SUMMERSIDE – Summerside is looking to reap benefits from its attendance at a major international trade show in Cannes, France.
© Nancy MacPhee/Journal Pioneer
Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart says 2011 was a year of progress for the city.
Mayor Basil Stewart and the city’s economic development director, Mike Thususka, just returned from Le marche international de professionels de l’immobilier (MIPIM), in Cannes, France where the city was shoulder to shoulder with some of the largest municipalities in the world promoting Summerside on a global front.
The MIPIM, the world’s property market, brings together the most influential players from all international property sectors - office, residential, retail, health care, sport, logistics and industrial - offering access to the greatest number of development projects and sources of capital worldwide.
The city won the opportunity to attend the trade show after a presentation by Thususka to the Economic Development Association of Canada was selected as the best in the country. The city was awarded a $15,000 contribution and a booth in the MIPIM showcase.
“I thought it over and said there’s an opportunity here to promote our city, our projects and our waterfront and our downtown and our proposed new industrial park to investors who were there from all over the world,” Stewart said. “It was the 25th anniversary of this trade show and there was approximately 200 booths from around the world and more than 20,000 people showcasing things.”
Stewart said it was the goal of the Summerside delegation to promote the city and try to attract employment-generating businesses.
“The world is at your fingertips nowadays, and there are investors from all over the world looking for places to invest money whether it’s in commercial real estate, residential real estate or anything in regards to an investment,” the mayor said. “After being there I think there’s a great opportunity for Atlantic Canada and Prince Edward Island to be there in some way, shape or form and promoting the area in general.”
Stewart said there were 80 mayors there from around the world and Summerside was the only city there from Canada.
Along with promoting the city at the showcase, Stewart had the opportunity to engage with mayors from around the world to discuss economic development and profile Summerside.
“I was asked to participate in the mayors’ round table discussions,” he said. “That was an interesting situation, to be sitting there at the same table with these mayors from these other cities and it gave me the opportunity to speak on Summerside. As well, there was the mayors’ morning breakfast discussion. I got the chance to meet the mayors from Paris, London Cannes, Switzerland and Sweden. Stewart said the trade show is a perfect setting for the province, the region and the federal government promote what Canada has to offer nationally and locally.
“Our lobster industry, what an opportunity there to promote Prince Edward Island lobster,” he said. “The federal government of Scotland provided an opportunity for all of Scotland’s municipalities to be promoted. They had been there promoting Scotland in general, not only residential and commercial investments. Their number one industry now is tourism.”
Stewart said besides the trade show, there were presentation rooms for more intimate discussions.
He said the feedback has been excellent.
“It surprised me that these places around the world are looking for other places to go to invest,” he said. “Mike (Thususka) made a lot of connections, and there will be people coming here to have a look at our city and see what we have to offer in regards to investment.”
The Summerside delegation also included representation from the Summerside Regional Development Corporation and real estate brokers. Stewart said these people went on their own and were not part of the city group.
Whenever a trip of this nature is taken, the question of cost does arise.
“We were subsidized through the $15,000 (from the Economic Development Association of Canada) and the federal government through their Foreign Direct Investment Program, was subsidizing some of it as well,” Stewart said.
The mayor did say there will be some cost to the city but he was not sure what that amount is.
“It will probably cost us a few dollars,” he said. “It’s an investment, I think, that will pay off.”