Moving forward with the GM lands on Ontario Street

As appears in the St. Catharines Standard:

The GM plant on Ontario St. should have been designated as a “Special Study Area” as was originally intended in the draft Official Plan. The Plan was written based on input from hundreds of residents and community groups over the course of 3 years. I believe the current St. Patrick’s councillors were correct in voting in favor of designating the lands for special study, given the signals from GM with respect to their use of the site. They were ignored by other city councillors. With the property remaining zoned industrial, it is essentially locked up for at least 5 years until the Official Plan is reviewed.

This, however, is the path that Council has placed us in, and so we should use the next 5 years to aggressively pursue a renewed industrial use of this property. We need to take a positive view of the situation and work as hard as possible to create a renewed purpose for the Ontario St. plant; Council’s full energy in this regard is required to show industry that we are truly ‘Open for business’. GM has been clear that they will not use the facility – let’s start work now to entice the Green energy and Bioscience industries we are pursuing to find a new use for the industrial site. We owe it to the workers and residents of this city to find a purpose for the industrial lands on the site.

One comment

  1. Having grown up and now living in close proximity of the Ontario St. GM plant, I’ve had mixed feelings about its closure. I felt sorry for all those who lost their jobs and were also affected by the discontinuation of the Pontiac brand (my husband included), but I’d also assumed it would eventually be demolished and homes built on its site, which I’d really looked forward to.

    I had not considered until recently that it would remain and continue to be used as an industrial area and I’m not sure I’m in favor of the idea. I don’t believe that industrial plants such as this belong in the heart of a residential area such as this. I’m sure that in this day and age the building of this plant would never occur.

    That being said, upon further consideration, I find the idea of attracting Green energy and Bio-science industries intriguing. This would also create employment opportunities for people, more specifically in the various technological fields, which the Niagara region is greatly lacking in.

    I myself graduated from Niagara College in 2003 in a technology field, but have been forced to seek employment out of town. There are next to no jobs in my field of expertise in Niagara, as I was lead to believe there were when I was a student.

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