After two weeks on the job, Corner Brook’s new mayor is more optimistic than ever that his new council can make positive changes in the city.
Jim Parsons, a past critic of doing business in the city, made several references about the perception that the city is not open for business during a Small Business Week luncheon at the Glynmill Inn on Monday.
Hosted by the Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade, the event was attended by just over 60 people.
In his address, Parsons said there is a need to “future proof” the city and looked to business as the way to do so.
“Our existence as a community is dependent on our ability to build new business here and attract new families.”
While Parsons said city hall doesn’t create business, business does, the city has a role to play. That is to facilitate natural business development and to lead the conversation on local economic development, he said.
By natural business development he was referring to the establishment of new business and the expansion of existing businesses. It’s here that the issues around development, building and zoning permits come up.
Parsons wasn’t embarrassed to say the city doesn’t have a great reputation in that regard. Some of it is fair, and some of it isn’t, he said.
And so he focused on how that can be improved, suggesting a need to take the initiative on communication with developers, make contractors aware of potential problems before they are hung up and frustrated, be more sensitive and timely in communication with developers, provide better customer service and streamline approval for development applications.
“The reason we live here in the first place is jobs,” Parsons said after his speech. “We need employment and we need taxes to enjoy a quality of life. That’s why business is so important.”
As for the perception of not being open to business, Parsons believes it can be overcome.
“It’s all about communication. If we can find a way to make sure that we identify roadblocks before they happen, then I think our business partners will see that.”
He said the city has to do a good job of being out front with those things and making sure everyone is on the same page.
“Let us take that responsibility and not just leave it in the hands of the developer or the business.”