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Tuesday, December 7, 2021
HomeNewsCity of Kawartha Lakes loses 40 jobs as modular home builder looks...

City of Kawartha Lakes loses 40 jobs as modular home builder looks to relocate

KAWARTHA LAKES-Canada Builds is no longer building, at least in the City of Kawartha Lakes.

The modular home company operated out of an industrial unit on Highway 36 for approximatley 10 years, employing up to 40 people.

Last fall they stopped production and staff were told they were no longer needed. The company says a number of issues came into play in making the decision to halt manufacturing, including hurdles with the municipality and the province.

“They need to understand the pieces go together in attracting business, it attracts people and if the environment here is recognized as a positive one for companies to come in and be in a position to grow then they are going to have new people, new players.” Roy Graham, CEO Canada Builds, told Kawartha 411. “There’s no question that the City and the environment they are in has just as much difficulty attracting people where additional bureaucracy at the provincial level has created a market for people to come in and move on.”

Mayor Andy Letham says The City cannot be responsible for the success of every business.

“Council does its best to create an environment that invites and encourages businesses, while still being accountable to taxpayers and keeping services affordable. From there, it’s up to business owners to work within the rules and make it happen. We can’t take on the responsibility for the success of every business – it’s a collaboration, a two-way street.”
Mayor Andy Letham said.

Graham says development charges are one of the big problems facing local developers.

“The development charges in the municipality, if the municipality is short of funds and they look at sources of revenue and devleopment charges are justified on the community end, but on the other hand development charges are a disincentive for developers.” explains Graham. “Every time they increase that means you are going to have less interest in buidling or you have to raise houses or both. Also how quick do you get through the development process and that partially comes from the province it’s not only the municipality.”

Last April Mayor Letham told the media that some development charges in Kawartha Lakes are almost double that of Peterborough making Peterborough “pretty attractive” to developers. Haliburton doesn’t charge development fees at all.

Council has recently passed a new Development Charges bylaw which will come into effect in a few months.

“Council is creating a supportive environment for new and expanding businesses by passing the new Development Charges By-law, which comes into effect this April. Rebecca Mustard, Manager of Economic Development told Kawartha 411 News. “This new By-Law makes it more attractive for businesses to invest in the upfront costs of building and expanding. It helps to manage cash flow by allowing businesses to defer fees. There is also a new Zero percent Development Charge on new single commercial development (up to 2500 square metres) and on all industrial development.”

Graham says he would like to see the city communicate more with local developers.

“Going to the development community and developers and seeing what works for them but our experience with them on that side has been limited.” Graham told Kawartha 411. “It’s an area we could have pushed a little harder on on our side as well, I certainly wouldn’t put all the blame on the city.”

Mustard says the city reached out to the business over the last few years.

“Economic Development staff have outreached to the business owner over the course of the last three years.We were aware of business challenges, and offered any support we could. We were simply enforcing the rules and fees that all businesses need to abide by.”

Meanwhile other communities lined up to try and poach the jobs and the company as they looked to buy a new site for a show home.

“We looked at the possibility of acquiring a property in the Lindsay area that we could convert to an appropriate place and we actually did a lot of reaserch into it in terms of growth and things that were going on and other issues that had to be dealt with but then we ran into situations where we were being approached by other communities to consider moving our operation there.” Graham says. “They had heard we were looking for another place and at the time time we were approached by communites like Thunder Bay, Dryden and Niagara Penisula, north of the City as well. When you have those options available obviously you are looking at what’s best.”

Graham isn’t sure what best right now. He says they are still weighing their options.

“We are in transition mode right now, ran into some issues over the last year. We had arranged for the possibility of setting up in a larger facility but the building was sold. So we are looking at our options, trying to refocus the business plan.”

Part of that plan could include a Peterborough location.








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Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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