Leave some room in the warehouse


One of the more significant details in the most recent story about new jobs in the west-end industrial park  is not the little boo-boo city hall's economic development department committed in projecting Spectrum Brands' future hiring plans, but rather Dave Paul's comment about the acquisition of new industrial lands.

Those lands, says Paul, are being bought for the purpose of luring employers in the logistics sector. Like the eagerly-awaited repurposing of the formner Black and Decker site, the city is hoping to acquire more land to attract larger warehousing operations such as the new Target distribution centre it lost to Cornwall.

This year's capital budget includes $1.6 million for "industrial park land assembly": the acquisition of land to create a new business park. City officials remain in closed-door discussions about the project, most of which is being kept under wraps because of the sensitivity of those negotiations.

This year's budget includes $40,000 to pay for the studies required to turn land into an industrial or business park. The priority list also sets aside $640,000 for next year to appraise and acquire the land, and another $920,000 in 2015 to put in the necessary services.

All fine and good, but I would hope Paul's comments don't indicate the entirety of this new business park will be dedicated to warehousing.

The expansion of Spectrum, and B.C.-based Stonewater Properties's eagerness to market the former Black and Decker site to the logistics sector would suggest warehousing is a potentially lucrative area for the city to explore.

Still, warehousing is warehousing, and Brockville will never truly excel as an economic centre unless it can blend this warehousing employment with small, innovative manufacturing.

The days of Black and Decker are gone, and optimism is a rare commodity these days. But as I've said before, we should have at least enough optimism to leave aside some room for the next Camalor and the next Newterra.