Politicians from all levels of government, including Mayor Jim Watson and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and representatives from Amazon and Broccolini construction put shovels to dirt Monday morning to officially begin the construction of the new Amazon distribution facility in the city’s east end.
The facility is slated to be over 1 million square feet and, according to the company, will bring over 1,500 new construction jobs and 600 distribution jobs to the relatively employment-light rural east end.
WATCH: Ottawa beats out other communities to land Amazon distribution centre
“We’ve always seen and we’ve heard a lot about the need for more jobs in the east end,” said Watson. “We have a lower ratio of jobs to people in the east end than we do in the south, the west and the downtown core. We’re here today to ensure that balance tilts a little bit toward the east end.”
According to Amazon, the new facility will primarily be used to distribute larger items such as furniture and sporting equipment and the gigantic facility will be large enough to house 60 regulation-size hockey arenas according to Broccolini construction.
All levels of government had a hand in bringing the centre to the capital and Glenn Somerville, director of Canadian operations for Amazon, says the help they’ve gotten has only made the job that much easier.
“We are extremely excited about our upcoming fulfilment centre and being a part of this community,” said Somerville. “We’ve been operating fulfilment centres in Ontario since 2011 but this is our first in our nation’s capital and we’ve been completely humbled by the level of support we have received from all levels of government.”
Some residents in the area have shown concern with the amount of construction traffic using the rural roads that weren’t built for such heavy equipment as well as where the company is putting the filler dirt from the project. Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais says that the city has heard these concerns loud and clear and both the city and Broccolini are working on a plan to alleviate some of the congestion.
“We’ve been working with Broccolini to reduce the impact on the roads as much as possible,” said Blais. “Broccolini has stepped up and agreed to do additional calcium treatments and water treatments to help keep the dust down and they have a grader on site to help smooth down the road and get rid of any potholes and were working with Broccolini to make sure these measures continue during this first phase of construction.”
According to Amazon, the facility is planned to be up and running by the busy Christmas holiday season in 2019.
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