Made in Welland Masthead
 July  2016

Welcome to our Made in Welland Summer Edition. This issue is filled with amazing announcements and accomplishments happening in Welland. Please take the time to read the articles to gain an understanding of what Welland has to offer, and why so many choose to call Welland home.   

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Lina DeChellis
City of Welland Economic Development Office   

Welland economic development officer Dan Degazio and Mayor Frank Campion hold bottles of wine, with administrative assistance Lina DeChellis, celebrating the announcement that General Electric will be setting up shop in Welland with economic development representatives from across Niagara, including, back, from left, Evan Acs, Brian York, Jim Thibert, Adam Joon and David Oaks, on Wednesday June 1, 2016 in Welland, Ont. Allan Benner/Welland Tribune/Postmedia Network

At more than 450,000 square feet, it will be the largest industrial building in Welland and second only to the entire Seaway Mall in size.

And the 150 jobs the new General Electric plant will create are likely just the beginning when it begins operations.

"This is probably the biggest news we've had in Welland for a long long time," Welland Mayor Frank Campion said. "It's one of the biggest investments, employment and industrial manufacturing investments that we've seen."

On Wednesday, eight months after GE management announced plans to close its plant in Waukesha, Wis. and build a new facility in Canada, Campion and Welland economic development officer Dan Degazio announced that Welland was selected as the new home for the factory, where reciprocating engines, diesel engine components and other equipment currently being manufactured in Wisconsin will be manufactured.

Welland and Niagara have taken a big economic step forward with the announcement that General Electric Co. has chosen Welland for its new multi-modal "Brilliant Factory."

This announcement is the result of a very effective economic development /attraction process that began Sept. 30, 2015.

From my perspective this was an excellent example of a team approach that saw Niagara Region, local area municipalities, provincial and federal politicians and staffs work together toward a very defined objective - to get GE into Niagara.

On the local level Regional Chairman Alan Caslin and the entire Region supported our efforts ensuring success without concern for local boundaries. While the announcement is the end of one process it is really a game-changing beginning for Welland/Niagara.

Work has begun on a new $12.4-million provincial offences courthouse for Welland.

And courthouse staff can't wait to move in.

"We're very excited about this project," said Joanne Spriet, associate director of court services.

"It has been a long time in the planning, but we're thankful that it's moving ahead for sure and it will certainly address a number of the deficiencies that we have in our current location," Spriet said.

"We're looking forward to the opportunity to be able to provide a better level of customer service."

hart store new location
The former Sears store at the Seaway Mall won't be empty much longer.

Eight months after the department store closed its doors at the end of September, the Seaway Mall's management announced that Hart Store is moving into the Welland shopping centre.

Mall president Mike Belcastro said renovations are already underway for the Canadian department store, which is scheduled to open its doors by August.
The new store is the first of a new design for Hart, which operates 67 stores throughout Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.

College gets $1.4M for green-tech auto lab

college St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley announces the provincial government will be giving Niagara College $1.4 million for the creation of a green tech automotive lab and to support green technology. Michelle Allenberg/Tribune Staff/Postmedia Network

Niagara College is in the green with the help of the Ontario government.

On Tuesday St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley announced the college will receive more than $1.4 million in provincial funding from Ontario's Apprenticeship Enhancement Fund Program. The money will be allocated for a green technology automotive lab at the Welland campus.

The project will help expand the college's focus on green technology with regards to automotive programs.

Over the next five years almost one in five new jobs in Ontario will be in the skilled trades division, college officials and other guests heard at the announcement. Bradley said Europe has always been ahead of North America with regards to trades, but he said that will change. He said there needs to be more support for and access to Ontario's skilled trades.

BIZ BUZZ: Welland beckons furniture salesman

David Hajj, owner of David's Furniture Gallery on East Main Street in Welland, took a chance moving to the city without ever visiting before. Michelle Allenberg/Welland Tribune

Without knowing anything about Welland, one businessman dove in feet first to open a furniture store on East Main Street.

David Hajj moved to Welland from the Whitby area and opened David's Furniture Gallery just before Christmas.

Hajj said he was on the Internet last year looking at different properties to purchase. He said he found the store at 131 East Main Street and considered buying it.

He had never been to Welland before, but decided to take a chance. Hajj said he took a look at the building and decided right then and there to buy it and open a new business.

"All my friends from Toronto they were saying to me, 'You're going to Welland, what are you crazy?'" he said with a laugh.

BIG new home for Billyard Insurance Group

billyard insurance
Billyard Insurance Group president Stephen Billyard, his sister Cindy Billyard, and their family welcomed the community to the brokerage's new home, on Friday April 1, 2016 in Welland, Ont. Allan Benner/Welland Tribune/Postmedia Network

"But my dad and I had a vision for the place," he said. "We both saw it. We said, 'We have some potential here.'"

After months of effort, the building has been transformed beyond recognition. Last week, Billyard Insurance Group staff members welcomed the community through the doors of the newly revamped building, giving them an opportunity to see the fruits of their labour.

"It was a lot of work," Billyard said. "We started with a plan to create a space that would impress our customers and make them feel comfortable, and second and most importantly, impress our staff and make this a place where people want to work."

Canal lights
In This Issue
Mayor Frank Campion and economic development officer Dan Degazio add sold stickers to a for sale sign on Prince Charles Drive, where a townhouse development is to be built, on Monday June 27, 2016 in Welland, Ont.
Photo: Allan Benner/Welland Tribune/Postmedia Network

A residential development will soon grace Prince Charles Drive as the city places a new focus on selling its unused property.
Considering current market conditions in Welland, city officials expect that the 70 townhouses planned for the 7.4-acre site are just the beginning.

"This is probably one of the prime spots in the Niagara region," economic development officer Dan Degazio said Monday morning after slapping a "sold" sticker on a huge for sale sign erected along Prince Charles Drive.

"Two days after we put the sign up it was sold," Degazio said.

"There's definitely strong interest in Welland properties," said Mayor Frank Campion.


The new Welland seniors home on Prince Charles Drive will open its doors on Tuesday, June 28, only a week after the last of the construction project is completed.

Helen Jovicich, administrator of the long-term-care home being operated by Jarlette Health Services, said the last cosmetic details of the 19-month construction project are being added next Tuesday, however, the facility will need to be inspected by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care before the residents can move into their new home.

FTZ designation 'a game changer'

Every time a product crosses the border taxes and tariffs are charged.

If it's a value-added product, Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey said it's not uncommon for that product to cross the border three or four times, accumulating charges for "tax and tariff, administration, policy and regulation" with each trip.

That has changed for Niagara businesses.

On Friday, Badawey teamed up with St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle at WP Warehousing in St. Catharines to announce Niagara has now been designated as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) point, a status that allows companies to take advantage of incentives designed to make it easier and less expensive to import and export products.

Niagara gets its own Foreign Trade Zone

Peace Bridge in Fort Erie to Buffalo.
Mike DiBattista/Niagara Falls Review

Niagara is poised to become a hub for international trade and foreign investment.

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey teamed up with his colleague from St. Catharines Chris Bittle Friday morning to unveil an initiative that will "energize Niagara's economy," by designating the region as a Foreign Trade Zone Point.

Niagara's new status will help foster private sector investment in the region and create jobs by providing access to government programs that defer or eliminate duties and taxes from products destined for export, Badawey said.

In Canada, it takes a village to raise a hockey player.

When you watch New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck and New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi (who is injured) play in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, you got a glimpse of what small-town Canada can do for their children.

Clutterbuck and Girardi are from Welland, Ontario, a city of 50,000, located 16 miles from Niagara Falls. I also grew up there, as did Nathan HortonDaniel PailleJamie Tardif, Matt Ellis and Andre Deveaux. We were all there in the same era, and all of us spent time in the NHL.
Maybe that's a per-capita record for producing players in Canada.

All of us who played in the Welland area in the 1990s had the youth athletic experience that every child should wish for.

Made in Welland
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