Edmonton

Edmonton less business friendly than rest of region, survey finds

The City of Edmonton isn’t doing enough to attract and retain business, suggests a survey released by the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce.  

More than half of businesses surveyed say city does little to help them be competitive

Edmonton's Yeg Podfest opens Oct. 1. (Codie McLachlan/CBC)

The City of Edmonton isn't doing enough to attract and retain business, suggests a survey released by the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce.

"The city needs to do more to help businesses remain competitive, grow and thrive," said Janet Riopel, president and CEO, in a news release Thursday.

Trend Research surveyed a random sample of 250 businesses during the last two weeks of July.

Survey takers found more than half of the businesses don't believe they get good value for their property taxes, something Mayor Don Iveson said he's heard before.

"Much is made of the fact that taxes are lower in the region. Well, the region has less to buy on behalf of this whole metropolitan economy and the City of Edmonton."

Iveson said he's talking with other municipalities about "shared investment for shared benefit." 

 City council is looking to surrounding municipalities to share costs for services like transit and recreation centres, he said.

"Edmonton has been shouldering for a long time, the burden of city building for the region and that has hit all taxpayers, especially business," Iveson said.

But businesses say operating outside city limits is easier because there's less red tape, fewer regulations and easier to obtain permits in a timely manner. 

About three-quarters of Edmonton businesses surveyed disagree with the suggestion they get good value for their property taxes. (Chamber of Commerce)

Also more than half said they disapprove of the way the city manages its budgets.

The survey did show, however, that business confidence seems to be improving with nearly 40 per cent of businesses saying they believe economic conditions will get better in the next year.

@natashariebe

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