728 x 90

Winnipeg not amazon primed


It appears that Amazon has created one of the largest bidding wars in recent business history by announcing in early September that they were soliciting bids from cities across North America for a place to build their second headquarters — their first being in the Seattle area.
Promising to invest $5 billion in the construction of its new facility, Amazon hopes to eventually house 50,000 staff members there, gradually building up its workforce.
Amazon has some requirements, however. Its new home would ideally be in a city with at least 1 million people, an international airport, and a "stable and business-friendly environment."
It’s no surprise that cities across the continent are jumping on the opportunity to showcase their assets. In the USA alone, the officials in more than 50 cities have confirmed they are looking into or preparing to submit a proposal to Amazon. So, it’s no surprise that Canada has jumped on board as well.
Winnipeg is one of these.
With the city itself reporting a population of 735,600 in 2016 with a census metropolitan area of 811,900, the fall quite a bit short of the 1 million requirement. In fact, with a total population estimated at 1,315,100 Manitoba as a province barely meets the magic number.
My guess is that there is population requirement of 1 million for a reason – that availability of skilled workers already residing there and the ability to rapidly build new housing for those who will arrive for the job.
But, that didn’t stop the city from handing in their papers.
“We are the geographic centre of North America with excellent transportation connections to the rest of the continent and the world,” Premier Brian Pallister said about it in a press release. “We have a long history of innovation and success that we think will resonate with a company like Amazon.”
They said their proposal emphasizes the transportation and geographic advantage along with the four-season quality of life that comes with living in Winnipeg. It also highlights the abundance of low-cost clean power, the lowest corporate tax rate among metropolitan areas in Canada, the low cost of industrial and commercial land, the affordability of life for employees, and its well-educated and tech-savvy workforce.
While some of those points ring true, I believe their perimeteritis might have shadowed their view of the City’s assets.
Ever travelled east of Winnipeg? There is one road that widdles down to two lanes when the Ontario border nears, and the speed also slows. There is also only one road west and one road south and we all know the quality of those roads. But wait, have you ever travelled within the city of Winnipeg? Those might be the worst ones of all.
To top it off, we might currently see “an abundance of low-cost clean power” but with Hydro’s planned increases that won’t be that way for long.
I may sound a bit cynical, and I probably am, but when competing against some very big players like they are, I just can’t see Winnipeg coming out on top. But, if by some off change they did, it would be game changing for our province. I guess you can’t blame them for trying because you’ll never win otherwise.