Clarington: Community growth in the face of the pandemic

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Ontario Construction Report Special Feature

As the world moves into month nine of the pandemic, the thing that has been the most predictable is the unpredictability of 2020. Businesses everywhere have been in a state of continued uncertainty since the beginning of the pandemic. This uncertainty is no different in the eastern GTA communities of Bowmanville, Newcastle, Courtice, Orono and rural areas, located in the Municipality of Clarington.

Businesses are prioritizing their focus on their long-term viability, including mitigating impact on their employees, clients, and suppliers. However, amidst the disruption the pandemic has caused, momentum of business expansion, infrastructure projects, and desire to establish operations in the Municipality of Clarington continues to move forward.

The most important tools and abilities the Clarington Board of Trade and Office of Economic Development has to support the local economy are collaboration and resourcefulness to ensure business continuity, and economic growth. As businesses continue to pivot the way they provide services, development projects are re-visiting construction delivery and completion projections. However, commitment to projects, investment and job creation remains consistent.

As the most eastern lakeshore community in the Greater Toronto Area, Clarington continues to be a community of opportunity. Several of Canada’s largest infrastructure projects in Clarington continue to lay the foundation for attracting investment.

Highway 407 east extension from Oshawa to the 35/115 Highway in Clarington has been opened for a year, facilitating congestion-free access to markets. Ontario Power Generation’s four-unit Darlington Nuclear Refurbishment project is on track to be complete by late 2026, allowing the plant to continue to deliver clean, reliable energy to Ontarians for another 30 years. Despite the impact of the pandemic, the GO East Rail Extension through Oshawa to Bowmanville is still on track.

This investment will transform the landscape of the community creating approximately 21,000 jobs and create development opportunities complimenting this investment for decades to come. The Province is also investing in the redevelopment of the Bowmanville Hospital. An anticipated $300 Million dollar project. All major projects positioning the Clarington for major growth.

Projects still moving forward in the face of the pandemic

The 350,000 sq. ft. Toyota Eastern Canada Parts Distribution Centre has been running at full capacity since October 2020 with 100 employees. The Ontario Power Generation (OPG) Clarington Corporate Campus Project remains on track to be available for occupancy in 2024. The project is currently in the planning phase and OPG is tendering the necessary contracts to begin preliminary design work.

In June 2019, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) announced its plan to build a new corporate campus in Clarington which will be consolidating its operations, fostering collaboration and innovation. The facility will accommodate staff from 15 existing locations across the Greater Toronto Area and Niagara Region, bringing over 2,000 jobs to the Clarington community.

Steel is up for the East Penn Canada facility. This new headquarters for national battery distribution will be the amalgamation of the two current locations in Pickering and Ajax and bring 200 jobs to the Clarington community. Clearwater structures has submitted a site plan application for the development of a 37,200 sq. ft. industrial building at 505 Lake Road in Bowmanville. Creating 35 jobs, their building will contain two floors of office space at the front of the building.

The remainder of the building is to be used for manufacturing. This development will provide the opportunity to accommodate the operations of Clearwater Structures, Ganawa Bridge Products and Municipal Sewer Services. Plans to construct a 19,750 sq. ft. facility on 9 Courtice Court are well underway. The building owned by Olympia Steel will be used for the manufacturing and repair of large steel waste bins, which involves welding, torch/plasma cutting, and spray painting. Olympia Steel plans to open in 2022 and will create 18 jobs.

The employment areas in South Courtice (Clarington) have been operating historically for nearly 40 years, with no sewer or municipal water, only on well and septic. There are several challenges with expansion and growth as any surplus property is dedicated to holding tanks and septic beds. With approximately 40 well established industrial businesses occupying this area representing over 420 jobs, servicing is a necessity to operate, retain, build new businesses and create new job opportunities.

The Region of Durham’s, Courtice Trunk project is currently underway which is bringing sewer and water main services from the Courtice Water Treatment Plant south of highway 401 north through to the South Courtice area, eventually making its way to north Whitby to service residential development. This has presented an opportunity for exploring a solution to the servicing challenges in the South Courtice employment areas.

south courtice servicing
South Courtice servicing work (City of Clarington)

With guidance provided by the Municipality of Clarington’s Public Works Department and the Region of Durham, some businesses in the South east Courtice area are privately funding the construction of local systems to accommodate servicing to their properties. By having local services in place, this would create economic benefits – facilitating new builds, expansion, and job growth. Construction of local services are currently underway.

Combined with the price of industrial land, optimal transportation networks, proximity to major markets, infrastructure & community development and access to workforce, the advantages to locate and expand in Clarington is difficult for businesses to ignore.

Clarington has a unique collaborative approach to business development taken by the Clarington Board of Trade and Office of Economic Development (CBOT). Embedding a business approach to economic development, CBOT works closely with business, stakeholders in the real estate & development community, and all levels of government to help create a business-friendly environment which organically draws business investment. The team at CBOT is driven by purpose, and passion for ensuring the easiest transition to making Clarington home for businesses and their employees.

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