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North Bay launches suite of development incentives

Growth Community Improvement Plan includes tax, development fee rebates
Under North Bay's new Growth Community Improvement Plan, projects slated for industrial lands could qualify for a tax increment rebate, a municipal fee rebate, a development charges rebate, or a professional study grant. (Supplied photo/Invest North Bay)

The City of North Bay has introduced a suite of new financial incentives to help business flourish in the city.

On Sept. 2, the city announced a new Growth Community Improvement Plan (GCIP) to support initiatives ranging from private-sector housing projects to industrial developments to downtown and waterfront improvements.

Developed and approved prior to the onset of COVID-19, the plan builds on existing incentives, and targets both new and current businesses.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of lifestyle and the need to work safely and productively from anywhere in the world, making North Bay that much more attractive to businesses seeking locations outside of larger urban areas,” said Mayor Al McDonald in a release.

“Companies not only have the ability to work remotely, but can offer their employees a more affordable place to live with more space.”

There are 11 available programs and four areas outlined under the plan: downtown, industrial, housing, and waterfront. Some programs apply to all areas, while others are area-specific.

Some programs offer rebates on taxes or development fees, while others provide grants to improve parking, construct patios, or create public art.

The overarching goals behind the plan are to kickstart development, creating more jobs and spurring economic activity.

Sohail Rouhani of Open Sesame Asset Management is one of the early applicants to the GCIP.

With multiple properties in downtown North Bay, his plans include converting second-storey office spaces to residential units and refurbishing existing, run-down apartments with a fresh upgrade.

“The GCIP program really helps with those co-challenges when you’re doing the investment,” Rouhani explained in a promotional video launching the plan.

Michelle Trudeau, who runs the FrameMaker & Gallery in downtown North Bay, called the city’s plan “amazing.”

“Renovation and design costs a lot of money; the investment is a lot,” she said. “But I think investments like that are worth it for areas such as this because they’re part of the community.

“Downtowns are the very heartbeat of a city.”