Provincial economy, fiscal situation took its toll: Parsons

 

 

The year 2016 was a challenging one with the provincial economy and fiscal situation taking a toll on everyone.

That’s according to Jim Parsons, chair of the board of directors of the Corner Brook Downtown Business Association.

He said he has heard that a lot of businesses under the umbrella of the association are suffering and luckily there hasn’t been an extreme number of closures.

 

Q. What type of activity in your area during 2016 made things busy for businesses?

Parsons: There were some bright spots overall as it was a good tourism season and Christmas business was brisker than perhaps expected. Prior to June, when the harmonized sales tax change was implemented, some retailers and contractors did good business as people wanted to get things done before the increase in tax was implemented. Overall, spending was a concern.

 

Q. What types of benefits came about from specific projects in 2016?

Parsons: There was some activity at the port in Corner Brook, but nothing major happening in Downtown Corner Brook.

 

Q. Now that 2016 is behind us, do you see any positives in relation to business activity this year?

Parsons: It is going to be a rough road for the next number of months, so it’s very important for the City of Corner Brook and partners to come up with some kind of an economic strategy to assist existing businesses and find ways to expand. In the downtown we are looking forward to a major infrastructure project for revitalization. It will involve about $1.5 million worth of work on green space development, signage and pocket parks. However, that doesn’t solve the short term problems our businesses might face.

 

Q. Do you see any growth in tourism in your area for 2017?

Parsons: Last year was a banner year for tourism in the province but we’re still not punching to our weight in this sector in Corner Brook. We need to take advantage of tourism projects and work with our partners to come up with a solid tourism plan.

 

Q. Are there any renewable energy possibilities for you area this year?

Parsons: There has been a lot of talk about wind energy, but given the realities of Muskrat Falls, I’m not counting on any new wind energy projects happening soon. I don’t see enough detail on it at this time and locally there’s not enough market for it. It would be great for Beothuk Energy Inc. to move ahead with it and I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong, but I think we need to concentrate on expanding and holding the businesses we have here.

 

 

No complaints about slow business in 2016

 

 

A first in a long memory Stephenville Downtown Day in late July was a highlight of what Ian Stokes called an excellent year in 2016 in the town.

The president of the Downtown Stephenville Business Improvement Association said feedback from citizens and storeowners was that it was a phenomenal success and now they're looking at making it an annual event.

 

Q. What type of activity in your area during 2016 that made things busy for businesses?

Stokes: I never received any complaints about business in downtown Stephenville being slow and I believe the ongoing Maritime Link Project by Emera is contributing greatly with restaurants and supply companies all doing well because of the contractors in the area.

 

Q. What types of benefits came about from specific projects in 2016?

Stokes: The benefits from the work at the Port Harmon Industrial Facility early in the year and Maritime Link Project throughout the year had a cycle effect in the community with spinoff felt at downtown businesses from gas bars, restaurants, night clubs to furniture stores.

 

Q. Now that 2016 is behind us, do you see any positives in relation to business activity this year?

Stokes: Yes, the Stephenville Downtown Business Improvement Association is actually looking at continuing improvement projects in 2017 by extending its lighting project from Main Street towards Prince Rupert Drive.

 

Q. Do you see any growth in tourism in your area for 2017?

Stokes: Yes, the Stephenville Cultural Destination Committee have taken a lead role in this and assisted the business improvement association in its first Downtown Day last year. We look forward to dealing with this great committee in the future.

 

Q. Are there any renewable energy possibilities for you area this year?

Stokes: I’m aware that both Jet-Age Wind Inc. and Beothuk Energy Wind Inc. are both active in the area; however, I’m not aware of how close Beothuk is to actually setting up yet, but hopefully it will become a reality sometime in the near future. The last I heard was that Jet-Age was still in the developmental of its product.

Robbins
Peddle
Parsons
Stokes

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