Natural gas expansion to start in Chatham
March 12, 2019 By Greenhouse Canada
Chatham-Kent is about to benefit from access to natural gas.
The first community to be named in the new Natural Gas Expansion Support Program, the project in Chatham-Kent will be led by Enbridge Gas, one of Canada’s largest natural gas distribution utilities. This will include the construction of two new transmission pipelines and supporting distribution mains.
Benefits are estimated to reach 200 businesses, bringing about 1,400 jobs to the greenhouse industry alone.
“The gas lines we are celebrating today will increase the local capacity of natural gas by the equivalent of an additional 350 acres of greenhouse,” said Greg Devries, president and CEO of Truly Green Farms and Cedarline Greenhouses. “For every acre of greenhouse constructed, at least two direct jobs and two indirect jobs are created. This natural gas project is a great example of how infrastructure stimulates the economy.”
“The greenhouse sector of our agri-economy has been doubling in size every six years and this initiative by the Government of Ontario, Enbridge, Cedarline Greenhouses and Chatham-Kent ensures that growth will continue,” said Darrin Canniff, Mayor of Chatham-Kent. “Strategic investment in infrastructure pays dividends and we will continue to invest in our community.”
Authorized under the Access to Natural Gas Act, passed late last year, the provincial program is intended to bring natural gas to 78 communities in rural parts of Ontario, including First Nations communities.
Keith Currie, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), noted in December 2018 that 78 communities will “only meet approximately one tenth of those currently without access to natural gas – a far cry from the complete natural gas access Ontario needs.” The OFA continues to push for long-term commitment to expansion throughout the entire province.
“Energy is one of the largest inputs on farms, and we need access to natural gas to help boost the competitiveness of rural Ontario communities, businesses and farms,” says Currie in response to the act’s initial announcement in September 2018. “And natural gas is the single most important investment that will deliver a competitive edge to continue to drive growth in rural Ontario.”
Described as a “rate-payer funded cross-subsidization”, the Recorder & Times reported that the act allows natural gas companies to charge existing customers an additional one to two dollars per month to cross-subsidize the capital costs of expansion.
The natural gas expansion program is slated to begin this summer.
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