Mayor Morgan, Chamber of Commerce look for supports in provincial budget

They are intersecting issues that could bring tremendous opportunities, but that are also putting significant pressures on the city, with London growing at a rate never seen before.

“I would say London is at the forefront of some of these challenges running into each other,” Mayor Josh Morgan told CTV News London on Monday. “We have tremendous opportunity on the economic growth side. That the Volkswagen plant, and the investments the province has made, can be a massive catalyst for economic development.”

That requires more affordable housing and more skilled workers. Morgan was encouraged by the province’s announcement on Thursday of $1.8 billion in infrastructure funding geared to new housing.

“We see the tremendous challenges with being a high-growth city,” he said. “We see housing affordability on the decline and the need to try to build housing as quickly as possible.”

Morgan is hoping to see other growth initiatives in the budget. As for businesses however, there continues to be a workforce challenge.

A building is seen under construction in London, Ont. on March 25, 2024. (Gerry Dewan/CTV News London)“Cross country, here in London in particular, we have members who would dearly love to hire but are having problems hiring,” said Graham Henderson, CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce.

Henderson is hoping to see post-secondary education and skilled trades supported in the budget.

“We need to encourage more students into schools, into the skilled trades. We need to give more support to our universities to assist in that. We’ve have a tuition freeze that has been going on for years,” he explained.

Henderson would also like to see more diversity programs and an emphasis on encouraging Indigenous youth who are seeking employment.

On another front, Morgan is looking for more support for social assistance programs that have increasingly been taken on by municipalities.

The budget will be released at 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

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