Economic development – A look at northern communities

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This issue of Northern Ontario Construction News commences a special feature exploring the economic development and opportunities stories in northern communities. We invite contributions and announcements throughout the year, and will publish the updates as we receive them.

Hearst – Exceptional year for construction

Submitted by Sylvie Fontaine, general manager, Hearst Economic Development Corporation

Phone (705) 271-1827, email:

The year 2014 is an excellent year in construction investments in Hearst. Total building permits delivered by the town of Hearst is $1,761,896, which represents an increase of 20 per cent from last year.  The amount represents $1.5 million for the industrial sector and approximately $5.5 million for commercial construction activities.

In 2013, Villeneuve Construction had the official opening of their new 6,000 sq. ft. head office, a $2 million project. The new facilities include 25 offices and a conference room with tele-video equipment.

That year also was the start of the new Pepco bulk plant, which includes the construction of a spur line and the erection of a new 16,000 sq. ft. building that will house office space, a garage and a warehouse, and several new holding tanks. While the bulk plant has been operating at the new site since June 2014, it is expected that in the spring of 2015, all the activities will be transferred to the new site.

This year, we saw the beginnings of the construction of the new showroom and garage of Ford Lecours Motor Sales. This 19,000 sq. ft. facility should welcome customers in spring, 2015.

In September, Columbia Forest Products announced an investment of $18 million in the Hearst hardwood plywood mill over the next 18 months. This investment will include the installation of a new Meinan Lathe to pell smoother core plies. More than 16,000 sq. ft. will be added for this new installation. The Hearst manufacturing facility is Canada’s largest hardwood plywood production site and has seen solid investment by Columbia Forest Products over the last several years.

Development in the City of Timmons – Timmins Economic Development Corporation

Submitted by James Parisi, program co-ordinator

Phone (705) 360-2600, ext. 7079; email,

The City of Timmins’ development activities have held steady after the recent economic boom.  In 2014, several major construction projects have taken place in Timmins. On the commercial and institutional side, three major initiatives occurred. First, District School Board Ontario North East’s head office was rebuilt by Schumacher. Next a 98-room Best Western hotel is being erected on Airport Road and other commercial land is being cleared for future developments, while an 115-room Hampton In is being constructed on Riverside Drive.

On the residential side, all of the action has been at the corner of Birch Street and Sixth Avenue. On one corner, four, four-unit complexes were completed while on the opposite corner, a 34-unit, geared-to-seniors complex is in the final stages of construction.

The excitement does not stop as there are several great projects in the works for 2015. First of all, new Giant Tiger and Dollar Tree stores are being built in a complex on Riverside Drive across the street from Wal-Mart. Next, the Riverpark Apartments, located in the Melrose area, will be expanding in the location of the old tennis courts, while another residential complex containing eight units is being planned for the South Porcupine Area. Finally, the Good Samaritan Inn is in the process of obtaining approvals to expand services to a second location.

The City of Timmins continues to facilitate sustainable growth that enhances the quality of life and the return on investment for families, employers, newcomers and investors.