• Mayor's Address- Building Confidence: Our City, Our Economy, Our Future

    Check against delivery

    ***

    It is my pleasure to join you today to speak about the progress we are making in our nation’s capital.

    No matter what city you live in, it is always very fascinating to look at photos of your city from 20, 30, 40 years ago.

    It’s remarkable how quickly things can evolve in a short period of time.

    You can look at old photographs along the route of your daily commute and see old shops, old buildings, old industries that have since changed into something new.

    The restaurant you enjoy today – that used to be an old school house.

    The residential development today – that used to be a lumber yard.

    The Ottawa we have today was not the Ottawa that our parents and grandparents grew up in.

    And the Ottawa we build tomorrow will be vastly different for our children and grandchildren.

    Par exemple un restaurant que vous aimez tant, c’était autrefois une école.

    Ce développement résidentiel, c’était autrefois un parc à bois.

    La ville d’Ottawa d’aujourd’hui n’est pas celle de nos parents, ni de nos grands-parents.

    Et la ville d’Ottawa de demain sera fort différente pour nos enfants et nos petits-enfants.

    Ottawa has been many different things since its inclusion in the British North America Act.

    The most recent iteration of Ottawa is a government town.

    But that too is changing.

    We are becoming something more than that.

    And being a government town comes with its advantages and its challenges.

    Because the government does not grow at a pace set by the market.

    That means the government buffers us from business cycles and market fluctuations – we can be sheltered during tough times.

    But at the same time, when business markets turn around, Ottawa doesn’t grow at the pace of other private-sector or commodity-driven local economies.

    And much of our private sector enterprises depend on the federal government as a customer and a client.
    Clearly, Ottawa’s economy has been very dependent on the federal government for jobs.

    So when job cuts are made – and government is downsized – we feel it.

    Ottawa feels it.

    Our residents feel it.

    Because a quarter of Ottawa’s workforce is in the public service sector.

    That’s one in four.

    One in four… of our family, friends, neighbours and customers.

    Sometime people forget that these cuts are more than just statistics.

    It means that the federal government worker – who had longed planned on retiring in the same public sector job – may not have that option anymore.

    He or she will need to explore something new.

    So our public servants have some important decisions to make with their families about what they will do next.

    How will they make ends meet?
    Who will they be tomorrow?

    City-wide, we have the similar decisions to make about what Ottawa will do next.

    How will we make ends meet?

    What will Ottawa be tomorrow?

    Will there be gaping holes where pieces of the public service used to be?

    Will Ottawa be a shadow of its former self?

    Or…

    Will we have the important conversations needed to get us on the right track?

    Will we make the bold choices required to help Ottawa reach its full potential?

    In this new federal government dynamic, we have the most to lose.

    But we also have the most to gain.

    The stakes are high, but the way forward is clear.

    We can no longer depend on the federal government to shelter us from storms or drive our economy.

    Instead, we will construct a new economic engine.

    An engine that is more diverse – that runs on more than just one industry.

    An engine that is grounded in our strengths, and helps us build in the areas where we have the most potential.

    We are taking our economic destiny in our own hands.

    By recognizing – and investing in – what makes Ottawa the best place to raise a family and start a business.

    Nous ne pouvons plus dépendre du gouvernement fédéral pour nous protéger contre les tempêtes ou pour faire prospérer notre économie.

    Au lieu de cela, nous allons construire un nouveau moteur économique…

    … un moteur plus diversifié, qui s’alimentera grâce à plusieurs secteurs d’activités…

    … un moteur qui s’inspirera de nos forces, un moteur qui nous aidera à développer les secteurs les plus prometteurs.

    Bref, il faut prendre en main notre destinée économique.

    Il faut déterminer ce qui fait d’Ottawa le meilleur endroit où élever une famille et démarrer une entreprise… et nous devons y investir.

    So what are our strengths?

    Let’s begin with tourism and culture.

    Some might think of Ottawa as a grey flannel suit sort of town – the city that fun forgot.

    But that’s unfounded when you consider that tourism is our region’s third largest industry and creator of jobs.

    No one goes on vacation to see bureaucrats in their natural habitat!

    They do it to experience something exciting – to create memories with their families – to feel a connection with a place.

    And Ottawa offers that in spades.

    People come from around the world to visit Ottawa because our city reflects what makes Canada the greatest country in the world.

    Our visitors come for Parliament Hill, our stately institutions, our museums, our parks.

    All testaments to our country’s proud history and limitless future.

    At the same time, they see the real Ottawa – our Ottawa – that shines out from the shadow of the peace tower.

    We are a city of festivals and artists.

    Of creators and innovators.

    Of braving minus 40 weather to skate on the canal – and plus 40 weather to head to the beach.

    We are big city amenities with small town charm.

    We are rural community fairs and downtown culture celebrations.

    Sometimes people ask me: “How can you go to so many community events every weekend?”

    My answer: How can you not?

    Every day I see more and more the reason why Jean Pigott promoted the idea that Ottawa is every Canadian’s second home town.

    Looking ahead, we will do everything we can to show that to Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

    And prepare Ottawa to host the world in 2017 – Canada’s 150th birthday.

    Just like Vancouver owned the 2010 Olympics, Quebec City owned its 400th Anniversary and Toronto will own the 2015 Pan-Am Games – Ottawa will own 2017.

    Nous préparons Ottawa à recevoir le monde entier, en 2017, à l’occasion du cent cinquantième anniversaire de notre pays.

    Tout comme Vancouver a eu les Jeux olympiques de 2010, tout comme Québec a célébré sien son quatre-centième anniversaire, tout comme Toronto aura les Jeux panaméricains, Ottawa sera la ville hôte officielle de l’année 2017.

    So what will we do to get us there?

    We will build momentum – and our reputation.

    We created a Major Events Office in partnership with Ottawa Tourism to aggressively attract sporting events and large conferences – and all the hotel and restaurant reservations that come along with them.

    Our strategy: Bid more, win more, host more.

    With our brand new Ottawa Convention Centre, and the CE Centre near the airport, it is clear we are a destination of choice.

    This year alone, we have hosted the NHL All Star Game and the JUNO Awards.

    In the next few years will bring the Women’s World Hockey Championships, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the Canadian Gymnastic Championships.

    In the pipeline we have a wide range of major prospects in areas of figure skating, rugby, basketball, karate and many others.

    All of this means tens of millions of dollars in economic activity.

    And the priceless imprint on the minds of our visitors of what Ottawa truly is: exciting, diverse and full of potential.

    All leading up to 2017.

    But like any good host – we are going to tidy up a bit before our guests arrive.

    And tidying up on a city scale means revitalizing our infrastructure.

    Because we want to make sure we have structures and facilities worthy of a G8 world capital.

    We are taking stock of our assets – building them up – to use them for our economic advantage.

    For example, our baseball stadium stands as a good representation of the state of some of our infrastructure.

    It’s an important purpose-built city asset that has been left in disrepair, but is still full of economic potential.

    We have a plan to revitalize the Ottawa Stadium and make it a family-friendly entertainment destination once again.
    We are close to a deal to bring an Eastern League Double A baseball team to the stadium.

    This means the return of professional baseball to Ottawa – in time for the 2014 season.

    Lansdowne Park is another example of where we will do some important heavy lifting.

    The site has a rich history with many memories, perfectly located on the side of the Rideau Canal – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    But over the years, as the buildings started to crumble, it became clear that Lansdowne Park wasn’t really a park anymore.

    It was a parking lot.

    With a steady hand, working together, we have put this project on the right path.

    And in 2014, we will see the return of a CFL franchise and a first-ever Ottawa North American Soccer League team to Lansdowne.

    The site will also see the amount of park space tripled from 6 to over 18 acres.

    Lansdowne Park will be a bustling place of activity.

    A complete community.

    With new retail and housing opportunities – connecting the communities of the Glebe and Old Ottawa South.

    It will be a meeting place of which Ottawa can truly be proud.

    We are also taking bold steps to improve our transportation network with our Ottawa on the Move program – now in its second year.

    We are investing $340 million dollars to fast track several infrastructure projects.

    This includes 200 kilometres of road resurfacing and 70 kilometres of bike lanes and paved road shoulders.

    Politicians love to break ground and cut ribbons on new buildings for the purposes of photo-ops.

    And I say that with a little experience!

    But reconstructing our existing roads, sidewalks, bike paths and sewers are sometimes even more important.

    These are assets in every sense of the word.

    We will get this work done now so we do not have to pay a higher price later.

    And in turn, Ottawa on the Move is creating the equivalent of more than 2,500 jobs over the three-year period.
    We’re doing all this while taking on the biggest city-building project in our city’s history – Light Rail Transit.

    From at Tunney’s Pasture in the west to Blair in the east – our 12.5 kilometre LRT line will break ground next year.

    This includes thirteen stations with a tunnel under downtown.

    This will save our cross-town commuters up to 15 minutes daily.

    That’s 2.5 days annually – more time to spend in the office, at the dinner table or with your kids at their soccer game.

    Much like when Colonel By constructed the Rideau Canal, this LRT project will fundamentally change the face of Ottawa as we know it.

    And it will keep our economy moving through lower costs for taxpayers and construction jobs throughout the process.

    To review, we will have world-class facilities and infrastructure, to benefit residents and attract tourists.

    This is important to maintain and grow Ottawa’s high quality of life.

    And this is directly linked to attracting new investments, new jobs, and new economic opportunities.

    Moving forward, these will be crucial for Ottawa’s new economic engine.
    And to support this, we are creating an economic development environment that is a global best-practice.

    We have rebranded and refocused our economic development agency as Invest Ottawa.

    In a new downtown location, we have co-located many entrepreneurial service agencies and stakeholders under one roof.

    We are helping entrepreneurs to access seasoned business veterans, technical experts, mentors, and peer networks.

    It’s an entrepreneurship ecosystem where our best and our brightest work together, feed off each other’s energy and think big.

    And in less than a year, we have enjoyed extraordinary successes.

    Invest Ottawa’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence have provided over 2,200 hours of consultation to more than 280 companies.

    50 of the available 70 business incubation/acceleration spaces are now occupied by companies from the Ottawa Young Entrepreneurs and Commercialization of Innovation portfolios.

    And 3,000 business consultations have been delivered by Entrepreneurship Centre consultants.

    50 des 70 espaces d’incubation/d’accélération d’entreprise sont actuellement occupés par des entreprises issues des Jeunes entrepreneurs d’Ottawa et du programme de commercialisation en innovation.

    Et plus de 3 000 consultations auprès d’entreprises ont été menées par le Centre d’entrepreneuriat.

    Des efforts spéciaux sont également déployés pour rejoindre les communautés francophones et les immigrants, à l’aide de documentation, de produits et à de services personnalisés.

    We are also building on the strengths of the small, but exciting, film and TV production sector in the city.

    The City has just finished an RFP process in partnership with Invest Ottawa.

    We are looking to shortlist the right partner, who will use the City’s seed funding of $1.5 million dollars to create a multi-purpose media facility.

    These are exciting developments here in the community, but we also know that Ottawa’s economic development future needs to have a global focus.

    We are helping set conditions for multinational strategic alliances in new business start-ups.

    On this front, Invest Ottawa has received investment delegations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Chile, Indonesia, and China.

    Alongside Invest Ottawa, the City of Ottawa’s own Economic Development and Innovation department continues to make great strides in foreign market development and investment attraction.

    It is helping to develop a “China Strategy” that will capitalize on business and investment opportunities and ensure that Ottawa undertakes a coordinated approach to reaching out to this important market.

    We have and must continue to capitalize on our sister city agreement we have with Bejing.

    We must also attract and retain talent.

    We want Ottawa to be the home to those who are the best in their fields – whether working, studying, researching or leading.

    Innovative people who want to roll up their sleeves and put their skills to work.

    That’s because we know that competition for talent will only increase in the coming years.

    We are working together with our post-secondary institutions to maximize opportunities for students and graduates to start businesses or to work with start-ups to overcome challenges.

    We must also let the world know that Ottawa is the most educated city in Canada – with the highest number of PhDs per capita of any city in our country.

    In North America, we’re second to only Boston.
    And to draw mobile talent to Ottawa – and to keep the best people here – we need to offer two things.

    One: A low-cost, high-quality standard of living

    And two: An environment where businesses want to grow and flourish.

    The City of Ottawa will continue along this path to support the business environment.

    We will continue to innovate in order to foster the best, most-competitive and compelling businesses.

    That will help to attract capital, and talent, and innovators – all which create a virtuous circle of prosperity.

    Working together with our City staff, our Deputy Mayor Eli El-Chantiry and our BIAs, all 18 Ottawa BIAs have now formed the “Ottawa Council of BIAs”.

    I consider this a major achievement for our business community, and I have confirmed to them, that I will work to ensure that they engaged early in the legislative process on matters that impact business in Ottawa.

    And to continue this progress – I’m pleased today to announce two exciting economic development initiatives that the City of Ottawa is leading.

    First – “Locate Ottawa”.

    This is a visual mapping tool that allows site selectors to zoom-in on a specific geographic location in Ottawa.

    From there, users can access a wide variety of information in order to determine if the location is the right choice for a business opportunity.

    This includes information on demographics, local workforce profile, consumer expenditures, and more.

    What makes this tool unique is that it lets users examine the city in a way that meets their needs.

    For site selectors, this means facilitating the process of identifying the right location for their business.

    For commercial real estate organizations, this means easily highlighting development opportunities to potential international investors.

    For example, a businessperson in Bejing can easily research potential locations and access precise data on the Ottawa market.

    This tool makes Ottawa more accessible to the world – and the world’s investors.

    A card with more information about this new tool, as well as contact details, will be handed out at the end of today’s event.

    Second – I’m pleased to announce our new “Capital Investment Track” program.

    Through this program, the City will select projects, investments or developments, based on their potential to create at least 100 – quality – well-paying – private sector jobs, to receive special attention from the Economic Development department.
    Under this program, we will assign an Economic Development staff person to work directly with the private sector project manager.

    And we will shepherd the project through City processes and requirements to get it underway and completed — at the speed of business.

    Planning, rezoning, waste water services, telecommunications, signage, permits – you name it.

    We will also help to navigate provincial and federal government agencies, ministries and programs.

    Our goal: Help get you from the drawing board to the marketplace before your competitors do.

    Your project becomes our priority.

    From start to finish.

    This means timely and customer-sensitive service for you.

    And it means economic prosperity for all Ottawa residents.

    This is something I committed to in the last election – and I’m pleased that the City is offering this innovative program.

    The Capital Investment Track program, and Locate Ottawa – are in addition to the progress we’re already making in tourism, economic development and building Ottawa for what it is going to be next.

    So that’s where we’re going.

    This is our new engine.

    The Ottawa you think you know.

    The government town.

    The grey flannel, red tape, kind of town.

    Is quickly becoming a much different place.

    A place to celebrate.

    A place to invest.

    A place to grow.

    As the federal government downsizes and the world keeps turning, we will not sit on our hands.
    Because Ottawa values the people and the businesses that will create economic prosperity for our great city.
    We not only need to influence – we need to be bolder than that – we need to lead.

    We cannot afford to take a backseat when it comes to influencing our economic future.

    We must say clearly and confidently:

    Ottawa… is open for business.