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Waterloo Region's mayors pitching our tech sector in California

Last Updated Apr 5, 2016 at 2:34 pm EDT

Photo credit: ‏@regierr. (Apr. 4, 2016)

The mayors of Waterloo Region’s three cities are in California’s Silicon Valley trying to drum up business for our tech community.

Berry Vrbanovic, Dave Jaworsky and Doug Craig, along with Toronto’s John Tory, are leading a three day promotional tour to the area, which kicked off yesterday.

Vrbanovic says its a way to promote investment to the so-called Toronto-Waterloo Technology Corridor.

“It’s a recognition that we have incredible talent coming out of our community, we have an incredible quality of life coming out of the corridor, and there is a real opportunity to continue to build on that.”

He adds, all three mayors are focusing on the region as a whole rather than Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo as separate cities.

“All three of us have been very careful to talk about Waterloo Region (…) because if we get a business coming into the region, we all benefit. We benefit because of the taxes that go to the region we also benefit because someone might work in one community, live in another, and shop in a third.”

They have also run into many former University of Waterloo students who plan on returning to our area.

“There was a ton of them proudly saying they were U of W grads, a ton of them proudly referencing the Prime Minister’s comments in Davos.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave the University a shout out while at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, saying UW is a prime example of tech innovation and diversity.

Salim Teja, from Toronto’s MaRS Centre, says they’ve received positive feedback from some of the companies they’ve visited, including Google and Cisco.

He says one common complaint they’ve heard is the cost of living is too high in Silicon Valley and with the low Canadian dollar, they’ve been pitching our area as making economic sense to set up shop.

He says the high cost of operating in California eats away at quality of life.

with files from Mark Douglas.