From the St. Thomas Times-Journal
A committee aimed at keeping Ford’s St. Thomas Assembly Plant in business is taking aim at police forces across the country.
That’s according to Jim McIntyre, county councillor and mayor of Southwold township, who, with representatives from St. Thomas and the county, particularly from the economic development and tourism office, met May 14 in Toronto with provincial ministers to talk about the future of the Ford plant.
Production of the Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car at the local facility is set to end in September, 2011.
“The Crown Vic, or police interceptor, is the vehicle of choice for police departments,” McIntyre told county council this week.
The delegation to Toronto is planning to mount an informal sales campaign for the cars.
“Basically trying to get the police service boards or agencies to support it Canada-wide. Anything we can do to help.”
McIntyre said they’ve already approached Elgin OPP for support — but will have to deal with head office in Orillia — but haven’t talked to St. Thomas police.
Alan Smith, deputy director of community and cultural services spelled out the the importance of the plant in a report to council.
“If Ford’s investment in Southwold is not retained beyond 2010, the economic consequences on taxation, housing and spending for example may provde quite damaging to the local economy.”
Coun. Dave Mennill, deputy mayor for Malahide, noted “If you’ve ever been to the city of New York or Toronto, all the police cars and taxis are Crown Vics.”
The 45-minute meeting discussed options, such as “building flexibility” into the assembly line to produce other Ford products, or retooling the existing line to extend the life of the Crown Victoria.