Guiding Principles for Incentives for Business/Industry and Land Development City of Kenora and Lake of the Woods Development Commission
In the process of recruiting business and industry to the community, planning and development staff are continually queried about the incentives that are available for establishing a new business in Kenora. The availability of incentives for economic development purposes vary widely across Canada and the United States. For example, in the Province of Ontario, municipalities are not permitted to use incentives such as the donation of land, utility subsidies or, tax breaks as a means of attracting business and industry.
However, the City of Kenora has always been flexible and creative in providing other incentives that would be of interest to potential investors. Typically this could involve covering the cost of road improvements, the extension of municipal utilities and service, streamlined land use planning approvals and/or property swaps in an effort to bring a project together.
The Lake of the Woods Development Commission staff members regularly receive requests from developers about community incentives. The above noted incentives have always been utilized on a case by case basis, subject to approval by City Council. It would be helpful for the LOWDC to adopt a protocol for the development of incentive packages in attracting business and industry to the community and region.
This document is an effort to clearly document, and adopt, the key guiding principles in the development of incentive packages for developers. This will further refine the process by which incentives are identified and agreed to by both parties.
Guiding Principles for Incentives
The City of Kenora offers incentives for business, industrial and land development projects based on the following principles:
Incentives will be offered based on the degree to which the project is consistent with and helps to implement the goals and objectives as defined in the City of Kenora’s Economic Development Plan (2006), and City of Kenora Tourism Strategy (2008).The goals within the Economic Development Plan are threefold:
Therefore, incentives offered will be based on the project’s ability to assist the City to attain these goals. The number and value of incentives offered will be affected by these factors:
Jobs – The number, type and rate of pay of the jobs created by the project will affect the potential level of incentives.
Assessment – The amount of property taxes, property class type of the development will affect/determine the incentives available.
Population Growth – Development which will bring new people into the community will be viewed favourably as this is a prime goal of the economic development plan.
Incentives offered will generally be commensurate with the positive economic impacts to the community as a result of the project.
Incentives will not be offered when the business or industry will displace an existing business or industry.
Types of Incentives
Incentives offered could include municipal land swaps or assistance with the provision of municipal services. It should be noted that the City of Kenora has excess capacity within its sewer and water services, state of the art telecommunications services, a locally owned and managed Hydro utility and competitive tax rates.
Water utility extensions
Sewer utility extensions
Land swaps and the availability of appropriately zoned municipal lands
Professional staff to assist with project development: business advisory, planning, building and engineering
Other government incentives
Staff can work to identify incentives available for new business start ups from both the provincial and federal governments, depending upon the nature of your development.
Process for determining to potential for City incentives
The planning and development team will discuss the availability of incentives with prospective clients in the pre-consultation process. The planning & development staff will coordinate requests of incentives with other city departments as part of an interdepartmental review. Minor projects may not require approval of the LOWDC and City Council. However, major projects involving municipal resources will require a recommendation from the LOWDC and approval from City Council.