Southwestern Ontario town optimistic about post pandemic growth

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Truth be told, times have been a bit tough. With an extended economic shutdown and a phased in re-opening, everyone is feeling the effects of the pandemic. However, despite calamities from economic recessions, wars and famine to flu epidemics, studies show that humans are by nature optimistic.  

As we move forward with a brighter outlook for the future, we know that the events of the past months will likely change how we think and how we conduct business. Moving forward towards a recovery from the pandemic, there are indications that we will see an increasing focus on bringing manufacturing back to Canada and supporting locally-made.  

Forward-thinking business leaders are already planning their next steps.  Southwestern Ontario, which is the Industrial Heartland of Canada, is poised to offer prime building locations to suit these arising post-pandemic business locale needs. The Town of Tillsonburg, located in the centre of Southwestern Ontario, is particularly optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead as we emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown.

“We expect continued growth and development coming out of COVID as companies set their sights on locating or relocating within Canada,” says Cephas Panschow, Development Commissioner for the Town of Tillsonburg. “The uncertainty surrounding the supply and movement of goods arising from COVID has made some leaders wary of foreign investment and consequently, we anticipate increased development in the Industrial Heartland, both near and long term.”

There are many features site selectors consider when choosing locations, including ease of transportation. “Tillsonburg offers easy access to highways 401, 402 and 403,” says Panschow. “Toronto is a two-hour drive away as are three major border crossings.   Plus, international flights are available as close as the London, the Region of Waterloo  and Toronto Pearson International airports. 

“Our community has low industrial land prices, no industrial development charges and low property taxes,” adds Panschow. “Operating costs are also lower in Tillsonburg thanks to our independently-owned utility company.”

Over 17,000 people call Tillsonburg home, choosing the town for the relaxed hometown feel and in-town employment opportunities. Construction in Tillsonburg remains strong in 2020 thanks to a hot residential home market for the area and a variety of policies and programs designed to attract residential, commercial and industrial investment. Business in the community grew last year, adding 25 new businesses, ranging from specialty retail in the downtown core to a new food processing facility.

“Tillsonburg has an ‘open-for-business’ mindset,” says Mayor Stephen Molnar. “Our community has a track record of building teams to help develop solutions that are mutually beneficial”, he adds.  “Further, we have strong relationships with regional economic development agencies as well as the Federal and Provincial Governments, which helps ensure that companies investing in our community are able to access additional opportunities to grow”.  

Currently there are a variety of industrial properties available for purchase within the town. Receiving abundant attention is the town’s 37 acre Van Norman Innovation Park, located on the south side of Highway 3, offering serviced industrial land from three to 30 acres, with prices starting at $50,000/acre.

Thousands of vehicles pass the site daily and available amenities include access to gigabit broadband, as well as water, sewer, hydro and natural gas service.

“No one can predict the future” concludes Panschow. “However, we are encouraged by increasing interest we are seeing from developers, both here and within Oxford County as a whole.”

Tillsonburg welcomes inquires on available land opportunities. Interested parties are invited to contact Cephas Panschow at 519-688-5651 or visit www.tillsonburg.ca/invest

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