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  #41  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2009, 2:54 PM
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Council refuses to consider development on former Sun Life site
By JONATHAN SHER, LONDON FREE PRESS

London city council refused Monday night to consider development for a parcel of land outside its urban-growth boundary that's become a key dividing line between two factions of politicians.

A slim majority of council members agreed to take off the table for now any consideration of development of 47 hectares south of Wilton Grove Rd. and southeast of Highbury Ave.

The site had once been the target of Sun Life, which bought an option on it, then asked that city hall add it to the land that can be developed, a move that would have added as much as $8 million in value to the land.

When the global recession struck last year, Sun Life gave up its option and plans to build an industrial park that would have begun with warehouses.

The exit of Sun Life prompted city staff to recommend that council not give further consideration of allowing development there.

Board of Control disagreed, last week recommending city hall wait, but they were out-voted by council as a whole.

Coun. Roger Caranci led the failed effort yesterday to keep as an option the development of the land, arguing it was key to boosting economic opportunity along Hwy 401.

But his efforts to garner support failed both with colleagues and staff, Chief administrator Jeff Fielding noting council has made a priority 401 development near Veterans Memorial Parkway and Wonderland Road — not Highbury.

For the latest local coverage, read The London Free Press on the web or in print.

Jonathan Sher is a Free Press city hall reporter.
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  #42  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2009, 4:22 AM
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London Home Starts Higher in November

According to preliminary figures released today, new home starts were up in the London area in November.

Total starts increased by 32 per cent due to a 58 per cent increase in single-detached starts comparted to the same month in 2008. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), year-to-date starts were still down about 15 per cent.

"For the third consecutive month, single-detached home construction was up from its level a year ago," said David Lan, CMHC's London Market Analyst. "Construction outside of the city appears to be gaining momentum as well."

Across the province, home starts fell slightly last month. An estimated 51,100 residential housing units broke ground in November, down from 55,700 units in October.
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  #43  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2009, 5:25 PM
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Official: Toyota Woodstock to Add 800 More Jobs

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. will hire more than 800 workers and add a second shift of production at its plant in Woodstock, providing another shot in the arm for the Ontario economy and another sign that a recovery in the battered auto sector is under way.

The plant will double production of RAV4 crossover utility vehicles to 150,000 a year beginning in March amid a rebound in demand for the vehicles in the U.S. market, which is the destination for about 80 per cent of the factory's output.

The auto maker will announce the plan Thursday, a year and five days after the Woodstock facility officially opened as the North American industry was sliding into the most crippling downturn it has experienced since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The original plan was to start with two shifts of production when the plant opened, but it began production on just a single shift because of the crisis.

But RAV4 is one of only two vehicles in Toyota's portfolio in the U.S. market that has posted a sales gain this year – up 3 per cent to 132,346 in the first 11 months of the year, compared with 128,225 in the same period last year. November sales rose 35 per cent.

Those numbers compare with an overall Toyota sales slide of 23 per cent in the U.S. market from January to November and an 11 per cent rise in November itself.

It's the second most popular vehicle in the Toyota Canada Inc. lineup and sales in this market rose 24 per cent in the first 11 months and 31 per cent last month. Toyota Canada overall sales slid 13 per cent in the January-November period, but rose 26 per cent last month.

The production boost at Toyota follows a similar announcement by General Motors Co. at its Cami Automotive Inc. plant in Ingersoll, a short ride west along Highway 401 from Woodstock.

GM is increasing output of its Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers – also because of high demand – and has recalled several hundred workers from layoff in order to get the plant cranking out the vehicles on three shifts a day.
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  #44  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2010, 2:46 PM
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Cami Ingersoll Expects to Hire More Workers

Cami Ingersoll Expects to Hire More Workers
They're being run off their feet at Cami.

The Ingersoll automaker will likely have to do more hiring even after they bring back all the workers they've had to LAY OFF in the past year.

The last 128 laid off workers will likely be back by mid-April and then the company is expected to hire another 150 more.

It's all to keep up with demand for the GMC Terrain and Chevy Equinox which have seen HUGE sales numbers in recent months.

The local branch of the CAW Union at the plant isn't sure the new hires will be necessary but chair Mike Van Boekel adds if they do hire more people, the union will lobby for laid-off GM workers in other cities, like Oshawa, to get the jobs.
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  #45  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2010, 2:47 PM
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London's Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.7%

London's Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.7%
London's unemployment rate has dropped for a fourth straight month.

Stats Canada says the city's jobless rate fell to 8.7% in January compared to 8.8% in December. Back in September, London's unemployment rate was at 11.2% -- the highest it had been in 15 years and second only to Windsor for highest unemployment rate in the country.

Several months later, a jobless rate of 8.7% is one of the lowest in Ontario.

Ottawa, Kingston and Thunder Bay are the only major cities in the province with a lower unemployment rate than London in January. Windsor, Sudbury, Toronto, St.Catherines-Niagara, Oshawa, Kitchener and Hamilton all have higher unemployment rates.


London's unemployment rate is also below the provincial average which held steady in January at 9.2%.

Across Canada, the January jobless rate dipped one-tenth of a percentage point.

Unemployment last month was down slightly to 8.3% from December's 8.4%

There were 43-thousand new part-time jobs for Canadians, mainly among adult women and young people. It was the first time youth jobs rose since the economic downturn began in late 2008.
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  #46  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2010, 2:52 PM
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Highway corridor prime for industry

CITY HALL: The city is urged to develop along 401, 402

By PATRICK MALONEY, THE LONDON FREE PRESS

Last Updated: 5th February 2010, 7:30am

The development of industrial land along the Highway 401-402 corridor is a key opportunity to attract new jobs to London, a city councillor says.

Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen made the comments Thursday following a presentation focused on the city's industrial land options, by city manager Jeff Fielding to members of council.

"That's an underutilized asset that we have," said Van Meerbergen, who works for a firm located along the 401. "It's the direction we need to go -- developing that land along the 401, 402 and creating more jobs.

"We need to improve our ability to create wealth and that's the direction."

For Fielding, the blueprint exists up and down the highway in Ontario -- and London is actually in a better position than such communities as Mississauga, he said following his presentation.

"If you go upstream from us and see all the municipalities that are successful . . . all of (them) have frontage on the 401," he said. "London has frontage on both sides.

"Clearly we've got an interest along the 401 because of the exposure that businesses get to the travelling public. (Some) industries depend on their brand having visibility."

Fielding also points to the possibility of creating a 401 interchange at Wonderland Rd., which would offer advantages in terms of land and give people in west London another access point to the highway.

"There's a triangle of land in the 401-402 corridor that would be strategically located for us to be able to do something special (in terms of) attracting some industry," Fielding said.

Fielding on Thursday also touched on other elements of the city's economic picture, including:


London's economy, having shrunk by about 4% last year, is expected to grow by 2.5% in 2010

The London region has lost 8,300 manufacturing jobs since 2006

Approved stimulus funding for the city has created an estimated 1,185 jobs But those hoping for the arrival of major employers with hundreds of jobs may need to adjust their expectations as the city recovers from a recession, Fielding said.


"Jobs will come back in 10s and 20s, rather than hundreds," he said. "And the investments will tend to be $7-$8 million as opposed to $70-$80 million."
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  #47  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2010, 5:36 PM
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Ever so slightly eking out KW:

Stats Can


I reckon that unofficially, KW has now surpassed London.
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  #48  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2010, 2:48 PM
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Board of Control Considers Downtown College Campus Plan

Board of Control Considers Downtown College Campus Plan

The City is teaming up with Fanshawe College to turn empty and under-used buildings in the downtown core into works of art.

Board of Control will debate the proposed plan tomorrow to convert heritage buildings near the corner of Richmond and Dundas into a new campus for the College's applied and performance arts programs.

The 10 year program would cost $10-million dollars in city subsidies and would be the last major investment aimed at revitalizing the downtown core.

Fanshawe will be announcing details of the plan soon, including how they plan to buy and renovate several 'hertiage type buildings' in the area to create a 'district concept' campus for about a thousand students.

Officials from the College say they have no room to expand at the main campus on Oxford, so they need to look elsewhere.

Their threatre arts program is already downtown but their lease at the CitiPlaza is up in 5 years and they want to expand even more.

For their part, the City hopes to turn the proposed downtown campus into a tourist destination and use the space on nights and weekends for youth-focused arts competitions.

To help pay for renovating the older buildings -- which costs more than building new ones -- City staff could recommend a grant of $100 a square foot, but Fanshawe still needs funding from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and the Federal government.

This would be City Hall's last in a long list of initiatives centred in the core which started in 1995 and included building the John Labatt Centre.
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Old Posted Feb 26, 2010, 2:57 AM
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Business may call London home

Peter White A defence industry business may soon call London home, but is waiting on word it will land a deal with the Department of National Defence.

The unnamed industry will largely do research and development here, not manufacturing, and will start small with only about 30 workers, sources close to the business said.

"It could be a big deal, but we will not know until they get a contract," an official said.

City officials declined comment on any details of the new business.

"We are working on details of an opportunity and there will be an announcement in the next few weeks," said Peter White, chief executive of the London Economic Development Corp.

"It is advanced manufacturing, it is a new business, it will be good news for London."

The industry may supply General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, said the official. The armoured vehicle manufacturer on Oxford St. is in the midst of a boom, having landed about $4 billion in new projects.

London West MP Ed Holder was part of two meetings with the business and called it "very good news" for London.

"We have gone through some challenging economic times but there is great emphasis now on advanced manufacturing and we have to make sure London is at the forefront of that," he said.

"What is important is the extent to which Canada as a free trade partner expands its opportunities around the world."

Holder said the new business is the result of an easing of restrictions in the Buy America program that gives products and services made in the United States preferred status when purchased by the U.S. government.

The city badly needs a new business win as four recent economic studies concluded London's economy is underperforming. The city and region lost 8,000 jobs last year, and what jobs were created were largely in part-time, service-oriented work.

The city's gross domestic product, the value of goods made here, is forecast to grow 2.5% this year, lower than the provincial and national average.

As for the General Dynamics deals, they include:


A $2.2-billion deal to supply 724 LAV IIs for the U.S. Army.

A contract to design the Stryker vehicle upgrade valued at $203 million.

A $1-billion deal to upgrade 550 LAV III light-armoured vehicles for the Canadian military through the Department of National Defence.

A $647-million deal with the U.S. army for 352 new Stryker light armoured vehicles.
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Old Posted Mar 4, 2010, 5:35 AM
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Secret UWO project likely to get city land

A facility billed as unlike any other on the planet will be built in London if city council agrees to give land to the University of Western Ontario.

"This will be the only facility of its kind in the world," Ted Hewitt, vice-president of research at UWO, said Wednesday.

Hewitt wouldn't disclose specifics about the project that an official last year said would cost $25 million.

But Hewitt didn't need details to get the support of politicians who've already endorsed giving land to UWO and Fanshawe College to lure advanced manufacturing to an industrial park.

The joint venture seems certain to gain approval when city council meets Monday. Politicians unanimously endorsed the concept in November and the board of control gushed over it Wednesday.

"Let's keep it rolling," Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell said.

The targeted site near Hwy. 401 in southeast London is the last major piece of land at Innovation Park, northwest of Bradley Ave. and Veterans Memorial Parkway. Of 52 hectares there, the city would give 10 to UWO and four to Fanshawe.

The land will enable Western to bring the new facility to London, Hewitt said.

"It's huge," he said.

All details are being withheld to allow those helping fund the project -- presumably senior levels of government -- to announce it in coming weeks.

The federal government releases its budget Thursday and Ontario will do the same at month's end.

The project isn't the only one on the horizon, Hewitt said.

Western is seeking money to lure a German company and the research arm of the German government to build equipment that will make composite parts in a manner so advanced that there's only one similar facility in North America.

Fraunhofer is a German research organization with 59 institutes spread throughout that country, an organization Hewitt describes as "(Canada's) National Research Council on steroids."

Fraunhofer is teaming with German engineering company Dieffenbacher to build a composite press that Hewitt says will make parts out of silica faster and cheaper than all but one facility on the continent.

The German partnership had been looking for a second facility in the United States but now is interested in London, where Western has tapped into one-quarter of the roughly $12 million needed to build the plant.

The building of both facilities would use up four of Western's 10 hectares.

Western also hopes to develop a centre for advanced manufacturing that could be a hub for smaller manufacturers.

In the terms of the proposed deal between city hall and Western and Fanshawe, if either school sells land, the proceeds go to the city; if either fails to significantly develop the land in 10 years, the city can take it back.

The venture is part of a broader strategy to rebuild the local economy battered by last year's global recession. Other aspects include:


Making the airport a gateway for global cargo.

Building a green technology validation centre.

Possibly building an incubator for business pursuing innovative food strategies.

Creating a downtown campus with Fanshawe.
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  #51  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2010, 2:25 PM
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^sounds like Area 51
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  #52  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2010, 5:31 AM
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Convention Centre spinoffs total $19M

ECONOMIC ACTIVITY: A study finds the downtown facility has a big impact on the local economy

By NORMAN DE BONO, The London Free Press

The London Convention Centre kicks in nearly $20 million a year to the local economy, drawing visitors and businesses to the city, an economic impact study has found.

Synovate Ltd., an international marketing research firm, studied traffic at the York St. centre from June 2008 to June 2009 and found that, despite an economic downturn, London was an attraction.

"We are thrilled," said Lori Da Silva, general manager of the centre. "We have always wanted to measure the economic impact of the convention centre and what we have been telling the community has been validated by research."

In 2008, the centre generated $19.6 million from 407 events. That dipped to $18 million in 2009, but the forecast for this year is for the figure to climb to $19 million, the study says.

The centre gets $600,000 a year from the city, down from $700,000 in 2006 and more than $1 million when it first opened.

The report marks a decided turnaround for the centre, which opened in 1993 costing taxpayers $40 million - the city and each of the two senior governments paid a third of the cost. At one point, the centre ran a $1.5-million budget deficit.

It posted its first operating surplus in 2008.

"Last year, we had an operating surplus in a soft year and this year we see more meetings coming back," said Da Silva.

Hospitality industry analysts and urban geographers have often claimed spinoff estimates by the sector are exaggerated and that economic benefits are contained largely to a city's core.

But the London study didn't use industry standards, said Coun. Nancy Branscombe, who sits on the centre's board.

Controller Gord Hume, also a board member, validated the findings. "It was built to generate economic activity. That is what it is doing," he said.

Last year the centre's revenues of more than $4 million covered operating costs - it even ran a small surplus of $6,700 - so the city's contribution went to a capital reserve fund which now totals $1.4 million.

"I think it is a good return for the city," Da Silva said of the city investment.

The reserve fund sounds rich, but the cost of renovating and maintaining the centre is high. If the place doesn't look fresh, it'll lose business.

"In this business, people see what they buy. It has to be new," said Da Silva.

Last year the centre's second floor was renovated, shut down for July and August, and this year more renovations worth $844,000 are planned, said Da Silva.

"The biggest chunk of that will be to upgrade our washrooms," she added.

The Synovate study looked at 20 events, did 1,500 surveys and found the average delegate spent $301 a show while an exhibitor spends $2,481 since they have extra costs, including materials and staff to put up for the event.

Of the 2008 spinoff total, $14 million came from out-of-town delegates.

Last year the centre held 24 conventions and conferences, 11 multi-day meetings, 161 single-day meetings and 147 functions, such as weddings and parties.Of all of last year's events, the Daughters of the Nile convention in June was a highlight, drawing 2,000 visitors.

--- --- ---

London Convention Centre


Generates nearly $20 million in economic spinoffs

Breaks even on a $4-million budget.

Gets $600,000 a year from the city.

Has $1.4 million in capital reserve.
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  #53  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2010, 1:03 AM
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New plant gives London just desserts

Money Business Monday


COVER STORY: The Original Cakerie manufactures a host of decadent delights, including premium cakes.

By Hank Daniszewski, The London Free Press

Last Updated: March 15, 2010 7:12am

This new London manufacturing plant is all about cake, cream, strawberries, chocolate and other decadent delights.

Kim Wolf, general manager of the plant, confessed to succumbing to the "Freshman 15," the number of pounds new employees gain after sampling the products.

"I tried to put it under the umbrella of 'quality control,' but really, I just like the products," she said with a laugh.

Landing the $50-million plant in 2008 was a coup for London since the city faced stiff competition from other municipalities across the continent.

The Original Cakerie is a private company founded in Vancouver in 1979. It started as a small industrial bakery, producing high-quality food service desserts for restaurants in Victoria, B.C.

The London plant was its first major expansion outside of the home base and was designed to serve markets in eastern Canada and the United States.

Wolf said The Original Cakerie brand might not be familiar to local consumers, but they have almost certainly tried their products at some time.

The company makes a variety of premium cakes, dessert bars, and brownies that are sold through restaurants and food service suppliers such as Sysco.

It also supplies premium in-house brands for retailers such as M&M Meats and Sobeys in Canada and Kroger in the U.S.

The London plant, a big white building near Hamilton Rd. and Veterans Memorial Parkway, went into production last October.

The plant now has 70 employees and is operating one production line on one shift, but there's plenty of room to add more production lines and shifts in the 125,000 sq. ft. plant.

There is also lots of adjacent land on the site to double the size the plant.

The company's main plant in Delta, B.C., is about the same size as the London plant, but employs about 400.

Wolf said the timing for expansion of production in London will depend on market conditions.

The London plant makes strawberry shortcake, orange cream and lemon cream, black forest cake, chocolate layer cake and tiramisu.

The company is working on sourcing as many ingredients as possible from local suppliers.

Wolf says the production staff, who make about $14 an hour, are engaged in the process and co-operate in meeting production targets that are posted daily.

"We put one or two cakes in the lunchroom every day. We want people to know what they are making and be able to taste it and feel pride," Wolf said.

The workforce is diverse in both age and gender. Some have experience in food processing while others have come in from industries such as the auto sector.

Like most modern food-processing operations, the Cakerie plant is remarkably clean.

It starts at the door when staff members remove their outdoor shoes and replace them with indoor shoes. Those in turn are replaced with production shoes that are automatically scrubbed as workers cross a walkway onto the production floor.

Wolf said the cake-making process at the plant is basically the same as that seen in any kitchen, but on a grander scale.

The spinning mixer that makes the cake batter works much like the one in your kitchen drawer, but it's almost a metre tall.

The batter is poured in precise amounts into single-use baking sheets that are loaded on trays and rolled into walk-in ovens.

The baked cakes are put through a cooling tunnel, then go into a production line.

The plant can turn out about 3,000 to 3,500 "super-size" cakes, each weighing about 5 kg, a day.

The plant uses 100% dairy cream, pure fruit fillings, European chocolate and no preservatives.

Cakes are assembled into layers, if needed, and the whipped cream, fruit puree and other ingredients are added by hand.

As a worker spread the top layer of cream on a shortcake until it was perfectly smooth, Wolf said the handwork makes Original Cakerie look and taste like a premium product.

"This is what really distinguishes us," she said. "The tops are perfect, like ice on a skating pond."

Finished cakes are then sent to a highly-automated freezing system. Racks of cake are initially put into a blast freezer, then moved to tempering chambers where their temperature is gradually raised.

"There are hundreds of photo-eyes in here, keeping track of which rack is where and how long it has been there."

The frozen cakes are inspected boxed, shrink-wrapped and placed into a giant freezer room.

The plant's location next to Veterans Memorial Parkway offers easy access to Hwy. 401 and customers across Eastern Canada and the U.S.

Wolf, a Pennsylvania native who holds a mechanical engineering degree from Pennsylvania State University, previously worked for Eveready Battery and later joined Campbell Soup.

Wolf worked in the soupmaker's Pepperidge Farms division in the U.S., then came to Canada to manage Campbell's plant in Listowel.

She joined The Original Cakerie last year after Campbell closed the Listowel plant in 2008.

Wolf said The Original Cakerie targets a growing number of consumers who have a passion for good food and want to enjoy a premium, restaurant-quality product at home.

"It's a premium product with a value price," she said.

Like many food producers and retailers, Wolf said The Original Cakerie hasn't seen much impact from last year's recession.

"When times are tough, you can find comfort in good food like a great piece of cake."
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Old Posted Mar 18, 2010, 4:35 PM
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well, isn't that just the icing on the cake. I reckon that London wants to have its cake and eat it too.
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  #55  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2010, 1:49 AM
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London to announce new defence business

Prime Minister Stephen Harper London has landed a new, Norwegian defence industry.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be in London Thursday to announce Kongsberg Defence Systems will open a research and development business here, with some manufacturing, that may employ up to 100 people, said sources close to the news.

"All I can say is this is very positive news for London, it is an exciting announcement," Mayor Ann Marie DeCicco-Best said Wednesday.

It is not known if the industry will build a plant here or lease an existing space, or where it will locate.

"This supports one of the strengths of London, it builds on clusters we have that are important to the future and where the jobs will be," said the mayor.

Kongsberg will supply General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada on Oxford street with weaponry for its armoured vehicle platforms, and contacted the city to locate here as they wanted to to be close to GDLS, said the source.

"Any time we have the Prime Minister involved in participating with us, it is a great opportunity. It provides visibility for the city," said Peter White, chief executive of the London Economic Development Corp.

"It is going to be great news for London, a big win for London."

Kongsberg has been in talks to locate a new business here for several months, but needed to finalize details on a contract with the Department of National Defence in Ottawa, and that is why Harper is making the announcement.

"We do not know the magnitude of this yet but the fact the Prime Minister is here signals it is a significant investment," said Gerry Macartney, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce.

"It is a terrific sign."

Harper will be at the Delta Armouries Hotel in the morning, along with Industry Minister Tony Clement, DeCicco-Best and London MP Ed Holder.

The Free Press first reported last month a new defence contractor was considering opening here, but was awaiting word on a new deal with DND before the announcement would be made formal.

Holder was part of two meetings with the business and said last month it is "very good news" for London.

"We have gone through some challenging economic times but there is great emphasis now on advanced manufacturing and we have to make sure London is at the forefront of that," he said at that time.

"What is important is the extent to which Canada as a free trade partner expands its opportunities around the world."

Holder said the new business is the result of an easing of restrictions in the Buy America program that gives products and services made in the United States preferred status when purchased by the U.S. government.

Harper will also attend a business roundtable at the Spencer Leadership Centre Thursday afternoon where the focus will be on business development in the region, said White.

"There will not be a specific focus on London. We are really talking about ideas for the region," he said.

***
The company: Kongsberg Defence Systems is Norway's premier supplier of defence and aerospace-related systems. The portfolio comprises products and systems for command and control, weapons guidance and surveillance, communications solutions and missiles. Kongsberg Defence Systems also makes advanced composites and engineering products for the aircraft and helicopter market.

Web: http://www.kongsberg.com/

Will supply: General Dynamics Land Systems Canada, the world's largest maker of wheeled military vehicles, including the U.S. Army Stryker, in use in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 30 years it has shipped more than 8,600 vehicles around the globe.
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2010, 1:32 PM
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War is often good for the economy. Isn't this nice
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  #57  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2010, 2:14 AM
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Cami to add 400 jobs, boost production

Will make Equinox, Terrain models

By NORMAN DE BONO, The London Free Press

Last Updated: March 26, 2010 5:29pm

A worker at the plant in 2009 Cami Automotive is poised to hire up to 400 more workers — a record for the Ingersoll manufacturer.

GM Canada announced this morning some of the hot selling Equinox and Terrain crossover utility vehicles will be assembled at the GM plant in Oshawa, as demand has the Ingersoll plant running full tilt.

That move will add 70 workers at Cami now, but GM is also speeding up the line— they will start cranking out 1,000 vehicles a day this summer — and that will see more than 300 more joining the ranks of Canadian Auto Workers, said Mike Van Boekel, chairperson of Local 88 at Cami.

"It is great news for GM, and for this community," Van Boekel said this morning. "We are so far behind production now, the vehicles are selling very well."

In fact, this year Cami will make about 250,000 vehicles, a record, he added. In addition, by the time hiring is completed this summer it will employ "well over" 2,500, also a top number for the manufacturer.

"It is huge we could have 400 more people here here this summer," said Van Boekel. "It is fantastic news and it is happening while there is still a recession on."

In Oshawa, about 70,000 Equinox and Terrain vehicles will be assembled annually starting in August, he added.

While Cami workers do not like losing some production to Oshawa, 600 workers will be recalled there to staff a third shift.

"There are mixed feelings here about some production going to Oshawa, but at least it is staying in Canada," said Van Boekel.

GM closed its truck plant in Oshawa last year, cutting more than 2,000 jobs.

Cami has undergone a $100-million expansion of its weld shop and from there it will ship Equinox models to Oshawa for final assembly and paint on its under-utilitzed Impala line, allowing Cami to make more vehicles on its lines in Ingersoll.

In the first two months of this year, sales of the Equinox in the U.S. more than doubled to 18,000 from less than 9,000 the first two months of last year. The Terrain added another 8,100 on top of that, meaning 26,000 Cami made vehicles sold the first two months of this year in the U.S., said Carlos Gomes, automotive analyst with Scotiabank.

In fact, there is only 30 days inventory for Equinox and Terrain vehicles remaining on dealer lots across the U.S. — dealers like to have 60 days of inventory, added Gomes.

"It is positive production is remaining in Canada, historically that has been one of GM's most productive plants across North America," he said of Oshawa.

The resurgence of the Cami-made CUVs is mirrored by a rebound in the vehicle sector generally, with all vehicle sales in the U.S. rising 10 per cent the first two months this year over 2009, to 1.5 million units and the CUV segment lead all sales, up 19 per cent to 354,000 units.

"We are seeing a comeback,we are seeing year-over-yar gains," said Gomes.

The news marks a dramatic turnaround for the plant from a year ago when it had 500 workers laid off and was rotating layoffs for its remaining workers.

"What a difference a year makes," said Paul Holbrough, Mayor of Ingersoll and Warden of Oxford County. "GM invested in that plant, it has good, quality workers and consumers are certainly interested in the product at that plant," said Holbrough.

"This is good news, it is exciting new for Ingersoll."

Cami will also see the last of its laid off workers recalled April 6.
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Old Posted Mar 30, 2010, 11:56 PM
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Labatt shifts production from Hamilton to London

One plant closes, another gets busier

By NORMAN DE BONO, The London Free Press

Last Updated: March 30, 2010 10:57am

Labatt Breweries will be making more beer in London, and will shut down its Hamilton plant and ship production here.

The brewer has "excess capacity" in its London plant since it sold its Labatt USA division, for which the London plant had been brewing beer.

“It is unfortunate that closing the Hamilton brewery is the only rational business decision available to us, however, we have determined that we will do everything we can for the employees," Charlie Angelakos, Labatt’s vice president, corporate affairs, said this morning in a release.

Hamilton is losing 143 workers — 99 hourly, 22 salaried — and another 22 who are now laid off.

The Hamilton brewery is closing April 30,

“This was a difficult decision,” said Angelakos, “but the impact of a number of compelling factors really leaves us no alternative. Canada’s beer market is intensely competitive and we need to continually seek the lowest possible overall, and brewery-specific, production costs.”

The release said London is a "state of the art" facility while Hamilton had a higher production cost, meaning it was cheaper for Labatt to ship production to London, than upgrade Hamilton.
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Old Posted Apr 1, 2010, 6:16 PM
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So production of Lakeport is moving from Hamilton to London? That'll be easy - the existing London employees can produce Lakeport in their kidneys while working on production of real beer. Talk about a more efficient use of resources - they won't need separate workers in Hamilton producing Lakeport while the London workers make Blue.
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Old Posted Apr 7, 2010, 4:34 AM
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Sterling truck plant in St. Thomas won't be empty very much longer.

Masco Canada Limited to Consolidate Operations at Former Sterling Truck Plant


4/6/2010


The old Sterling truck plant in St. Thomas won't be empty very much longer.

Masco Canada Limited, a subsidiary of Masco Corporation, announced today that it has agreed to purchase the land and buildings at 350 South Edgeware Road.

The company intends to consolidate its current London and St. Thomas operations in the former Sterling plant.

“The decision of Masco Canada Limited to consolidate their manufacturing facilities in St.Thomas speaks to the high quality of our regional labour force, whether it is in machining, advanced manufacturing, tool and die or assembly operations,” said Mayor Cliff Barwick.

The consolidation of the two sites will enable the operations to work more closely together and better utilize resources.

There are 187 employees at the London location and 120 employees at the St. Thomas location. Consolidation will occur during 2010 - 2011.

Masco Corporation is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of brand-name consumer products for the home and family.
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