Ontario has launched a new pilot project designed to help municipalities and landowners prepare industrial sites in order to be more attractive to investors.
The Site Readiness Program is a funding initiative to help industrial sites become more equipped to attract investment. Sites of five acres or more and with varying capacity for utility servicing are eligible to apply. The one-year program will allow both urban and rural municipalities to help close a critical gap in the inventory of industrial lands used to attract global investment opportunities.
The pilot will allow landowners to complete the program in one year or less and identify which site preparatory work to complete. “One of the missing pieces in the province’s land inventory is the diversity of industrial sites to meet the needs of a variety of industries,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “The launch of the Site Readiness Program will offer municipalities and industrial landowners across the province more flexibility to help bring their sites to market more quickly, compete globally and provide more options for site selectors and investors.”
Site selectors and investors are working under shorter timelines and increased pressure due to COVID-19 constraints. They are having to rely on data and digital resources, such as websites, maps, drone videos, and reports for much more of their site selection work than ever before. Site selectors and investors require immediate access to comprehensive site details to confirm the feasibility of a location.
The new program responds to this new reality, providing site selection consultants and investors the information they need to quickly recognize a site’s strengths and potential. It helps communities make their properties more viable and test alternative routes for sites to become “investment ready.” This will expand Ontario’s industrial land inventory and support a wider range of investment opportunities.
According to the provincial government, the Site Readiness Program will build on the success of Ontario’s two existing industrial land development programs. The Job Site Challenge identifies potential mega sites, and the Investment Ready: Certified Site Program provides provincial certification and marketing support for sites once certain due diligence has been completed.