Last week, Morden City Council passed a by-law authorizing Morden Community Development Corporation (MCDC) to purchase a parcel of land designated for industrial development. 

Mayor Brandon Burley explained why now. 

"The City of Morden is in a position where we've sold the majority of our industrial land. We have a substantial appetite, right now, for businesses and people wanting to buy industrial land, particularly in a situation where we aren't in a position where we could satisfy a large business coming in, or wanting to set up shop. We just don't have the Industrial land available, now the last large pieces have been sold, and the majority of the small stuff has been sold as well." 

Burley described the process to purchase the $2.9 million parcel of land. 

"We've been looking at, not only as a city but in partnership with MCDC, at identifying in purchasing new industrial land, MCDC has done a lot of work on this, and a purchase agreement is in place for 142.5 acres of new industrial land South of Willcocks Rd,  will be developed in two phases. It will allow us to immediately satisfy new business interest in industrial land, and it adds to the industrial commercial portion of the tax base, which is excellent for our community because it allows us to defer and start to chip away at the apportionment on residential property." 

When asked about how growth is possible with labour shortages affecting businesses in the area, he replied, 

"We do have a labour-based immigration stream that is second to none in the country, and we're also still a reasonable place to live, in terms of cost and community safety and total value proposition. After COVID, people are looking to live a little more simply, or not having to return to an office in a bigger center, there are those opportunities now to live further afield. Morden has a tremendous value proposition when it comes to attracting displaced labour, just like what we've tried to do in attracting displaced businesses."  

The intersection at 9th St S and Willcocks RDMorden Community Development Corportation Board Chair Rod Wolfe stated acquiring more industrial land has been a goal of the board over the last few years, noting industrial businesses are the backbone of the city's growth.

In response to a question about adequate infrastructure support, in light of the recent drought and wastewater capacity limitations, he answered,

"It's our understanding these things have to happen in tandem. You can't say, 'We have the luxury of only solving one problem at a time.' That's not how municipalities work. If we supply all the water in the world or all the sewer capacity, but nobody uses it, all those costs offload to a much smaller population base. So, growth is something that happens in a very concerted way, and it has to happen in a multifaceted approach, with respect to the delivery of services. It can't be one or the other, it has to be all of them." 

Board Chair Rod Wolfe made this statement on behalf of the MCDC Board. 

"MCDC recognizes that industrial businesses are the backbone of the city's growth. Our industrial park has been filling up nicely, so acquiring more land has been one of our goals for the past few years. We'd like to thank City Council for giving us the required tools to be successful."