Mayor Rick Bonnette says 2006 has been a banner year for industrial growth in Halton Hills. "Halton Hills has seen more highquality industrial development in the past year then I can remember in the past 24 years," Bonnette said to the 150 people who attended his annual Christmas luncheon sponsored by the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce at North Halton Golf Club yesterday (Thursday). Fernbrook Springs, Hayward Gordon, Sensient Flavours, Patlon Aircraft Industries, were some of the companies that opened their doors or began building in the 401-407 Gateway Business Park (401 Corridor) this year, said the mayor. He also announced that Select Ornamental PreCast is moving to Commerce Cr. in Acton employing approximately 10-15 workers. Sun Life Financial has recently purchased 20 acres at the northeast corner of Fifth Line and Steeles Ave. in the Corridor and filed an application with the Town for a 387,000 sq. ft. facility to be rented to a major tenant yet to be announced, said the mayor. "I'm happy to announce a new manufacturing company has bought the Curwood Packaging building." He said the new company, which does not yet want its name released, was currently based in another municipality. The mayor also outlined many benefits of the TransCanada Energy Halton Hills Generating Station coming to the Corridor.
"It will pay significant taxes and development charges," said Bonnette. Bonnette also said he was very proud of existing business CPI which has expanded its facility by 50 per cent, and highlighted Legendary Motorcar Co. which is home to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame located in the Corridor. He stressed the Town is "making economic development a priority and its paying off." He said, however, despite the recent influx of businesses, the Town's industrial/ commercial ratio is still only 12 per cent, but should be in the 20 to 30 per cent range. "We need more businesses to come to Halton Hills," he said, adding he will be asking the Chamber of Commerce to get involved. Bonnette also said there is a "small window of opportunity" to have a college locate in the Corridor. He said council will be making a decision about the college in the near future and if they go ahead, it could require some financial commitment from the Town and perhaps fund-raising. "I hope if we do go that way, the community will get solidly behind it." The mayor also listed some of the significant projects for the Town over the coming years including the Georgetown Library expansion in the year 2008. Other projects include the completion of the Three Musketears Skateboard Park in Acton, and he said the Town is working with volunteers on the Devereaux House. "The Town will be launching a new website in early 2007," he said, calling it customer-focused and user-friendly. "We have issued more than 1,000 building permits," said the mayor. He said tenders are out now for the Main St. S. reconstruction project that will include paving of the new downtown municipal parking lot. One of the challenges Halton Hills will face in the coming years Bonnette said is the Province's Places to Grow policy that will see Halton double its population in the next 25 years-- with some of that growth directed at Halton Hills. "If we're going to be growing at this astronomical rate we have to ask the Province to review its numbers that Halton must expand by," he said.