News : IO Solutions to Move into New Summerside Call Centre by Mid-July
Summerside, PEI, Canada, June 29, 2016 -- Melanie Wallace is a busy woman these days.
She’s the P.E.I. regional manager for IO Solutions, the Montreal-based call centre company that is gearing up to open a new office in downtown Summerside.
She and her team at the company’s Bloomfield office, which has employed about 100 people since 2012, are busy training the initial batch of 30 people slated to move into the new Summerside location. She says there is a stack of another 60 resumes waiting to be examined on her desk.
But despite the hectic schedule things are progressing well with the expansion, said Wallace.
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"Things are going great," she said.
"The resumes are still pilling in, we’re just waiting for a day when we can get them in here and in training. Hopefully things will be set up for at least training on July 18 when we get the keys to the building,"
IO Solutions announced its expansion into Summerside in March, coinciding with the city’s announcement that it would be purchasing and renovating the call centre’s future home at 54 Central Street (the old Co-op building). The effort to bring the company here was a notable cost to taxpayers. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency contributed to the building Co-op building renovations and Innovation P.E.I. is giving the company a labour rebate for up to 100 positions. The province also contributed to help the city pay for architectural and design considerations.
The city itself paid $200,000 plus tax for the building and another $112,000 plus tax for an adjacent parking lot.
IO Solutions has committed to a five-year lease with the city and expects to create about 100 new jobs in its first year. Further hiring is also likely in the years ahead.
The city has faced some criticism for the deal, given the cost to taxpayers and the sometimes temporary nature of call centres. However, both Mayor Bill Martin and Deputy Mayor Brent Gallant reiterated their position that this is a good opportunity for Summerside and, in the long run, worth the cost.
Both men got their first look inside the building Wednesday, it has been under renovation for several months, but is nearing completion.
"We looked at all the numbers … it’s always a cost versus benefits scenario and this is certainly a huge benefit for the city with very little cost," said Gallant during the tour.
"If a city is not willing step up to the plate these things don’t get done… Summerside has stepped up to the plate and the citizens and community will benefit because of it."
Martin added that the company’s annual payroll alone should have a significant impact on the city’s economy and especially business in the downtown core.
"There’s a difference between good debt and bad debt – and if ever there was good debt this is it," added Martin.
In terms of the renovation, both men said they were impressed.
"This is going to be state of the art," remarked the mayor.
The interior of the building consists of a large open work floor with a row of glass-panned offices along one side, a spacious kitchen and commissary area, interview rooms, a boardroom and a 12-season deck at the rear.
IO Solutions is still looking for resumes, especially bilingual (French and English) speaking prospects.
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