; Building the New Economy - Millier Dickinson Blais
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Building the New Economy - Millier Dickinson Blais


  • pg 1
new economy
  Why Niagara should trade its         Niagara has often been described as a “blue
                                       collar” community, its economy characterized by

       Blue Collars for Green          autoworkers and assembly lines. There’s been
                                       a kind of solid, reassuring side to this image,
                                       reflecting generations of hard working men and
                  By Brock Dickinson   women building our community with the sweat
                                       of their brow and the labour of their hands.
                                       Communities like Port Colborne, Welland and
                                       St. Catharines have built a national reputation as

                                                             JULY / AUGUST 2009 | niagaramag.ca   23

centres of blue collar excellence. But as        catalyze private efforts to build a clean      opportunities under the broader label
the winds of globalization, technological        energy future.”                                of green industries. Communities must
development and recession blow across               In part, energy is the crux of the          identify and pursue investments from
the economy, blue collar communities             green collar opportunity that is emerging.     specific businesses for developing specific
don’t seem quite so solid anymore.               If we’re going to shift from coal-fired        products in specific areas of activity.
   Toronto-based economic development            electrical generating plants to, say, wind        The Municipality of Chatham-Kent has
guru Richard Florida and many others             farms for electricity generation, someone      recently targeted the bio-automotive sector,
have called for a transition to a new            is going to have to build the windmills.       looking to leverage existing strengths in
economy where “white collar” knowledge              If we’re going to reduce our reliance       agriculture and automotive industries to
workers make up a new creative class.            on fossil fuels, someone’s going to have       create organic and biological materials
This approach offers some hope, and is           to manufacture the solar panels, biomass       for use in automotive manufacturing.
perhaps worth pursuing—but it holds              facilities and hydrogen processing                The City of Cambridge has based
little appeal for those sporting blue collars.   equipment to make it happen. In many           its economic development strategy on
The kind of skills that one develops             ways, those new, green manufacturing           the concept of green design, leveraging
over years of making automobiles on the          jobs look a lot like the old blue collar       strengths in construction and green
line or repairing ships in the dry dock          jobs we already have, just with a different    building technologies with the presence
                                                                                                of the University of Waterloo’s School of
                                                                                                Architecture in the community. Durham
                                                                                                Region has taken a leading role in
                                                                                                developing energy-related opportunities

   “....as the winds of globalization,                                                          linked to the green economy.
                                                                                                 “This is the next wave in wealth creation
                                                                                                in our global economy, and we take it very
            technological development                                                           seriously,” says Doug Lindeblom, Director
                                                                                                of Economic Development for Durham

         and recession blow across the                                                          Region. “We are consciously carving our
                                                                                                niche and preparing our communities and

 economy, blue collar communities                                                               partners to succeed in this field.”
                                                                                                   These efforts include the creation of
                                                                                                the Durham Strategic Energy Alliance
 don’t seem quite so solid anymore.”                                                            (DSEA), established in 2004 to position
                                                                                                Durham as the centre of Canada’s new
                                                                                                energy economy.
                                                                                                   The organization links local economic
                                                                                                development efforts with investment from
don’t always lend themselves to creating         final product rolling off the end of the       more than a dozen of Canada’s largest
videogames or becoming an architect.             assembly line.                                 energy firms, and connects into cutting
   Recently, this conundrum has prompted         This reality has helped make green             edge alternative energy and hydrogen fuel
a new approach from some thinkers about          manufacturing industries a primary             research programs at the University of
possible avenues of new development and          target for those seeking to spur local         Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).
new job creation. These thinkers now talk        job creation and investment. In fact, it’s        “When the lights went out in August of
of “green collar” jobs, the kind of jobs         become a bit of a gold rush, as we all race    2003, the link between energy, conservation
where traditional manufacturing skills and       after the same opportunities … and we’re       and demand management became very
techniques can be applied the creation of        no exception in Niagara. The Niagara           clear,” says Lindeblom. “It became very
products linked to a new environmental           Economic Development Corporation               apparent that a coordinated approach was
reality.                                         (NEDC)—an arm’s–length branch of               necessary to utilize everyone’s efforts and
   Although the expression “green collar”        Regional government—has identified             resources most effectively. When we all
jobs dates back to a 1976 report to the          green industries as one of its top ten         came together we realized that we had a
U.S. Congress, it is perhaps President           priority areas for investment attraction. It   tremendous story and opportunity, that
Barack Obama who has done the most               even proclaims that Niagara is “Ontario’s      we were in fact Ontario’s energy capital
to bring the green collar concept to             Wind Energy Powerhouse.” But wishing           and that partnership was essential to
the global stage. During his election            won’t make it so, and Niagara has some         position us going forward.”
campaign, Obama promised Americans               real challenges ahead if it hopes to build a      If it hopes to succeed in attracting
that he would create “five million green         green collar economy.                          green collar jobs, Niagara must emulate
collar jobs … by strategically investing            A key element in any green collar           Durham’s model, mobilizing regional
$150 billion over the next ten years to          push will be a need to focus on specific       partnerships between local government,

                                                                                              dining guide
academia and the private sector in pursuit   poised to explode in the Niagara economy,        AG AT STERLING INN & SPA
of specific green industry targets based     particularly in light of the prevalence          5195 Magdalen St., Niagara Falls 289-292-0000
                                                                                              When AG opened its doors late last fall,
on existing strengths and assets. Indeed,    of entrepreneurial spirit in the region.”        it was no small occasion. This upscale
this nimble, entrepreneurial approach        But, he cautions, “access to capital is a        restaurant at the Sterling Inn offers superb
to building green industry—sometimes         challenge for entrepreneurs of all sorts,        fine dining in a setting that is both elegant
                                                                                              and luxurious. Executive Chef Cory Linkson
referred to as “eco-prensurship”—            perhaps their single biggest one.”               presents regional seasonal cuisine at its
may position us well against potential         Local eco-preneurs also agree. Niagara         freshest, and crafts a five-course tasting
competitors.                                 e-Waste (NEW ) is an exciting local              menu that is designed to delight the most
   “European businesses have … a higher      venture currently in its launch phase,           discriminating gourmand. The dining room
                                                                                              offers wireless internet capability. Wine
level of social and regulatory pressure      seeking $7 million in start-up financing         service is impeccable, providing an excellent
                                                                                              cellar of Niagara’s award-winning VQA
                                                                                              wines. $$$ Ê˙

         “…Niagara has some real                                                              BRASA BRAzILIAN StEAkhOUSE & WINE BAR
                                                                                              6361 Fallsview Blvd., Niagara Falls 905-353-7187

       challenges ahead if it hopes to                                                        Following a centuries-old tradition of cooking
                                                                                              on an open range, the Brasa Brazilian
                                                                                              Steakhouse & Wine Bar is an exciting

       build a green collar economy.”                                                         addition to the Hilton Niagara Falls. Brazilian
                                                                                              chef Ricardo Zanona’s menu features 15
                                                                                              different cuts of succulent, fire-roasted beef,
                                                                                              pork, lamb and chicken, carved tableside.
                                                                                              Diners use a two-sided disk to signal when
to adopt environment-friendly business       to develop a computer and electronics            they are ready for these sizzling skewers.
models, due to concerted efforts during      recycling facility in Niagara and creating       A hearty buffet boasts gourmet salads and
the 1980s and 1990s to harmonize             dozens of jobs in the process. “Financing        fresh grilled vegetables, as well as a variety
                                                                                              of sides, such as potato, polenta and fried
regulations among EU member states,”         is one the biggest hurdles most businesses       bananas. $$$`˙Ê
says Craig Astfalck, CEO of the UK-based     face, and ours is no exception,” says Mark
manufacturing advisory firm 2Swans Ltd.      Malinowski, one of the project’s partners.       CARpACCIO REStAURANt & WINE BAR
                                                                                              6840 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls 905-371-2063
  “Alternative energy development is         “This region has been hit so hard with the       Award-winning Carpaccio has vaulted into
on a par between Europe and North            recession, with plant closures such as John      the forefront of a crowded coterie of Italian
America, where the race for invention        Deere and layoffs at GM.                         eateries in Niagara. Its Mediterranean Italian
                                                                                              menu is extensive, imaginative and well
has largely been completed; it is now a         It has all the right leadership, a talented   executed. Choose from among 300 wines,
matter of entrepreneurs commercializing      workforce—but no big ideas the entire            including many of Niagara’s best, and enjoy
the research. Such eco-preneurship is        municipality can be a part of. This is           it all in a tastefully appointed dining room.
an interesting concept… I would say          precisely why our team is where we are …         Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.,
                                                                                              11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat.- Sun., open at 4
that North America may have the edge         we would love nothing more than Niagara          p.m. $$$`—Ê˙ BN
over Europe on this one, due partly          to really assert itself as a leader in the
to the venture capital models seen in        environmental sector.”                           ROMANO’S MACARONI GRILL
                                                                                              6361 Fallsview Blvd., Niagara Falls 905-353-7174
North America.”                                To get there however, Niagara must             With passionate chefs preparing more
  His take is echoed by Dragan Racic,        take a few simple lessons to heart:              than 25 specialties in exhibition kitchens
CEO of DR Links International, a                                                              and the occasional strolling opera singer,
Niagara Falls-based company with
                                                Niagara must be specific in identifying      Romano’s Macaroni Grill offers a unique
                                                 those green industry opportunities it is     and authentic Italian dining experience. The
connections to alternative energy projects                                                    difficulty is choosing from generous portions
in southeastern Europe. “In Niagara, we          pursuing                                     of delicious pastas, veal, seafood, steaks,
have a few companies that are ahead of          Niagara must work cooperatively to           roasted chicken, pizza baked in wood-burning
                                                                                              ovens, soups and hard-to-resist desserts. So
the European pack, but we are not using          pursue those targets through a common        sit back and relax. If you hear a plate crash,
resources appropriately,” says Racic. “We        action plan                                  join the applause. If a server sings, raise
have the technology, we have the human                                                        your glass as now’s the time to celebrate the
                                                Niagara must develop that action plan on     good things in life. $$$`˙Ê BN
resources, but we need an action plan.”          the basis of creative eco-preneurship
  Racic believes that senior levels of
government have introduced a range of           Niagara must recognize that success in
helpful programs to spur green industry          eco-preneurship will depend upon access         $       Under $20
                                                                                                 $$      $20 - $40
development in Canada, but that financing        to financing                                    $$$     Over $40
for companies in this sector remains                                                             `       Patio
                                               It’s a vision we’re inching closer to             —       Takeout/catering available
elusive. Shane Thomson, Manager of the       achieving, and one that will be vital if            Ê       Reservations recommended
St. Catharines Small Business Enterprise                                                         ˙       Wheelchair accessible
                                             we hope to shift from the blue collar
                                                                                               Prices listed reflect the average cost of dining for two,
Centre agrees.                               economy of yesterday to the green collar          excluding wine, spirits, taxes and tips.
  The green industries, he suggests “seem    economy of tomorrow. BN


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