Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Ontario government is investing more than $4.2 million through the Regional Development Program to support important infrastructure projects in the County of Simcoe, the Town of Tillsonburg and the City of Sarnia. Investments will attract local investment and create jobs as the province launches a renewal, growth and economic recovery.
“As the province continues to safely and gradually reopen and we turn our attention to growth and recovery, we are helping local communities and local municipalities create jobs,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
“These projects will make a significant impact in facilitating economic growth for the communities of Simcoe, Tillsonburg and Sarnia-Lambton. They will enable long-term measurable outcomes, including private sector investments, job creation, and growth of the regions.”
The County of Simcoe will receive $1.5 million to widen the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport runway from 100 feet to 150 feet. Officials say the project will “increase safety, improve a key municipal asset and position Simcoe County for private-sector investment.”
The widening of the runway is a regional priority for the County and is considered a critical piece of infrastructure for future business opportunities and economic benefits.
“The Lake Simcoe Regional Airport is a gateway to our community, and this expansion provides an opportunity for significant growth and increased economic activity right here in Oro-Medonte,” said Doug Downey, MPP for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. “I appreciate that the Ministry of Economic Development has seen the great value in this project. I thank them for partnering with the County to help ensure shovels will soon hit the ground.”
The Town of Tillsonburg will receive 1.2 million to build and develop the Van Norman Innovation Park, which will give the region a competitive advantage in attracting new investment. The town will invest in critical infrastructure, including sewers, watermains and roads to make the innovation park investment ready. This will also encourage the growth of high-tech manufacturing cluster with a focus on the advanced manufacturing, automotive and agri-food processing sectors.
“Since taking office, our government has sent a clear message that Ontario is open for business and open for jobs,” said Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford. “We’re creating an environment where businesses can focus on what they do best — developing great products and services and building successful companies. It’s great to see the Town of Tillsonburg invest in the infrastructure that will help to attract and retain those businesses here in Oxford.”
The City of Sarnia to build will use $1.5 million to build an oversized load corridor that will increase capacity of the Port of Sarnia and surrounding road networks. The oversized load corridor will facilitate the transportation of oversized loads from local industrial fabricators and manufacturers to national and overseas markets, addressing the costly and cumbersome process of transporting products. Infrastructure improvements will include overhead utility crossings, municipal roadways, and the deep-water Port of Sarnia.
“As a community we have been working on getting the funding for this project for nearly a decade,” said Robert Bailey, MPP for Sarnia—Lambton.
“This project will help to support our world class fabrication shops and local industry by making it easier to move large industrial components and machinery to and from Sarnia Harbour.”
The Regional Development Program provides cost-shared funding to municipalities and economic development organizations to help communities attract investment, diversify their economies, and plan for long-term sustainability.