Residents of Ward 2 issues are not exclusive to the ward. Within the past month residents still strongly feel that the water issue has not been properly dealt with and that snow removal tactics requires review. However, the most concerning issue among the majority is the future of our city. Interviewing over 1000 Ward 2 residents affirms that many are troubled that their children cannot return to Sault Ste. Marie because of the lack of opportunities.
In the 2014 Destiny Sault Ste. Marie economic report, Sault Ste. Marie perceives itself as a goods producing, steel manufacturing community. Hollingsworth states that with the reshaping of the global environment and the fluctuations of the international market, we must adapt to a changing world and re-define “who we are.” Unless the city develops a new economic base to support future growth, there will continue to be less opportunity for the younger generation.
We are economically challenged with the recent bankruptcy of Essar Steel, however there are hints of hope. There are positive changes happening in the city that need to be recognized and supported. The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre has been helping several local start-up companies in the area of science and technology that have produced new, attractive paying jobs for our community. For example, InsightWorks, is a company that creates online learning and development training software for businesses; eQOL Inc. works to empower patients to manage their care outside of the hospital environment; and, Veracity Asset Management Group specializes in critical asset management for utilities.
Businesses such as these have the goal to grow globally and build new jobs in the community. It is these types of businesses that Sault Ste. Marie needs in order to be competitive on the world stage. In such a rapidly evolving employment landscape, the ability to anticipate and prepare for future skills requirements, job content and the aggregate effect on employment is increasingly critical for businesses, governments and individuals in order to fully seize the opportunities presented by these trends—and to mitigate undesirable outcomes. According to the World Economic Forum held recently, “we are today at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Using the outcomes from the World Economic Forum, Economic Report 2014 published by Destiny Sault Ste. Marie, and information provided by Algoma Workforce, can offer valuable direction for our community,” says Hollingsworth.
A shared economic strategy crafted by all community groups, residents, business leaders and educational institutes is required. No singular sector alone can promote vibrancy in our community. Diversity of wages, skills, jobs, and sectors is key. We need to take advantage of our expanding broadband and telecommunication networks as well. These are essential when participating and competing in an economy that is increasingly based upon knowledge, innovation, and instant communication.
Hollingsworth believes that our city must live by the proverb, “you either make your future, or it will be made for you.” Whatever the economic plan that we as a community draft, it must be able to adapt to change as the world economy fluctuates. Change can be an exciting time, if we properly plan for our future.