Southern mayors concerned about job growth

Posted By JOHN VESSOYAN/Tribune Staff

WELLAND

The people of Port Colborne should be excited about North America Traffic, says regional Chair Peter Partington. 

The company that invented and built the first remote-controlled flagman to improve work zone safety has “grown 500% in four years with customers around the world,” Partington said in his state-of-the-region address to south Niagara folk Thursday. 

North America Traffic is expected to grow because of increased rentals and sales, says its vice-president Justin Di Francesco. Located on 7 Petersburg Circle in Port Colborne, the company founded by Peter Vieveen, currently employs 20 people. 

Port Colborne Mayor Vance Badawey is pleased with the progress the company has made. 

“They’re growing by leaps and bounds. They’ve got a great product — it’s gone from local to national to international. It’s quite a unique product,” Badawey said following Partington’s address. 

The region’s economic gateway initiative is also important for the growth of the city and region, Badawey believes. 

“The gateway centre is in fact what is bringing everything together — people outside of Niagara are recognizing what we have to offer, especially in south Niagara,” he said. 

“With the infrastructure, the land, our location, the initiatives such as the roads that we’re building, marry that with existing infrastructure such as the canal and the rail, we are the place to be.” – 

Even though Partington didn’t spend too much time discussing south Niagara Thursday, he did talk about issues that affect us all, which was to the liking of Welland Mayor Damian Goulbourne. 

“The biggest issue in Niagara, and we all know it, is we need more jobs,” Goulbourne said, adding it’s tough to pinpoint one issue. 

“Not that I’m avoiding the question, it’s just it’s so complex. Right now it’s waste management — that’s the biggest issue facing us.” 

Goulbourne said last year’s recession might cost the region in the long term. 

“The biggest issue we’re going to be facing in the future is when it comes to those who are on social assistance. Our numbers have gone up because of the recession and it doesn’t go down when jobs are created — it actually takes two, three, four years to recover. So, our costs are going to escalate when it comes to social assistance,” he explained.