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Thorold signs agreement to push for industry expansion along Welland canal

Port Authority says as many as 100 businesses could be established in the trade corridor in the next 5-10 years

Thorold is joining forces a handful of Niagara municipalities working to boost investments into the transport- and logistics sector along the Welland canal – and now it's on paper. 

On Friday, Mayor Terry Ugulini, flanked by his Welland- and Port Colborne counterparts as well as MP Vance Badawey signed a Memorandum of Understanding, the next step in the Niagara Ports Plan that is aiming to create a network of 'multimodal hubs' along the canal, attracting industry.

Ian Hamilton, CEO of the Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority, HOPA, said that there are several properties along the canal that have been declared surplus by Transport Canada, that will allow for investments into businesses who want to set up along the canal.

"I think that over a period of five to ten years, you could be looking at as many as 100 different businesses. There is just that much opportunity for development," said Hamilton during the signing, that took place at the Lock 7 viewing center.

He mentioned businesses that support the shipping industry and other manufacturers that could make use of the rail- and highway system in addition to the canal.

Now, the coalition will be approaching the federal government to incorporate the surplus canal lands into the HOPA Letters Patent, to begin setting the scene for industries wanting to establish in the corridor.

Aware that the fallout from the pandemic is, and risk continuing to maim the local economy, Hamilton said that while the outlook for new growth in the area is optimistic, it is not unrealistic.

Praising the work with his mayoral colleagues and the oversight of MP Vance Badawey, Ugulini said the collaboration is vital to the growth of Thorold and the entire Niagara region.

"Welland Canal goes through the heart of our city," Mayor Ugulini stated and said he is hoping to re-establish the route as a prominent vehicle for trade.

"The multimodal hubs are going to be great, not only for the cities involved but for the whole region. This opportunity to move forward is something I am super excited about."

According to HOPA, the port authority has attracted more than $300 million in third-party investment through its work integrating ports in Hamilton and Oshawa.