Nanaimo Port Authority’s vehicle processing facility project at its assembly wharf received a $6.3-million injection of cash from the Government of Canada Wednesday
As reported in April, the port authority announced a joint venture with Western Stevedoring and the automotive division of U.S.-based SSA Marine, to redevelop the assembly wharf into a multipurpose terminal that will house a 5,574 square metre import vehicle processing centre, where cars coming to Canada from Europe will have work done to meet Canadian standards – 10,000 to 12,000 vehicles are anticipated to be processed on an annual basis. Minister of Transport Marc Garneau was in Nanaimo on Wednesday morning to make the funding announcement and said the $6.3 million comes from the National Trade Corridors Fund, part of $2 billion set aside for long-term infrastructure needs.
Two-hundred jobs are expected during construction and another 100 is expected when the facility is fully functional, according to a press release. Michelle Corfield, port authority chairwoman, said the facility will be a boon for Nanaimo’s economy. Corfield said it was a huge announcement for Nanaimo and the GDP will grow exponentially because of it. The port is expecting the first ship to arrive in January 2019, Corfield said.
“The $6.3 million is to help support the build and to create the processing centre,” said Corfield. “So that’s where it’s going. It’s going right here in Nanaimo. All the jobs are staying in Nanaimo. It’s a locally driven project.”
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Garneau said the money is doled out specifically to address trade corridors. The project will improve Canada’s supply chain for vehicles imported into the country by addressing transportation bottlenecks, said the press release.
“How efficiently we move our goods to market and it’s not a quota for each province. Individual projects are assessed on their merit and we found that this project had a high degree of merit and we think that it will be good not only locally here, but it will make our transportation system, with respect to imported vehicles, more efficient and I think it also has potential to do other things in the future as well, but initially the focus will be on imported vehicles,” Garneau said.
Coun. Ian Thorpe, acting mayor, echoed Corfield’s sentiments and said the project will strengthen the economy.
“It’s a wonderful boost to our local economy, local jobs and it’s exactly what we need. It’s more good news for Nanaimo,” said Thorpe.
Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse said it was an exciting day for the city and surrounding communities knowing there is money being invested into the local economy.
“Jobs are very important to this area, so just hearing that is exciting to hear and we’d like to build on that relationship and make sure that Snuneymuxw is moving forward along with the local economy as well.”
– With files from Chris Bush