Grand Falls-Windsor -
The pulp and paper mill may have closed in Grand Falls-Windsor last year, but it's not all doom and gloom.
In fact, business is good, says the woman who chairs the town's economic development committee.
"There's been no slowdown in business that we have been made aware of that would really make us change focus," said Coun. Amy Coady-Davis.
"I mean, things are good, things are positive."
Coady-Davis said some businesses are expanding, there's been increased retail spending as well as an upswing in real estate, auto and recreational vehicle sales.
"(If it was contrary to what businesses are reporting) you would see it in job losses, you would see it in lack of inventory," she said.
"The turnover is there - it is right in front of your face. You can't fudge those numbers. Sales are up, they have said they're up, you can see that they are up."
She also said there's colloquial evidence the economy is doing well, such as high traffic to the area, full parking lots, crowded hockey games and full houses at arts and entertainment events.
"That's one of first things really that people tend to pull back on - entertainment expenses, and (yet) the cinema is back up and running, which it wasn't for quite a long time, and that's successful since it reopened," Coady-Davis said.
"You take hockey games - the stadium is full whenever the Cats are at home. Figure skating shows (and) minor hockey registrations are up, the Arts and Culture Centre has had some wonderful shows in the last few months with full houses, so obviously it's not all doom and gloom, because people are still out there enjoying their extracurricular activities and taking advantage of the things that are going on here."
According to the economic development office in Grand Falls-Windsor, housing starts are down 50 per cent from 2008 - there were 118 units built then as compared to 53 units in 2009. However, the economic development committee says developers are suggesting that housing starts will rebound this year.
Gerald Thompson, president of the Chamber of Commerce - which represents 209 businesses in Grand Falls-Windsor - tends to agree with the town's positive outlook.
He said they are getting far more positive feedback from members than negative.
"... Although there's been a number of small businesses that have closed in the last year, we still know that the people that have done business here in this valley, their percentages over last year are up."
Thompson expects good things for the town's future.
"We feel very confident, from the cross-section from the automobile sector and the housing sector, the service sector, the construction sector, we're very positive and feel very confident," he said.
"Plus, when you look at the commitment that the three levels of government have made for this region, then that, too, gives us very good reason to be optimistic about the prospects for 2010.
"We believe there is a future in this valley for us and we believe that if we continue to work together as business people and continue to work with our stakeholders, our agencies, with government, then we're going to forge ahead and we're going to be all right."