February 21, 2019 6:02 pm
Updated: February 21, 2019 6:18 pm

Cavan Monaghan Township declares interest in building automotive plant near airport

The motion comes in response to a letter from the province to council regarding the future of Ontario's automotive sector.

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In a unanimous vote on Thursday, the Cavan Monaghan Township council endorsed a motion to inform the province of its interest in having an automotive plant in the community.

The motion comes in response to a letter from the province to council regarding the future of Ontario’s automotive sector.

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In the letter, penned by Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Todd Smith and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, the province outlined the lack of large-scale sites for manufacturing as a barrier for automakers that want to expand or set up new plants in Ontario.

“It’s very clear in the letter that there is a desire from the province to identify municipalities that have between 500 to 1,500 acres available that could be used within the auto sector,” said Scott McFadden, mayor of Cavan Monaghan Township. “We would be suited very well for that opportunity.”

READ MORE: Sault Ste. Marie eyes possibility of employing Oshawa GM workers

The land in question is to the west of Airport Road near Peterborough and north of the airport. That area has previously been designated employment land (1,010 acres) and airport land (2,230 acres).

“We have all that land sitting there,” said Coun. Cathy Moore. “The time is now to prove we have everything that’s needed to grow.”

On Thursday, the township fully endorsed asking the province to be removed from its Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which maps out growth policies for municipalities. The provincial government has asked municipalities to offer feedback before Feb. 28.

“If we can’t get out — because we are hearing mixed messages of whether we can or cannot get out — if we can get out, we want to feather our nest to the best of our ability,” added Karen Ellis, director of planning for the township.

READ MORE: Cavan Monaghan community centre groundbreaking signals larger growth

On Wednesday, the County of Peterborough also voted to ask to be removed from the plan, with planners calling the proposal “heavy-handed” because it relies on higher density areas, which the county is not.

The township will now ask for the land in question to be designated provincially significant employment land.

“It prevents a developer from coming in and wanting to put in residential development without going through a comprehensive municipal review and having sign-off from the province,” added McFadden. “It is in our best interest for this region to dedicate those lands for employment uses.”

Recently, the township asked staff to remove development charges for businesses in the industrial and commercial sectors.

“We want the message to go out that we have all the necessary transportation mechanisms in place, we have affordable land and no development charges,” said McFadden. “We’re open for business.”

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