Mayor Talks Of Breaking Away From Peel Region; Gives ‘State Of City’ Address At ICCC
By Bala Menon
MISSISSAUGA: The City of Mississauga is on the cusp of massive growth in the coming years because of its investments in innovation and “we are ready for tomorrow, whatever it may hold,” Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie declared on Monday (March 18).
Delivering her 2019 State of the City Address at the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC), Crombie said: “We are strengthening our foundations to build Mississauga for our future generations.”
Today, Mississauga has become a magnetic city, attracting the finest talent from across the world and “I am proud to say that we have more than 750 companies working at the cutting edge of innovation and making us into the premiere innovation hub in Canada,” Crombie said.
The main focus of the City would be on promoting investments in advanced manufacturing, agri-tech industries, hydrogenics, biosciences etc where breakthrough technologies are being developed. “I sell Mississauga. I am its Ambassador. We are a City in demand.” she said. Already, “we are a city that has more businesses per capita than any other city in Canada.”
One discordant note in an otherwise gripping presentation about her plans for Mississauga was the proposal to break away from the Peel Region to become a stand-alone city. Crombie said Mississauga was contributing much more than needed for the development of Brampton and Caledon and she wanted those funds to be invested in Mississauga.
(She also issued a written statement this week saying: “I have been clear for a while that it’s time to re-evaluate Mississauga’s relationship with the Region of Peel and whether or not it makes financial sense for our city. It’s time for Mississauga to be able to control its own destiny.”)
On Wednesday, her motion on breaking away from Peel won the support of Mississauga city council. It might not be easy going for Crombie, however. There are several issues like the Peel Regional Police – an acclaimed police force that would be difficult to split and other regional issues like waste management and transit to be considered.
Brampton’s Mayor Patrick Brown pointed out that his city was growing at almost three times that of Mississauga and if Mississauga were to go alone on its way, it would have a “significant debt” to pay to Brampton. He also said that “Brampton for years has helped subsidize Mississauga’s infrastructure,” citing Mississauga’s water treatment centre and regional roads.
During the ICCC address, she was mostly gung-ho about her city: “Mississauga will inspire the world as a dynamic, global city bursting with creativity and innovation. A vibrant, safe and inclusive city where we celebrate our rich diversity and cultures. …Mississauga will continue to be a place where people choose to live, work and raise a family and where businesses thrive for generations to come.”
She added: “We are a place where businesses want to invest and innovate”, citing the names of many companies that changed their plans of investing in the US or other Canadian cities to come to Mississauga, “We have the talent pool and great diversity of languages – which combine to make our city the best best.”
Highlights of Mayor Bonnie Crombie’s State of the City Address:
• Mississauga is preparing for the jobs of tomorrow, not the jobs of today;
• City is the second largest employment cluster after Toronto outpacing other GTA cities;
• Mississauga is home to Canada’s largest airport;
• It holds ‘AAA’ credit rating from Standard & Poors (S&P) 15 years in a row;
• City has over 1400 multi-national firms and 91,000 businesses out of which 95% are small businesses;
• 145 languages spoken;
• City is home to 75 Fortune 500 companies and 66 Fortune Global 500 Companies;
• Over 70% of the workforce population have post-secondary education;
• City is well connected by 7 major highways;
• Nearly $55 million in savings of tax dollars over the past decade
• City will have 900,000 people as compared with 800, 000 at present.
The city is now developing 250 acres of land on the shores of Lake Ontario – a new waterfront community – expected to become an example for Smart cities around the world. Also coming up are around 25 towers within the next five years which will project the futuristic skyline of Mississauga.
“We value the Indo-Canadian relationship,” Crombie said, recollecting her successful trip to India in 2017 as part of an ICCC mission that visited major Indian financial and industrial hubs.
ICCC President Mr. Pramod Goyal welcomed Mayor Crombie and others at the meeting, which also included present and past board members Mr. Abu Becker, Ms. Sunita Vyas, Mr. Rakesh Joshi, Mr. Chirag Shah, Mr. D P Jain, Ms. Asha Luthra, Mr. Harjit Kalsi, Mr. Jagdish Bajaj and Mr. Pappur Shankar.
ICCC Vice President Devika Penekelapati told Mayor Crombie that the ICCC was planning a major event in the next couple of months – the SME Expo that will showcase small Canadian businesses along with workshops and seminars with industry and investment specialists.