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Four Canadian cities form joint effort to market Niagara region to firms

Four Canadian border cities are banding together to promote the Niagara region to companies throughout Canada, the U.S. and beyond.

Officials in Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, Welland and St. Catharines said the joint effort is called the Niagara Development Corridor Partnership.

"Whatever is good for the area is good for all of us, including Buffalo," said James Thibert, general manager of the Fort Erie Economic Development & Tourism Corp. "It's not competing, trying to attract folks from Buffalo or Niagara Falls (N.Y.)"

The four development offices, with combined personnel of about 17, will jointly launch an $85,000 marketing program to businesses throughout Canada in October.

The cities, with a combined population of about 300,000, will stress their position on the border of the U.S. market, with four international crossings, and their high quality of life to potential new corporate citizens.

The partnership can help businesses with site selection and guidance in planning and development. It also provides demographic and other research for business planning.

The alliance among the four cities grows out of discussions and working ties that have developed between their development units over the past three years. The proximity of the communities and their shared labor pool allows them to collaborate rather than compete for corporate interest, Thibert said.

"We tend to have a very buoyant labor market -- lots of people work in one community and live in another," Thibert said. About 6,000 Fort Erie residents work in nearby communities, he said.

In addition, regional sharing of tax revenue in Canada makes a company's location less important as a source of property taxes for any individual city, he said.

"If someone comes onto the Web site and (Fort Erie) doesn't work out, I can refer them to Niagara Falls," he said. "We don't want to lose that lead."


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