Waterloo Region should see Amazon hub as 'viable opportunity': Vrbanovic
Ryan Flanagan, CTV Kitchener
Published Friday, September 8, 2017 6:04PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 8, 2017 6:35PM EDT
Kitchener’s mayor thinks there might be space for Waterloo Region in a competition to land one of the biggest players in the tech world.
Amazon announced this week that it is looking to expand its Seattle headquarters to a second location in North America.
The retail giant says it is looking for space for up to 50,000 employees, and is prepared to spend more than US$5 billion on the project.
Many major Canadian cities have declared interest in potentially trying to lure Amazon to town – including Toronto, where Mayor John Tory called the city a “prime candidate” for the retailer.
Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic says he thinks a Canadian home would be a “very viable” option for the company – and he sees no reason why Waterloo Region shouldn’t consider being part of that.
“These opportunities don’t happen all the time,” he said Friday.
“I think this region with its talent pool, our academic institutions and all the success we’ve had in the past, certainly would be ripe to consider this as a viable opportunity to go after.”
Vrbanovic also says he sees a possibility of the region working with Toronto or another community on a joint bid.
Any move to attract Amazon could include pushing the province to push up its time tables for high-speed rail and increased GO train service, he said.
Amazon has listed specific criteria it will consider including location, transit and access to an international airport.
Cities have until Oct. 19 to apply. A final decision is expected sometime in 2018.
With reporting by Nicole Lampa and files from The Canadian Press