London needs an Economic Development Fund

London needs investment dollars to jump start our community’s revitalization of the downtown.  Our citizens have shared their ideas and goals for the city’s economic development projects and the vision is coming together.  We have agreed that we need to begin by making improvements in the heart of our city and we have attracted interest from the private sector. However, in order to get things moving – to get to the next level and develop private/public partnerships the City of London needs to bring investment dollars to the table.

Private companies have indicated they are willing to move forward to help get London growing again, but a partnership means each side brings something to the table and when we are talking building and development we are talking money.  To achieve our vision, to get the ball rolling and job creation underway, the City must be able to provide investment dollars for specific projects.  The private sector will also bring dollars to the table. It’s how business is done – that’s a partnership.

An economic development investment fund will also allow us to leverage money from other levels of government. When the Federal and Provincial governments put together programs to encourage and support local infrastructure and development, the prerequisites for accessing these funds is again often dependent on the municipality being able to match funds or provide a percentage of dollars. When opportunities for government program grants and partnerships arise London needs to have plans in place and its dollar in hand.  In the past, London has missed out on its share of project funding from other levels of government because it wasn’t ready. We need to be ready.  London needs to take the next step toward responsible planning and investment in its future, in our children’s future.

The idea of a community building fund isn’t new but I believe it is a viable option for London. The money invested by Londoners will be designated for the purpose of economic development and the fund will be transparent. You will see where your investment dollars are benefiting your community, your family, your friends and your neighbours.

I look forward to hearing your ideas and comments and I encourage you to email me at

Honourable Joe Fontana

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