News from the City of St. Catharines in Niagara, Ontario
Posted November 28th, 2017 on Niagara At Large
Niagara, Ontario – There’s a new role at St. Catharines City Hall to help guide large investments and major developments all the way from blueprints to ribbon cuttings.
The City hired Margaret Josipovic as project expeditor to support businesses and investors with expansions, new developments and other investments in St. Catharines.
“We’ve made great strides to improve our processes to support the building community and move developments along,” said Jim Riddell, the City’s director of planning and building services. “Adding the project expeditor to our staff further enhances our service and supports the good work our builders and investors are doing in our city.”
In her new role, Josipovic acts as the City’s link between developers, builders, consultants, agencies and residents to guide economically and culturally significant projects, large investments and City-endorsed initiatives through the approval process. Projects at the top of Josipovic’s to-do list include the redevelopment of the former General Motors site, the former hospital lands on Ontario Street and Queenston Street as well as developments planned for Port Dalhousie. Josipovic will report to the director of planning and building services as well as the director of economic development and government relations.
“I’m very excited for this new opportunity and I look forward to working with the builders and investors who are helping to reshape St. Catharines,” said Josipovic, who has served as a planner with the City since 2014.
The new role supports City Council’s strategic plan and goal of focusing on the redevelopment of major commercial sites. The project expeditor position is also a priority outlined in the City’s Economic Development Strategy.
“The dollars and trends show that St. Catharines is an attractive place to invest and this new position shows we are investment-ready,” said Mayor Walter Sendzik. “We are a growing city and it is critical that we think differently and be ready with solutions to support and attract business. The new project expeditor will help us do that – to continue to attract investment and create more jobs and more revenue for the City and our residents.”
(A Thought on this from Niagara At Large reporter/publisher Doug Draper – This may be good for St. Catharines and the Niagara region if the project expeditor also works with everyday residents and neighbourhood groups in the community to make sure that whatever development is being planned respects the neighbourhood and has the potential to benefit everyone in the community in the long run.
Across the border in Buffalo, New York, which has seen a tremendous rebirth in many of the city’s neighbourhoods in recent years, I have been impressed with the extent to which neighbourhood groups or associations are able to work more closely with government and developers for growth more beneficial to the neighbourhood and those who live and work in it. I know that what I have seen there is not perfect either, but I have not witnessed as close to it happening as a matter of course on the Niagara, Ontario side of the border.
Unfortunately, there appears to be a mindset among too many of our municipal leaders on the Ontario side that in order to show that we are “open for business” we have to run roughshod over residents in the community, if or when they raise come concerns. Hopefully, that will not be the case around the creation of this new government position in St. Catharines.
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