Baiting the hook for foreign bucks: Town of CBS hopes foreign investment plan will boost revenues

By Chris Lewis   |   Vol. 32 No. 2 (March 27 2019)

The Town of Conception Bay South is preparing itself for foreign companies to make their mark in the town.

Ward 1 councillor Darrin Bent raised the topic by noting Global Affairs Canada is making funding available for communities that want to develop strategic plans to attract foreign investment.

The funding falls under the Invest Canada Community Initiative which aims to utilise foreign investment to create jobs in Canadian communities by supporting innovation and increasing exports.

“What it is, is a part of the Town of CBS’ investment attraction profile, and community profile,” Bent said. “It’s to improve and expand those so that we’re ready, as a town, in the event that foreign investors come knocking on our doors. There’s different hurdles, of course, if you’re from out of country and trying to set up and invest and this initiative, with Global Affairs Canada, gives our economic development staff the resources, the education, and the ability to effectively and efficiently deal with inquiries from foreign investors.”

The funding offered by the federal department amounts to $12,250. The Town of CBS is expected to match it dollar for dollar, bring the total investment in the plan and training to $24.500.

After the meeting, Bent explained that Conception Bay South is open to investment from virtually anywhere, and that foreign investments can play a key role in expanding the commercial base. That would allow Conception Bay South to achieve the level of tax revenue it needs to do some of the things it hopes to do in the future, he added.

“Right now, our residents pretty well foot most of the bill because our commercial base is so small,” Bent said. “And to put ourselves in the best position to be able to respond to all investment opportunities that come our way, we felt that taking advantage of this 50-50 cost-shared money was a good move. It puts us in a great position to deal with any inquiries that may come along.”

The Town’s share of the money has already been budgeted, Bent said, so council is not in a position of having to scrape together the necessary money.

“We’ve sort of taken on the persona that we’re open for business, and that means we have to be ready for business,” Bent said.

“We’ve seen it in neighbouring communities – foreign companies being set up that are dealing with the demand by industries like local supplies and the offshore. We’re part of a global market and we have to be ready… Let’s look next door to Paradise, and let’s look up to Mount Pearl. They have investors from companies from all over the world that have set up in their industrial parks – those companies come in here, and they invest money here, because they believe they’ve got a market for their product here. By doing so, they employ local people and they pay tax dollars into the coffers of local municipalities to help them fund all kinds of projects within their communities.”

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