News / Winnipeg

'Our absolute best': Winnipeg vies for (unlikely) Amazon bid

Local politicians weigh in on why our city makes an attractive landing pad for the tech giant.

An Indian security guard walks inside Amazon's largest Fulfillment Centre (FC) in India, on the outskirts of Hyderabad on September 7, 2017.

NOAH SEELAM / AFP

An Indian security guard walks inside Amazon's largest Fulfillment Centre (FC) in India, on the outskirts of Hyderabad on September 7, 2017.

Could humble Winnipeg upset dozens of larger metropolitan areas and be a surprise winner of the Amazon’s-next-headquarters sweepstakes?
 
It’s not likely—based on a number of requirements the world’s largest e-commerce company set out last week when announcing its needs for a second base of operations—but that didn’t stop Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Mayor Brian Bowman forming “team Manitoba” to submit a bid.
 
On Monday, Bowman didn’t lean away from the admittedly ambitious plan when he trotted out the old sport adage, “you miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take,” to defend the move.
 
“If we want to rule ourselves out on this or other potential bids, than we shouldn’t even try… I do not agree with that,” Bowman told reporters.
 
He explained the prompt from Amazon for cities to take stock of what they could offer such a massive company made him mindful that, as Winnipeg grows, it is “a city that can compete against other cities.”
 
He said a low operating cost, low property taxes, and an efficient municipal government in terms of operating cost make Winnipeg an attractive option for companies seeking a new headquarters city.
 
And if there is a strong business case to be made, Bowman said incentives could be made available, and would be determined in an open and transparent way.
 
But whatever comes out of the Amazon bid, he believes the “team Manitoba” approach has potential for future opportunities.
 
“Amazon HQ2 isn’t going to be the only larger company… this model of working in partnership with the province is something I think will pay dividends, and hopefully we can continue to strengthen it not just during the Amazon bid, but also for potential other bids,” Bowman said, adding he’s looking forward to meeting with the pemier and others to try to bring Amazon to the Prairies.
 
“We can do our absolute best. Worst cast scenario, we learn from it.”

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