Over A Dozen China Trips, Zero Jobs

Ground breaking announcement of the new Global Development Centre to be built at the Blenheim Industrial Park. September 2014. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Mayor Randy Hope and Chatham-Kent Economic Development’s Michael Burton are wrapping up another China visit, yet the pair admits there are still no jobs to show for over 12 business trips.

“No, I mean I haven’t inked a deal that says ‘yeah, I’m coming’ … Remember, they’ve got the whole word in their backyard. Just last week there were over 1,000 business leaders and government officials here,” Mayor Hope tells BlackburnNews.com.

Recently, the for sale sign went back up at the Blenheim Business Park.

Municipal officials had previously announced a Global Development Centre would be built there, resulting in hundreds of jobs. However, those jobs hinge on the province changing legislation.

Right now, anyone who comes to Ontario in a business capacity must be able to read and write in English or French at a Grade 8 level.

“Our goal is to get the province and the government to change that equivalency that is required,” notes Hope.

Despite the legislation block, Chatham-Kent continues to pursue business opportunities overseas.

The mayor maintains that these type of relationships take time to build and that these trips will be fruitful.

“Right now, I have about four to five companies that are going to be coming in May and June with strong potential developments in Chatham-Kent,” he says.