Summerside mayor stays on path to create jobs, better business environment

Nancy MacPhee
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Bill Martin says Prince Alex Resort, when it opens, will be a game changer that may employ more than 200

Bill Martin

SUMMERSIDE - Summerside Mayor Bill Martin has lofty goals for Summerside in 2016.

Up first is inching closer to his goal of 1,000 jobs by the end of his four-year term.

Another is attracting new businesses and growth to the city.

In 2015, there were 60 registrations of new businesses in Summerside.

“There are somewhere between 40 and 60 actual start-ups in the last year,” said Martin, explaining not all are storefronts, visible to the public. “They are all over the place. That’s what makes it difficult.”

He pointed to the ongoing construction of the new gas station on Granville Street, a business that will include a Petro Canada and four restaurants, bringing with it 40 new jobs.

Then there is the Prince Alex Resort, what Martin has repeatedly called “a game changer” for the City of Summerside. He said, when complete, the resort could employ more than 200.

“You couldn’t say that you could give Bill Martin credit for it, but I think it is reasonable to say that I have a really good relationship with Sean Liu, which has not hurt our cause at all.”

The announced closure of several businesses in 2015, namely Wiebel Aerospace, Sears, the Holman Homestead and others, is worrisome, admitted the mayor, but he added “everything is cyclical.”

“The biggest single industry, where there will be volatility, that is very fragile is retail. That entire environment is in a state of turmoil. It always has been. It goes in cycles. It won’t surprise me if you see more retail businesses close because of the nature of the industry,” he said. “If anybody had predicted five years ago that Hemphill’s, Clark’s and Summerside Chrysler would have new owners... everybody would have said you’re crazy. That is the nature of business.”

Martin, with a successful business of his own, feels that his background is an asset when it comes to the city’s top job and helping attract new business to Summerside.

“The opportunity that we are hopefully going to announce to you within two or three weeks would not have happened if the person had not been sitting where you are sitting and said these are the circumstances but this is the challenge, how are we going to fix it,” he said.

“I am doing this because I had a lot of encouragement to run. I had the time to do it. I want to make a difference. I bring a certain business acumen, and also a whole other career that I had in personal development, which I have been able to use pieces of in this role.”

Organizations: Petro Canada, Prince Alex Resort

Geographic location: Summerside, Granville Street

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Recent comments

  • Billy
    January 10, 2016 - 10:22

    Sounds like someone who recently got elected and not keeping his promises either. Food for thought, never elect anyone based on promises!

  • Summerside Resident
    January 09, 2016 - 08:50

    Mr Mayor, you had nothing to do with the Prince Alex Resort. This was past Mayor BAsil Stewart and others. We all know it, so if I was you drop that idea of you being part of it. This is being untruthful. Your job is to have Ecomonic Developent do their job to bring business to our community. Your job is to see Councillors run the City in a prudent way and living within our means. You ran on Transparency, 1000 jobs and fiscial restaint. You have failed todate. SHOW US WHERE THESE 60 NEW BUSINESS LOCATIONS ARE AND WHO THEY ARE,. Your announcement not to run after this term does nothing for long term vision for our City. I would suggest you step down now before you go oput with total embarrassment. Not releasing the Hopping Report in its entirity was your first mistake, you promised this on the campaign trail. All the real players escaped any accountabilityand this Mr Mayor is just not right. When you dont have the guts to fix a problem, mark my words you will be embarrassed again as it only gets worse. This new talk about amalgamation is ridiculous when one looks what Summerside did since 1995. You cannot hide mismanagement and untruths. Thats usually catches up to anyone.