Strong Local Economy

Blue Zones Project Designation

  • Blue Zones Grocery Stores complete actions to make healthy food choices easier, including adding healthy checkout lanes, offering cooking classes or promoting healthy end cap displays 

  • Blue Zones Community Policy work includes built environment policies, healthy-eating policies and tobacco-free policies. These help create a community that encourages natural movement, increases access to healthy food, and promotes clean air
    • Complete Streets Policy
    • Healthy Eating Policies

  • Blue Zones Schools complete actions to help get kids moving and make healthy choices easy, including adding Walking School Busses, redesigning lunchrooms or offering brain breaks in classrooms

  • Blue Zones Restaurants complete actions to offer healthy options to patrons, including making healthy sides the default choice, serving Blue Zones-inspired dishes or offering outdoor dining areas

  • Blue Zones Worksites complete actions to improve employee well-being, including adding standing desks, growing on-site gardens or offering regular biometric screenings

  • Mindfulness Meditation & Aging (55+) for the body, mind and the aging process 

Cities leading by example:

  • 15 communities in Iowa
  • Albert Lea, MN

Learn more

Business property tax rates are uncompetitive

Read how I intend to make property taxes more fair

Commercial & Office Tax Rates 

(CT, DT, ST, XT, YT, ZT)

Milton - 1.609093%

Markham - 1.611999%

Richmond Hill - 1.641301%

Vaughan - 1.654254%

Oakville - 1.706085%

Burlington - 1.709682%

Mississauga - 1.984042%

Brampton - 2.141485%

Toronto - 2.403851%

Industrial Tax Rates

(IT, LT)

Markham - 1.874334%

Richmond Hill - 1.909938%

Vaughan - 1.925676%

Mississauga - 2.224154%

Brampton - 2.443981%

Toronto - 2.4470392%

Milton - 2.493215%

Oakville - 2.650367%

Burlington - 2.656195%

Employment Centres/ Office Parks that are thriving provide mixed-use, walkable workplaces for talented workers to integrate their lifestyle into their work & employers are following. Places working towards this have higher rents and lower vacancy rates

Cities leading by example:

Doral, FL

Mashpee, Ma

Tysons, VA

Houston, TX

Arlington, VA

In order to proceed with retrofitting these land uses critical issues must be addressed:

  • Building codes specifically sprinkler requirements 

  • Inclusionary zoning 

  • Reducing parking minimums 

  • Protections for existing affordable housing 

  • Missing middle, liner buildings, micro units, & accessory dwellings 

  • Policies & incentives to implement equity such as: 100 percent replacement units when garden apartments are densified 

  • Educate public on the advantages (higher tax revenue per acre) 

  • Public sector can ease financing through rezoning and/or contributing public land 

  • Nonprofits can also be helpful players in financing projects 

  • Land trusts 

  • Transit-oriented development funds 

  • Incentivize coalition of property owners by density increases to pay for walkable street network improvements 

  • Public infrastructure improvements 

  • Tax Increment Financing 

  • Ensure that existing commercial zones and building codes allow artisan manufacturing businesses. Add an artisan manufacturing definition to the local land-use code if needed 

  • Create an incentive in target zoning areas to develop a minimum square footage of ground floor micro-enterprise space for small manufacturing businesses. For example, an incentive might be to provide a density bonus in exchange for development of affordable space for production within a new mixed-use project or reuse of older industrial properties central to the community 

  • Develop an overlay zone to protect existing industrial buildings from conversion to other uses, or create a district designation that both protects these uses and allows for live-work space and some commercial development 

  • Consider zoning that allows office and retail development on vacant industrial properties if new development includes a minimum square footage of new light industrial development as well 

  • Work with private developers to redevelop surplus city-owned properties with a requirement to include a minimum square footage for small-scale manufacturing businesses

Reintroduce freight to passenger rail​

  • Cheaper than transporting by truck
  • Trains don't damage roads like trucks do
  • Trucks don't pay their fair share

Combine freight with transit

  • An affordable way for small scale businesses to transport goods
  • Makes low ridership routes equitable
  • Makes our roads less congested

Downsize existing transit & multiply it to cover more ground & combine it with services to make buses affordable​

  • School sites provide a right sized system for getting home grown vegetables & products to market
  • Permanent Farmers Markets at Transit Hubs & School Sites

Give more support to family farms & provide incentives for:

  • Crop rotations

  • Reduced usage of pesticides & herbicides

  • Pasture-raised meat

  • Organic practices

Quality of life indicators

Housing affordability

Educational resources

  • The number of elementary and secondary school teachers per 1,000 students aged 5-19 assumes the greater the number of teachers per student popula­tion, the better the education 

Income distribution within a region

The lower the homicide rate, the more attractive the city

Transportation issues are assessed by comparing

  • Commute times in each city 
  • Employed labour force that does not drive an automobile to work 
  • A high proportion of non-car com­muters is more sustainable 
  • These cities tend to have better access to public transit, better bike paths, and/or better walking paths, making them more attractive 

Environment factors are measured by: 

  • Air quality 
  • Level of moderation in the temperature in the region 
  • Domestic water usage 


So how do we grow jobs?

  • The answer is not "something for nothing"
  • It is a long, difficult and purposeful retooling of our economy around a strategy of localization
  • It is the exact opposite of what we are doing now

More productive land use & higher-ROI urban design gives us resources to:

  • Pay down debt & invest in our people and skills
  • From early education to elementary & secondary
  • A range of pathways to reach technical or professional expertise as: Doctors, lawyers, engineers, senior managers, accountants, scientists,  academics, judges, professors, & Information Communication Technol­ogy (ICT)

Capitalize on the skills and talents of newcomers 

  • 55% of new immi­grants have a university degree
  • Many are under-employed
  • Policies enhancing the influence of immi­grants on export performance would be one way to utilize their skills and talents

  • A tripartite agreement between trade unions, employers, & the government on a "basic integration program for refugees" so that they become able to support themselves and their families

Grow Stage 2 businesses

  • ​​Creates market demand for more Stage 1 enterprises
  • Over time, develops a workforce that attracts Stage 3 employers
  • Spaces being split into micro-units to lower startup costs & create entrepreneurial energy

  • Recruit small-scale manufacturers to target retail locations in the community to support reinvestment and build up the attraction and energy in an area

  • Provide matchmaking services for potential tenants with local developers interested in this sector

  • Connect business owners to resources like commercial shared kitchens or makerspace facilities to expand their production at low risk

  • Provide small business training and entrepreneurship programs specific to the needs of production businesses, similar to those provided to other types of local businesses

  • Create a marketing brand for locally made products, with an online directory of participating manufacturers and products

  • Establish a one-stop shop either within the local government or at a partnering non-profit to ensure that small producers know where to go for help

  • Provide Tax Increment Financing (TIF) or Payment in Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) awards for a development’s commitment to below market lease rates for small manufacturing businesses in target locations

  • Help to connect Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) with small-scale manufacturers. CDFIs have experience funding unconventional borrowers to help small businesses meet their goals

  • Connect community development corporations or private developers to new market tax credits (NMTC), historic preservation tax credits (HPTC) to reduce the cost of redevelopment for a project

  • Engage local non-profit organizations that work directly with businesses owned by people of color, women, and local immigrant populations to build an inclusive network and services

  • Build a partnership with anchor institutions that commit to purchasing a minimum percent of supplies or services from the local small-scale manufacturing community

  • Convene local philanthropy and corporate investors to support makerspaces, apprenticeships, and workforce training programs with placements in local manufacturing jobs 

  • Partner with community colleges to offer vocational training that includes industrial manufacturing tools as well as entrepreneurship programs for the trades

  • Work with workforce development programs to help small-scale manufacturers find local hires, and showcase manufacturing employment opportunities through internships, events, and school trips

Cities leading by example:

Host provincial & national tournaments

  • Work closely with the Brampton Sports Alliance

Opportunities through trade

  • Information Technology (Indonesia)
  • Processed Food (China)
  • Education & Knowledge Creation (India)

Make better use of tax incentives:

  • Expand existing businesses

  • Employ people who can't  find work

  • Limit incentives to just one year

  • Get rid of refundability

  • Opportunity Fund for low income communities