Recommendations include designating the Region as a National Trade Corridor
February 22, 2019
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (TRAN Committee) released a report this week entitled, “Establishing a Canadian Transportation and Logistics Strategy”. The Niagara-Hamilton region features prominently in the report, as an area ripe for accelerated economic development.
Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre, and TRAN Committee Member, tabled the report in the House, and made the following statement:
“The Niagara-Hamilton (Welland Canal) region has been identified as a strategic “trade corridor” location, due to its proximity to over 44% of North America’s annual income, its provincial designation as an Economic Gateway Centre & Zone, federal recognition as a Foreign Trade Zone and its transportation-related infrastructure. Our next steps will be to work with our local partners (users, stakeholders and municipalities) to strengthen the Niagara-Hamilton Economic Cluster. This will bring together complementary businesses, skills, professions, research facilities, educational institutions, and other factors combined to ensure our Cluster is internationally recognized as a conduit for economic growth and innovation.”
The Hamilton Port Authority (HPA) participated in the consultations for this study, including hosting a port tour for TRAN Committee members. “We were pleased to see a number of ideas in this report that are essential to moving the region forward,” said Ian Hamilton, President & CEO, HPA. Among the report’s recommendations is the designation of the Niagara-Hamilton Region as a National Trade Corridor, to help guide national policy and investment decisions.
The TRAN Committee also recommends taking a close look at the lands along the Welland Canal, to make sure industrial opportunities are not being missed. A number of witnesses interviewed by the committee focused on this concern, including Verne Milot of the Welland/Pelham Chamber of Commerce: “Transport Canada can play a key role in sensitively opening up those areas and connecting them appropriately to trade transportation routes as part of a more robust industrial hub. Dormant, developable industrial lands along the Welland Canal are also no longer acceptable.”
“It is refreshing to see such a focus on southern Ontario’s marine sector,” said HPA’s Ian Hamilton. “This report begins to show the economic benefits we can gain from making better use of this amazing natural asset we have. It raises good questions we should be talking more about, like the extension of the shipping season within the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway; the need to preserve industrial lands near our transportation hubs; and the need for better multimodal connections to help get cargo onto water or rail, and off of area highways.”
The interim report includes a total of 31 recommendations, and can be found here. A second phase of the study will include consultations on Canada’s east coast.
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