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Building Canadian Self-Storage: Overcoming Red Tape and Politics

David Hornblow Comments

The residential and commercial construction market for new buildings is suffering as result of the economy, but does the task of constructing a self-storage facility change when times are challenging? Canada needs growth industries for revival, and self-storage is a business for which need grows as people downsize their homes and offices. In addition, efficiencies created by increased availability of skilled labor and less expensive materials should make projects more cost-effective.

As a result, we should see increased activity in new self-storage construction this year. But without proper planning and a knowledgeable development team, dealing with municipalities could cost facility owners time and money. 

The Politics of New Business

City governments want increased business activity and higher revenue now more than ever. There are politicians thrashing around with public statements decreeing they are ready, willing and able to grow new business, but they don’t really understand what they have to do to make it happen. We read news articles in which they say their town or city is open for business, with the welcome mat at the ready. But what does that mean?

Does it mean the municipalities are prepared to be more flexible when applying the regulations and bylaws for new business? So far, we can readily see this is not the case. I suspect the intent is to offer some hint of incentive but, in reality, while they need and want more revenue in the community, they have created no inducement to seed business growth.

The politicians are leading the charge with lip service, but they have neither passed bills nor modified rules to minimize the challenges of red tape. They have not made it possible for their staff, which has to work within the standing bylaws and planning regulations, to match their words and enable new business. This type of mixed messaging will not only cause the self-storage owner/developer to feel confusion and frustration with departmental personnel, it will end up costing him time and money.

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