Beware the “Big Deal”


It usually starts like this: some politician quotes statistics that show ‘Pontiac is the

It usually starts like this: some politician quotes statistics that show ‘Pontiac is the
poorest region in Quebec’. But don’t you worry; politicians have the answer – find efficiencies, put our noses to the grindstone, and create jobs. How? Look for grants to launch studies, hire outside consultants to search for industries to locate in Pontiac. Find an industry in need of a new home, offer tax incentives, loosen environmental regulations, look the other way while a crew comes and reams the resources and good will of Pontiac. A few years later, the grants go stale, the market for hand-whittled widgets dries up, the local workforce isn’t as motivated as imagined, and production grinds to a halt. The owners and upper management disappear, along with any valuable movable assets. 
It’s happened more than once, and on the same piece of property. The so-called Pontiac Industrial Park is a place where political money goes for a vacation. It may not be Pontiac funds, but it’s tax money from somewhere, so it’s us who will eventually foot the bill and nurse the wounded egos. 
Just imagine; building a giant greenhouse and growing sort-of-legal marijuana will return millions of dollars, pay the predicted 500 jobs worth of salaries, everybody will be happy, we’ll all live well forever. Right? Now, let’s have a show of hands. How many of us believed that was going to happen? Anyone? Higher, I can’t see you…
No, it was never going to happen. Sadlypredictable. Big deals are for big suckers.
I hoped Pontiacers would have learned from the shingle mill that made shingles for a couple of years, burned, restarted, then burned again, then was used as a log dump, then closed and shuttered up. Ghost real estate – what are we to do with that? I’ll bet somebody made some money, and I’ll bet they don’t live or spend it here. 
Big deals come and go, leaving big messes and broken dreams in their wake.  
By contrast, there are several businesses in Pontiac that are growing from family operations to going concerns, providing living wages for a few or a dozen of your neighbours. Businesses that produce goods and services such as
landscaping, snow removal, restaurants, building supplies, wine, metal fabrications, abattoir services, newspapers, etc.  
Forget the Big Deals – play the long game, dream small and watch it grow.  

Robert Wills