Mayor says building economy and attracting business to St. Catharines are city’s top priorities for Council and community partners
On Jan. 30, Mayor Walter Sendzik delivered his first State of the City address, hosted by the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.
The focus of Sendzik’s address was the city’s economy and how St. Catharines can attract more businesses to its downtown core by encouraging local entrepreneurs.
Since the recession of 2008, St. Catharines has struggled with a sluggish economy. The mayor said he is determined to get City Council and others in the community working together to address the city’s economic challenges.
The mayor emphasized that if St. Catharines is to recover its economic footing, revitalizing the economy and moving forward depends greatly on the city’s untapped entrepreneurial potential and policies that will bring business to the city.
Sendzik believes that City Council, its business partners and the community must work together in developing innovative and competitive solutions to attract greater private sector investment.
St. Catharines needs it. The city has struggled to recover from the recession that devastated much of its manufacturing base.
It’s largely the reason why the unemployment rate hovers consistently near 10 per cent and why the median total family income is the lowest in the entire province.
While the address was used to emphasize the mayor’s economic priorities, the highlight was the launch of a new annual rewards program to recognize rising local entrepreneurs and outstanding business achievement in St. Catharines.
Three companies were given rewards. Phantom Compass, a video game developer; Ting Mobile, a telecommunications business; and Algoma Central Corporation, a shipping company, each received business achievement awards from the mayor.
“It’s one more way to shine a light on businesses and the people that make St. Catharines successful. But it is also a way to say ‘thank you’ to businesses that believe in our community and choose to invest and reinvest here,” said Mayor Sendzik.
Phantom Compass was founded in 2008 and has proved itself in an extremely competitive market. Its premier game is Rollers of the Realm but is also known for titles such as Dionysian Dream, Guardians Evolution, and Prank Party.
Ting Mobile is a company that purchases network access from other mobile companies and in turn sells it to consumers. People who sign up with Ting pay only for what they use. The company was founded in 2012 by Elliot Noss, a graduate of the University of Toronto and University of Western Ontario.
Algoma Central Corporation has been in business for more than one hundred years. The company was dounded in 1899 in Sault Ste. Marie. It got its start in the railroad business and since then has expanded its operations significantly. Today the company has more than 1,400 employees operating in commercial real estate, ocean shipping, dry-bulk, and product tankers.
“These businesses set the foundation for our local economy and should be recognized for the role they play in generating prosperity for others in our city,” said Sendzik.
The program is called ‘Future Leaders/Legacy Leaders’ and will give out annual rewards to a number of different companies across the city, including start-up ventures, well-established companies and new companies that decide to come to St. Catharines to do business. The awards will be given each year at the Mayor’s State of the City address.
Phantom Compass and Ting Mobile received the Future Leader award while Algoma Central received the Legacy Leader award.
“With the monumental changes and efforts being taken to revitalize downtown St. Catharines … [this] shows how far St. Catharines has come, but also shows the incredible potential we can tap into in creating new entrepreneurs,” said Sendzik.