Kanata North’s business leaders say a new report that puts a dollar figure on the area’s economic impact should warrant a fresh look at infrastructure investment in the region.
The report by Ottawa-based Doyletech Corp. found that Kanata North’s total economic impact on Canada’s GDP in 2018 was $13 billion, a 66 per cent increase over the $7.8 billion reported in 2015.
A nine-per-cent increase in employees over three years and a 21-per-cent increase in the number of companies calling the tech park home have resulted in more congestion on busy thoroughfares such as March Road, said Kanata North Business Association board chair Amy MacLeod in a Thursday morning presentation of the study. Traffic and transit are two issues the ward’s new councillor, Jenna Sudds, has pledged to address.
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The study reported a 16-per-cent increase in municipal tax dollars coming from Kanata North residents and companies since 2015, plus a 40-per-cent increase in provincial tax returns and a 46-per-cent increase federally. MacLeod said it’s time to see some of that money re-invested in Canada’s largest technology park.
“We need infrastructure. We need investment in our transportation,” said MacLeod, who also serves as Mitel’s vice-president of strategic communications.
The report also found 30 per cent revenue growth in over three years, with the telecommunications, wireless and photonics sectors collectively increasing revenues by 95 per cent. Cleantech, a sector with just nine companies, saw revenue growth of 146 per cent and an employee growth of 119 per cent – likely driven by Clearford Water Systems’ recent string of acquisitions, said KNBA operations manager Veronica Farmer.
Doyletech classified revenue in two ways, according to partner Rick Clayton. Companies self-reported traditional income, but since Kanata North is home to many R&D outposts for multinational corporations, Doyletech also factored in the budgets allotted to those outposts by their head offices to account for their value generated.
“Kanata North is spearheading the research that multinationals are dependent on,” Clayton said. “That gives Kanata North a lot of leverage.”
Farmer said using that leverage will be key to continuing the pattern of growth in the tech park.
“We do need to address talent and transportation,” she said. “If we don’t do this, we’re going to lose … momentum.”