BUSINESS BACKS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
FORT ERIE, November 27 2002 - Food giant Rich Products does a much better job at making cookies than dealing with government regulations. And that´s reason enough for the Town of Fort Erie to continue to support the work of the Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corporation, the company´s president Howard Rich told council Monday night.
Rich was one of a half dozen delegates who appeared before council to praise the work of the EDTC and laud changes made during a year of restructuring since general manager Jim Thibert took the agency´s helm in the fall of 2001.
" There is a need in town for an advocate for business," said Nick Strombula, vice-president of marketing and business development for Rich Product´s Canadian operations. He said the EDTC was instrumental in convincing the company to award a $15-million expansion to the company´s Fort Erie operation and played an important role in securing $3-million in provincial funding for the project.
The decision meant 40 new manufacturing jobs for Fort Erie and job security for another 220 workers at the Hagey Street plant. Fort Erie was competing with several other facilities in the United States for the work.
Strombula likened competition for industrial expansion projects among jurisdictions to a "war zone," where municipalities fight to get the attention of large corporations. "You have an excellent leader and team that´s going into battle for you everyday," he said.
• Other accomplishments - Claude Pilato, vice-chairman o the EDTC, noted include:
• the establishment of the Creditors Interchange, creating 100 jobs;
• the sale of the former Horton CBI plant, which allowed the town to recoup about $400,000 in owed taxes;
• creation of a developer´s round table and the creation of committees for the gaming and festivals industries; and
• a major study of U.S. investment in Fort Erie and potential for future growth by reaching out to the town´s seasonal residents.
The EDTC is schedule to make its 2003 budget presentation to council on December 4.