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News Release: CHAMBER MARKS THE END OF 2018 WITH POLICY SUCCESS

(Medicine Hat)The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce wrapped up 2018 with a number of policy successes with two recent achievements on a local level and one on a provincial level in December alone
 
The Chamber was pleased with the decision by council to continue the Off-Site Levy Municipal Development Subsidy at the City Council meeting held on December 3, 2018. This is an issue that the chamber has been advocating on since 2012 and will continue to monitor and engage with council and administration with further review of the Bylaw following the adoption of an updated Municipal Development Plan.
 
The Municipal Assist program that is currently in place has been offered since 2013 to promote development and to offer an incentive to new development to consider Medicine Hat when locating their business. Council’s latest decision provides an Infill Municipal Assist which contributes 90% of the Offsite Levy (OSL) for areas contained in the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) priority intensification areas for the years 2019-2022. A Greenfield Municipal Assist will contribute 30% for all other areas within the City limits for the years of 2019-2020. In addition, the OSL bylaw will be amended to allow for the ability to provide 90% Municipal Assist for intensification areas outside of the above noted Infill Assist areas that meet the City’s MDP policy goals and council’s strategic objectives.
 
 ‘Development benefits a municipality through creation of an expanded tax base and ultimately a reduced tax burden because of the growth and share in the tax burden. The creation of commercial development and a new residential tax base will benefit the community as a whole, contribute to the tax base and will encourage strategic growth,’ Sarah MacKenzie, 2018-2019 Chamber President, commented.
 
An example of strategic development was the re-zoning of 352 Primrose Drive SE from Open Space to Medium Density. This bylaw amendment facilitates private sector redevelopment and promotes the objective of selling land inventory that is not part of the City’s land development strategy, nor required for municipal purposes, with a focus on intensification and private development.
 
MacKenzie noted, ‘The adoption of this bylaw amendment is a smart fiscal decision, which ties into the City’s key results of implementing systematic approaches to be “investment-ready” and “open for business”. It also maximizes the use of existing infrastructure and supports intensification, while prioritizing mature neighborhoods by supporting renewed investment, infill development, and a variety of housing and commercial options.’
 
On a provincial level, the announcement that there were no changes to Youth Employment standards for those aged 13 and up, with employment rules not applying to those youth on farms and ranches, was welcome. ‘An important rite of passage for our youth is a first job. Employment teaches skills like punctuality, time management, prioritizing competing responsibilities and concretely demonstrating the value of a dollar earned,’ MacKenzie stated.
 
2018 marked another busy year at the Chamber. In addition to our signature trade shows, Business Awards, networking, training and political events, our policy work saw a number of issues brought forward and recommendations carried on a local, provincial and federal level on the following:

  • Corporate income tax
  • Minimum wage increases and employment and labour standard changes
  • Residential to non-residential tax gap
  • Property assessments
  • Offsite levies
  • Land development
  • Development fees and charges
  • Municipal finances and the financially fit framework
  • City purchasing
  • Business licensing and e-permitting
  • Cannabis regulations
  • Municipal planning
  • Municipal engagement
  • Regulatory burdens of business
  • Port of Wild Horse improvements
  • Twinning of Highway 3 and
  • Municipal air services
‘The chamber anticipates that 2019 will also be a very busy year with both provincial and federal governments launching election campaigns. We look forward to engaging our community on their policy priorities and meeting with our elected officials to ensure that the needs of our business community are being met. As always, we will be dedicated to advocating for our members and using our voice to influence the decisions of policy makers,’ concluded MacKenzie.
 
Read our Annual Report here: https://medicinehatchamber.com/pages/PublicationsMedia#annual
Full details on all of our policies can be seen here:  http://medicinehatchamber.com/pages/Advocacy
 
Please direct all media inquiries to:
Sarah MacKenzie, 2018-2019 President
Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce
(403) 527-5214 ext.221
 

The Chamber of Commerce is a member-driven, volunteer-led organization, proudly representing the interests of businesses in our region, and working diligently to stimulate a strengthened and vibrant economy through our connections, support and influence. For more than 115 years, the Chamber has stood for promoting business, monitoring government and championing managed growth in the local economy. The Chamber represents over 800 businesses in our region and is aligned with both the Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC), which represents over 25,000 businesses and the Canadian Chambers of Commerce (CCC), which represents over 200,000 businesses. With the largest and most influential business organizations locally, provincially and federally, the Chamber network is the most unified, valued and influential business network in Canada and works together to shape policy and programs that will make a difference to businesses in our region.
 

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