Samsung’s turbine deal with Ontario in jeopardy

The Ontario government’s multi-billion-dollar wind turbine deal with South Korean industrial giant Samsung Group is in jeopardy after a power play in Premier Dalton McGuinty’s cabinet, the Toronto Star has learned.

Sources say rival ministers opposed to Deputy Premier George Smitherman’s pet scheme, which they fear will mean “billions” of dollars in subsidies to Samsung, have convinced McGuinty to stall the landmark deal first reported in the Star on Sept. 27.
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Wind farm bill defeated, but opponents vow to fight on

Local wind farm opponents vowed yesterday to keep pushing for independent studies into the effects wind turbines have on people.

Ontario legislators rejected Bruce- Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch’s call to halt industrial wind farm development until the province’s top doctor can assure the government turbines don’t harm people living nearby.

But defeating Murdoch’s resolution won’t stop growing opposition in rural Ontario, or mounting questions over how the big machines affect people’s health, wind turbine opponents said.
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A $100 million green light shines for St. Thomas

Sitting through yesterday’s announcement finalizing the location of the new, consolidated court facility for St. Thomas and Elgin, it was, quite honestly, difficult to grasp the enormity of this long-
awaited undertaking.
And, the historical significance of this project that, quite
literally, is a process begun decades ago.
While short on facts and figures detailing the modern and accessible consolidated courthouse that will incorporate the current facility on Wellington Street (older than Canada itself) into its design, the price tag being bandied about is in the neighbourhood of $100 million.
That’s right … $100 million for what surely is the biggest
government investment ever in this area.
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Canadian Hydro drops plan to buy Lake Erie wind farm

Calgary-based Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. said Friday it has terminated its earlier plans to purchase a subsidiary that is developing one of the largest wind farms in the world in Ontario.
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A done deal – Ford to close St. Thomas plant in 2011, shed 1,400 jobs

ford plant

MONTREAL — US automaker Ford Motor Co. will shutter one of its manufacturing plants in Canada in 2011, a move that will cut 1,400 jobs, the Canadian Auto Workers said Friday.

As part of a cost-reduction agreement between the company’s US headquarters and the CAW, the plant in St. Thomas will close in the third quarter of 2011, the powerful union said in a statement.

Some 1,400 employees will be dismissed, CAW spokeswoman Shannon Devine told AFP. Canadian media put the number of jobs eliminated at 1,600.

As part of the tentative agreement the union said it obtained a commitment by the US automaker to keep at least 10 percent of its North American production in Canada.
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St. Thomas Assembly Plant … “it is not looking good”

The future of the St. Thomas assembly plant was discussed yesterday and the automaker repeated there is no product for the local plant after 2011, Lewenza said.

The Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car are produced at the plant.

“We want St. Thomas to be extended, but that product line is being phased out. They have capacity all over the place. It is not looking good today.”

Ford did emphasize in talks yesterday it has made significant investments in Windsor, reopening an engine plant next year, and has added a fourth vehicle to its Oakville assembly plant.

“They indicated to us . . . Canada has been a key player in Ford’s success, but there is no product to allocate.”

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CAW emphasizes importance of new Ford contract as negotiations resume

The main issue in the ongoing negotiations on this side of the border is the future of an assembly plant in St. Thomas, Ont.

Currently, the 1,600-employee plant builds the Ford Crown Victoria, the Lincoln Town Car and the Mercury Grand Marquis – all full-sized cars, demand for which is limited to niche markets. The Crown Victoria is only included in sales of fleets, such as those run by police departments and taxi companies.

Ford has said repeatedly that it has no plans to manufacture vehicles in St. Thomas beyond 2011. Lewenza has suggested Ford could increase production at its other Canadian plants to offset the closure of St. Thomas, but Ford won’t release any details on its plans.

“We’ve asked them to take a look at where existing work is being sourced and see if there’s a possibility to source more work into our workplaces and those are the options we’re going to have to talk about (this) week, but to be honest we haven’t made much headway,” Lewenza said.

Ford spokeswoman Lauren More said the company doesn’t discuss future production or product plans for competitive reasons.
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Elgin trucking firm set to take on T.0.


A transport company that says Toronto is blowing $25 million by rejecting its bid to haul garbage is taking out ads to persuade councillors to accept what it’s offering.

The newspaper and radio ads will run Monday, the first day of a two-day session at which council will decide on awarding a 10-year contract to truck waste to the Green Lane landfill near St. Thomas, Ont.

The works committee has recommended awarding the contract to Verspeeten Cartage Ltd., which bid $132 million. That was after city staff had disqualified a bid from ECL Carriers, which said it could do the job for $107 million.

Gregory Rumble, who heads ECL’s parent company, Contrans Income Fund, says his firm should not have been rejected. “We feel we have been disqualified unfairly and it’s going to cost the taxpayers of the City of Toronto $25 million over the next 10 years. That’s a lot of money to be thrown to the side.”
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Does it take an ex-mayor to get things done around here?


Former mayor Janet Golding left no room for doubt Monday evening — fixing the crosswalk in front of St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital is not the responsibility of city police.
The inefficiencies of the Elm Street crossing, and many others in the city, have been conveyed to the mayor and aldermen and the previous edition of council.
As Golding stressed in her deputation to council, there is no further need for traffic studies in the vicinity of the hospital crosswalk.
“A precedent has been established in recognition of traffic volume with the installation of a pedestrian-signalized crossing at Elm Street near Pinafore Park,” she noted.
And, while a police report is pending, “we contend that this is not a police matter. The responsibility is councils, as this is a traffic and safety issue.”
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