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