Sudbury

Sault Ste. Marie goes after Amazon

As one of the world’s richest companies looks for a second North American home, a small city in northeastern Ontario is putting up its hand.

Sault city councillors undeterred by Amazon seeking host city with at least 1 million people.

The International Bridge connects Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. (www.saultbridge.com)

As one of the world's richest companies looks for a second North American home, a small city in northeastern Ontario is putting up its hand.

Sault Ste. Marie city council voted unanimously Monday night to put in a bid for Amazon's second headquarters, a $5 billion project that could come with as many as 50,000 jobs.

"Don't just read the headlines and think 'It'll never happen' think 'How do we make it happen?'" said city councillor Matthew Shoemaker, who tabled the motion.

"And if we don't land Amazon's headquarters at least we'll have made an honest effort to do so and who knows, maybe we'll entice another business to take a second look at Sault Ste. Marie.

A number of Canadian cities have put themselves forward to join Seattle as the home of Amazon, including Halifax, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver.

Shoemaker says despite being smaller, the Sault does have some advantages.

"They are looking for a second headquarters for their next 50 to 100 years. Here again, the Sault has the upper hand. Popular Science put out an article earlier this year saying that by the year 2100, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan will be the safest environment and climate in North America," Shoemaker told council.

"We will not be faced by the hurricanes of the southern and eastern borders and the droughts and wildfires of the western borders."

(Reuters)

Veteran Sault Ste. Marie city councillor Steve Butland joked that after Shoemaker's impassioned speech, most other cities will "probably consider dropping out."

City councillor Paul Christian supported the striking of a committee to put together a bid, but he did wonder about Amazon's preference that the host city have at least 1 million people. The Sault is a bit shy with 73,000 and another 13,000 across the river in Michigan.

"As much as I appreciate the enthusiasm and the vision, if it's something that's a game breaker, I wouldn't want to see anybody waste too much time," Christian told council.

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