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2018 Council

Vote Bill Manners

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Nanaimo and the Tech Sector

Hey, did you see the story on CHEK?  The one about Victoria's expanding tech sector?  Greater Victoria's growing tech sector has economic impact of over $5 billion, study says.  Great story!  Way to go Victoria!

But did you ask yourself, 'Why couldn't that be Nanaimo?'

It could be.  But there's a problem.  I'll let a friend of mine explain it to you:

“A few years ago I was the GM of a high tech company located in Sidney BC and commuting every couple of days from Nanaimo.

The company was growing and was also being courted by government agencies in New York State, Tennessee and Colorado offering things free rent, relocation expenses, reduced taxes, employee hiring assistance and various other incentives.

As the GM and the face of the business, and frankly the guy that ran the whole show, I did not want to go to the states, but preferred to relocate the business to Nanaimo. I showed the ownership and Board of Directors (BoD) the Nanaimo Economic Development web site and got the OK to investigate relocation possibilities and any incentives that Nanaimo might offer.

I made contact with Nanaimo Ec Dev Corp and asked if they could help me impress the ownership and BoD as this could bring several well paid ($60K - $70K) jobs and more in the future. After being kept waiting a couple of weeks and having to bug the Ec Dev office I finally received only a copy of the first two of pages cut and pasted from the web site. Not one new piece of information and no incentives. (my italics) In fact the business owners were so unhappy with the poor effort they canned my plans immediately. The company has remained in Sidney but has expanded to several other locations.”

How does that make you feel?  A little angry at the lack of initiative shown by the Nanaimo Economic Development Office?  A little disappointed that we missed out on those jobs?

Me too.  It also makes me concerned for the future of Nanaimo.  We cannot be the city of malls, the shopping Mecca of Vancouver Island anymore.  Those jobs are on the verge of disappearing.  Cashiers are being replaced by automated checkouts.  Stock clerks are being replaced by robots with AI.  And knowledgeable sales associates are being replaced by online customer reviews.

Our existing workforce is being replaced by tech.  But the jobs creating that tech are in Victoria.

Nanaimo needs people on city council who are willing to go after those tech jobs on behalf of residents.  I wish to build up our Economic Development Office so that we don't lose anymore opportunities like the one my friend related above.

On October 20, vote Bill Manners.

 

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