John Christie Looking to Return to Council

John Christie

John Christie

Tell us a little about your background and overall platform.

Four years ago, I thought I was retiring from Council permanently. However, I am compelled to try for a return now because I want to help restore openness, transparency, integrity and trust to the Corporation of the City of Owen Sound.

The next council will face many challenges, and the first step in meeting those is to turn the Corporate ship around. Lately it seems that good things still happen here, IN SPITE of Council. I want to help return us to the days when, at least sometimes, good things happen, in part, BECAUSE OF Council.

What do you see as the major issue(s) facing business-owners in Grey-Bruce?

Issues facing Grey-Bruce business owners include:

  • A still-recovering economy.
  • High overhead costs, including labour, utilities and, yes, taxes.
  • Difficulty identifying “niche markets”, and duplication of what already exists. (Do we really need any more Pizza places?).
  • In our downtown, there is a lack of consistency in store hours.
  • Competition from “Big Box” stores.
  • Transportation and Communication shortfalls. There is virtually no public transportation between communities in the region to bring car-less people in and fulfil our role as a regional centre. The lack of rail access to the area rules us out of certain mid-size and larger industrial development. Our WiFi coverage needs upgrades. We are not close to a four-lane highway, so we need to push for an extension of the 410 into the region. And, we need to get the harbour dredged, and maximize our potential as a commercial marine port.

What strategies do you have in mind to stimulate economic growth in the region?

I see Council’s role in stimulating economic growth as a “facilitator”. We need to put as many planks in place as possible to ensure we attract business of all sizes, and encourage development.

The “openness” I mentioned before is an important part of this. I am hearing, for example, that developers and people who would create new business here find our municipal beaucracy difficult to deal with. We need to change that culture.

Openness also applies to new ideas and concepts. We need to “pick the brains” of our more successful businesspeople, find out what we’re doing right, and discover what we might improve. I see all of this as more of a team approach than a personal one.

Do you feel economic growth should focus on bringing in new business developments, or encouraging small businesses presently in operations?

Both.

Do you think local business taxes are should be increased, decreased or maintained at current levels?

In a perfect world, we would all pay lower taxes tomorrow. It is Council’s job, for now, to keep taxes within reason, and to provide value for money in terms of services offered.

In the longer range, there are already initiatives in place to gradually even out business and residential taxes, and this trend should continue. We need to work towards the day when we can all get a break on our taxes through the attraction of new business and development, which will result in new revenue.

Should there be any changes in the services offered to local businesses?

Yes, and the changes should involve eliminating the red tape which seems to frustrate so many in working with the City of Owen Sound.

I myself encountered difficulties in trying to construct a new lawn shed last year. If I found the process that difficult for something so simple, what in the world happens with those who have more involved and detailed plans?

May I also add that I have established a new, small business of my own, and have obtained a Home Occupation Business Licence. Let’s wish each other good luck and good management in our endeavours.

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Business Networking International (BNI) Sound Networking meets Each Wednesday 7:00 – 8:30 AM at Frog Ponds Cafe

Meet local business people and find out how networking is one of the most effective methods for marketing your business.
Visitors are always welcome, just call ahead to let us know you are coming 519-371-2622.

Business Enterprise Centre Workshops

Basics of Bookkeeping (Three part workshop)
Tuesday September 19th and 26th and Tuesday October 3rd, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Business Enterprise Centre Training Room $95 (HST included)
Facilitator: Jane Gallagher
This three part Bookkeeping Workshop will allow you to use the tools and information to confidently understand your financial statements and your own books. Class size is limited to 8 to allow a hands-on, individual learning opportunity for everyone.

Business Enterprise Centre Workshops

How to “Really” Start a Business
Wednesday September 20th, 9:00 am – 11:30 am, Bayshore Community Centre
FREE – Pre-registration is required
Facilitator: Cliff Bilyea
Discover the basic steps involved in starting a business, evaluating your idea, determining your market and basic rules and regulations. Attending the is workshop is mandatory for anyone applying to the Starter Company Plus Program.

Business Enterprise Centre Workshops

Introduction to Quick Books (Two part workshop)
Tuesday October 17th and 24th, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Business Enterprise Centre Training Room, $80 (HST Included)
Instructor: Jane Gallagher
The first session of Quick Books provides participants with an overview and access to a trial version of the program. The second session will be questions and answers to address specific issues. Knowledge of basic bookkeeping principles is required. Limited to 8, you must bring your own laptop. (This workshop does not cover the online version of Quick Books)

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Phone: 519 371 7464
Fax: 519 371 4043
Site: gbbj.biz
Email: editor@gbbj.biz
Address: 954 1st Ave W.
Owen Sound, ON CAN N4K 4K5

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