Looking to support the transformation of main street, Chris led a project to develop a wifi toolkit for Business Improvement Areas aimed at helping them understand and streamline the implementation of wireless networks in their neighbourhoods.
Building on the Deputy-Mayor's Roundtable on Small Business held in 2014, Chris managed the Small Business Council Advisory Body in 2015 and worked with the group to develop a discussion paper on the tax issues facing small businesses in Toronto.
With a strong focus on main street businesses, the Small Business Taxation Discussion Paper identifies the three main tax issues facing small businesses in Toronto; while also profiling local small business owners and how these issues impact their operations.
The purpose of the discussion paper was to humanize the financial challenges that businesses on Toronto's main street feel.
To view the discussion paper visit here.
Overseeing the City of Toronto's Small Business Centres, Chris led the development of a client relationship management system using Salesforce to better manage and track the 28,000 clients the City's three centres serve each year.
From developing the user requirements, selecting the technology, overseeing developers and completing some development himself, Chris led all aspects of modifying Salesforce for the use of 12 staff in the City's Small Business Centres.
Leading the deployment of the platform, Chris provided training to his staff and monitored results from the platform. One year after deployment, the savings in staff time were identified to be over $150,000 - while increasing the ability of staff to better engage, track and support entrepreneurs accessing City resources.
Working with Coca-Cola and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) teams, Chris developed a proposal to assist Coca-Cola in reaching its water neutrality goal by creating a nine-hectare coastal wetland at Tommy Thompson Park on the Leslie Street Spit.
Chris' role in the project was to engage Coca-Cola and work with TRCA's technical staff to apply Coca-Cola's water neutrality methodology to restoration projects within the Greater Toronto Area. With projects identified and potential water savings calculated, Chris pitched potential projects to the Coca-Cola team.
Ultimately, Coca-Cola decided to invest $500,000 in the restoration of the Tommy Thompson Park coastal wetland.
Working with a range of public sector research and education assets, including school boards, libraries, post-secondary institutions, hospitals and local business incubators, Chris project managed the exploration of developing a York Region Research and Education Network. The purpose the initiative was to provide dedicated high-speed connectivity between York Region's education and research assets in order to foster research, collaboration and innovations in service delivery.
The project envisioned connecting all of the participating organizations via the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network so that they could take advantage of not only high-speed connectivity, but also a range of cloud-based services, internet peering and reduced costs for internet connectivity.
The Regional Municipality of York and its municipal partners have an ambitious plan to develop four new downtowns along the corridors of Highway 7 and Yonge Street. Referred to as the Region's Centres and Corridors, these areas identified as high-density multi-use communities and the location for the Region's growth in office type employment.
In order to better understand the market opportunity for commercial office development in the Region's various locations within the Centres and Corridors, as well as identify challenges to attracting commercial office development, Chris project managed an initiative to complete an economic analysis of the Region's commercial office market.
This study looked at understanding the costs and benefits of developing in the Region's Centres and Corridors and then comparing these against similar commercial office nodes in the Greater Toronto Area. With this comparison complete, the study then provided a range of policy and program recommendations for facilitating commercial office development in York Region.
Chris initiated and project managed the development of the York Region Broadband Strategy which provides a roadmap for improved connectivity for businesses, residents and the public sector in York Region.
The Strategy was developed in partnership with York Region's nine local municipal partners (Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Aurora, King, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Newmarket, East Gwillimbury and Georgina). To assist in developing the Strategy, large and small telecommunications companies were also engaged, including Bell, Rogers and Telus, to help shape the strategy's targets, recommendations and work plan.
The Strategy provides a range of recommended actions focusing on three key areas:
- Education and Advocacy - these actions focus on educating stakeholders on the importance of connectivity to their and the Region's success.
- Municipal Processes - these actions focus on ways municipal processes, such as access agreements and road re-construction projects, can be leveraged to encourage investments in connectivity infrastructure.
- Infrastructure Investments - these actions focus on identifying a range of infrastructure investments to improve connectivity for residents, businesses and the public sector.
To view the strategy visit: www.investinyork.ca/broadband.
Chris initiated and project managed the development of the York Region Post-Secondary Investment Attraction Strategy. The Strategy aims to increase the presence of post-secondary institutions within York Region in order to meet the needs of the Region's diverse economy and growing population.
The Strategy was developed in collaboration with York Region's nine local municipal partners (Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Aurora, King, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Newmarket, East Gwillimbury and Georgina) and included input from a range of stakeholders, including major employers in the Region, a number of post-secondary institutions, and thought leaders in the field of education and research.
The Strategy identifies a range of post-secondary opportunities, including everything from learning centres to meet local specific skill gaps, to establishing a comprehensive research campus. The Strategy also includes a policy framework for the Region's involvement in post-secondary investments to ensure they align with Regional planning goals and infrastructure investments.
As a result of the Partners in Project Green Strategy, Chris project managed the development of the Pearson Eco-Business Zone District Energy System Feasibility Study.
The goal of the study was to identify the business potential for district energy around Toronto Pearson International Airport (Toronto Pearson) - focusing on leveraging the Greater Toronto Airports Authority's (GTAA) existing co-generation facility for heating and cooling, as well as identifying the potential to start a new system with its own energy generation system.
The feasibility study included engaging a range of land owners and businesses in the vicinity of Toronto Pearson to identify their interest in centralized heating and cooling, while developing potential system solutions and a business model for a potential district energy system.
To view the feasibility study visit here.
Working within a public-private partnership, Chris project managed the development of the Region of Peel Spill Decision Support System - a web-based spill response system for managing chemical and oil spills within the Region of Peel.
The project's purpose was to provide spill responders a tool for storing historical spill information, tracing spills from their origination to their entry point into watercourses, and identifying potential spill sources by including a database of chemical storage within the Region.
The project required converging various databases and storm sewer datasets into a comprehensive tool that could be deployed in the field to help improve spill response, while protecting the environment.
From project initiation to completion, Chris pulled together the four municipal partners to develop the web-based spill system, identifying funding sources, developing a public-private partnership to develop the tool, and managing the consulting team through the technical development of the web-based system.