Business leaders react to Sutcliffe mayoralty win

Sutcliffe

From transit to red tape and from zoning to tourism, Ottawa’s business community will have many points of intersection and discussion with the city’s new mayor-elect Mark Sutcliffe and his team. OBJ compiled a few reaction quotes from some of the leaders in the various sectors that make up the Ottawa business community.

Sueling Ching, president and CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade (OBOT)

The Ottawa Board of Trade is looking forward to working closely with Mark Sutcliffe and our new city council to build up Ottawa as an affordable, inclusive and sustainable community, a world-class capital city. Today marks a new opportunity for bold visioning, fiscal discipline and radical collaboration to achieve business success and prosperity for all. Let’s go, team Ottawa, let’s go!

Michelle Groulx, executive director, Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA)

OCOBIA has been working closely with the mayor’s office and economic development staff for years and we expect to continue this working relationship for the foreseeable future. Key policies that we are looking forward to working together on are:

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  • The downtown revitalization plan to restore our downtown core by attracting people through various means. We will work with the mayor to establish the needs of the businesses and the people who live in the core to create a dynamic and vibrant area.
  • Improvements to public transit. Our city’s routes need to be revisited in order to meet the demands and needs of residents and workers. The traditional suburb-to-downtown commute no longer applies. Businesses are looking for better service to safely and reliably get their staff to and from work. As our BIAs span from Orleans to Carp to Manotick, public transit provides business owners a greater breadth of access to the labour market.
  • More efficiencies in city hall for businesses. The mayor’s proposal of creating a “one-stop shop” to service businesses will cut red tape and delays that are costly to business operations. We all want businesses to succeed — reducing delays for permits and providing proactive guidance is a means for the city to support business prosperity.

There are so many policies that impact businesses by means of offering better quality of life for their staff. Affordable housing, better transit, reducing crime, supporting culture and music; these all play an intertwining role in bettering our business community.

Dean Karakasis, executive director and CEO, Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA)

BOMA wishes to congratulate Mayor-elect Mark Sutcliffe and all returning and new council members. BOMA members are leaders in sustainability, economic development and city-building and are always participants in important stakeholder input for city initiatives. We look forward to working together to make Ottawa one of the best cities in Canada.

Jason Burggraaf, executive director, Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association (GOHBA)

GOHBA and its members look forward to working with the new mayor and council on Ottawa’s housing needs. Mark was the first candidate to prioritize housing supply for all residents by setting a goal of 10,000 new homes per year. We can help the City identify where there are impediments to building more homes in their processes and regulations and the city-imposed costs that negatively impact housing affordability. Building enough new homes for current and future residents of Ottawa will require a partnership between the City and the residential construction industry, so we’re looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting at it.

Steve Ball, president, Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association (OGHA)

The hotel industry is pleased with the outcome of the election and wishes Mark every success as the mayor of Ottawa. He took the time to meet with the OGHA board during his campaign to hear our concerns and to discuss the opportunities we have ahead of us to grow tourism. He listened intently and was very interested in the issues that may impede that growth. Mayor Sutcliffe understands the business community and the value tourism brings to Ottawa, particularly in the downtown core where the absence of federal government employees is having such a negative impact. He has a plan for the next phase of the ByWard Market, an important tourism asset for our city. The tourism industry is there to support the City and looks forward to working together with council to enhance the visitor experience.

MICHAEL CROCKATT, PRESIDENT AND CEO, Ottawa Tourism

Ottawa Tourism looks forward to a close working relationship with Mayor-elect Mark Sutcliffe. We are convinced that he recognizes the importance of tourism — pre-pandemic, the third-largest industry in the city — to Ottawa and the tourism policies he put forward during the campaign are very consistent with the way that Ottawa Tourism is working to develop the destination.

We work closely with the City of Ottawa, specifically on things like place branding and attracting major events, and that will continue.

The board, members and staff of Ottawa Tourism anticipate a strong partnership with the City of Ottawa mayor and council, as well as staff, as we continue to rebuild after the devastating effects of the pandemic.

Michael Tremblay, president and CEO, Invest Ottawa

Mark is well-known in the city and it’s fantastic to have him in the mayor’s chair; both lead candidates had great campaigns and both should be proud. Keeping in mind that, even though we’re post-pandemic, we’re deep in the fourth industrial revolution. The pandemic accelerated the pace at which the new economy is moving around the world; we have to be sharp as a region.

Something that wasn’t really discussed was the airport. It is extremely important to the tech sector, in particular. The city has spent time on it pre-election and going forward we can’t ignore that. That’s the key one. 

There’s also the issue of the downtown core. When I think of Ottawa’s economy, I think of what the future of the downtown core should hold. It’s important to have a vibrant downtown. 

Third would be that talent remains extremely important, especially within the tech sector. Mark has a very strong position on talent with partners in the region and we want to work and stay focused on talent production and talent attraction. We need to make sure we can attract from markets around the world. 

In the pandemic, various economic development partners spent time working closely together, for example, Ottawa Tourism, OCOBIA, OBOT, OMIC and Ottawa Film. We came together as the mayor’s economic development task force and it was very beneficial. We had never worked more closely together. We need to keep the energy on. That will pay off extremely well in ensuring Ottawa is well-positioned for the future. We should keep pushing on that.

We’re vying for our share of the world market. The world needs Ottawa but we need to maintain being a competitive city. The fourth industrial revolution is a fusion of digital, physical and biological worlds and tech is in everything. Outside of government, we’re best at tech. We’re a heavy tech city, so this should be our moment, but we have to make it happen. 

Ottawa’s swagger is the single most important thing we can do right now. We have to compete and seize the moment and I know Mark knows that.

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