London Inc. Weekly 06 • 28 • 2019

Rogers to pilot 5G technology in London

Photo: Rogers will begin installing a 5G technology pilot project in London later this year

THE CITY OF London has agreed to a two-year pilot project that will see tech giant Rogers Communications Inc. installing 5G network devices at three locations in the city.

The project, which will begin later this year, will see devices installed on 31 traffic light posts and traffic signals, allowing residents with 4G-plus or 5G-compatible devices to access 5G connectivity.

“What’s so exciting about this is that this creates the capacity for the next generation of really exciting technologies such as autonomous vehicles, IoT or the Internet of Things technology, augmented reality and virtual reality,” said Mat Daley, the city director of IT services, in an interview with the London Free Press. “All of those new, exciting technologies require high-speed, high connectivity, all characteristics of 4G-plus and 5G networks.”

The three locations identified by city staff to test the project are the commercial plaza at Fanshawe Park and Hyde Park roads, the Western University campus and the downtown area around Budweiser Gardens and Dundas Place.

The project will have no cost to taxpayers, as Rogers is footing the bill for the initiative.

It’s worth noting that Canadian carriers have yet to launch their 5G networks because the federal government has yet to auction off the necessary spectrum. Innovation, Science and Economic Minister Navdeep Bains announced changes to the 3500Mhz spectrum auction that is to take place next year and gave more detail on the millimetre wave auction the year after.


City report says failure to fill open position puts city in “job crisis”

Photo: Mayor Ed Holder delivered the findings of the London Jobs Now task force on Wednesday

A CITY TASK force report has found London has a problem, not with creating jobs, but rather in a struggle to fill vacant positions.

The declaration was made in a report released on Wednesday by the London Jobs Now task force, a group established by Mayor Ed Holder in April in an attempt to address the city’s relatively low labour force participation rates.

Although London has the lowest employment rate (the number of employed divided by the population) of the 35 census metropolitan areas measured by Statistics Canada, the London Jobs Now Task Force Report states that research limitations for unemployment rates leave only a small fraction of the city’s job-seeking unemployed accounted for.

The city’s labour force participation rate, which refers to the number of people in the entire community who are working, sits at a historically low 58 per cent. Of London’s 78,000 people without a job (between the ages of 25 to 64), 68,000 of aren’t actively looking for one. 

London Chamber of Commerce general manager and task force member, Gerry McCartney, said in a statement, “I am afraid we have arrived at a point in time where celebrating a drop or two in the unemployment rate is not worth celebrating at all when measured against one of the lowest participation rates in the country. It’s time to act.”

As to the cause of the problem, the report finds it is partly due to the area hosting a higher number of people not available to work due to studies or a serious mental or physical health issue.

The other major factor is the ‘hidden unemployed’, those available to work who haven’t recently searched for a job—possibly due to a lack of reliable public transit to industrial areas and/or a lack of effective engagement by the city.

The report’s suggested fixes to address the jobs crisis include better transit for south and east industrial areas, developing a sustainable business plan for fill jobs and implementing a centralized online job board for the local region, which is set to go live on today.

“London has many priorities, but nothing is more important than filling our current job openings,” said Mayor Ed Holder in a statement. “The Task Force has laid out a path, it’s time to get the job done.


Swoop adds three new winter destinations from YXU

Photo: Discount airline Swoop will begin winter service to Las Vegas, Orlando and Cancun from London this fall

ON THE HEELS of the announcement that Air Transat will offer seasonal service from London to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic beginning this December, the London International Airport has announced that low-cost carrier Swoop will soon offer direct flights from YXU to Las Vegas, Orlando and Cancun.

The WestJet subsidiary will begin twice weekly, non-stop flights to the three destinations starting October 3, and continue them through the winter months until April 25, 2020.

“These added flights are further indications of Swoop’s success in London,” said Michael Seabrook, CEO at London International Airport. “With the combination of great flight dates and ultra-low cost fares, we hope travellers in Southwestern Ontario make the most of these new flights this winter.”

Swoop began flying out of London earlier this year, offering direct flights between London and Abbotsford, B.C., Edmonton and Halifax. Swoop will continue flights to Edmonton and Abbotsford for the winter season, offering daily departures excluding Saturday.

Tickets for the three new U.S. and Mexico destinations went on sale to travellers Tuesday.


Gateway Casinos unveils proposed ‘Starlight’ casino facility for south London

Photo: Starlight Point Edward was the first Starlight brand to open in Ontario

EARLIER THIS WEEK, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited presented Londoners with a first look at its proposed $75-million London casino at a public meeting held at the London Chamber of Commerce.

It’s the second time in two years Canada’s largest private casino operator has unveiled plans for a casino complex in the city, this time in the city’s south end.

The 9,290-square-metre ‘Starlight’ branded facility will include several restaurants, and the gaming floor will hold some 40 table games and 900 slot machines. The B.C.-based casino giant is billing the project as its largest investment in Ontario to date.

Gateway has applied to rezone the site, located at 3334 and 3354 Wonderland Road South, and will make its pitch to the city’s Planning and Environment Committee next month.

The Wonderland Road application does not include a hotel, which was part of the 2017 casino proposal for Western Fairgrounds, the original location where Gateway proposed a $140-million casino complex. Those details were presented to council 18 months ago, but the company abandoned plans for that site after negotiations with the Western Fair stalled. It then went on to purchase the southwest lands from concrete company N-J Spivak Ltd. 

If approved, construction is slated to start in September and Gateway intends to open the casino in 2021. The company estimates the new casino will create 700 full- and part-time jobs.


Featured Business Event

London Chamber Business After Five Summer Bash | July 18, 2019, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The July Business After Five is the Chamber’s annual summer bash. Info- Tech Research Group invites you to its new rooftop patio for some networking with hamburgers, hot dogs, beer and wine! Located at the corner of Ridout and King streets, the newly refurbished historical property is a striking blend of carefully restored exposed-brick walls and beamed ceiling with cutting-edge design and technology. 

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