Officials with Brightenview Development International spent three days in Chatham-Kent this week laying plans for the firm’s proposed $45-million, 680,000-square-foot facility in Blenheim.
Lorne Nystrom, Brightenview’s vice-president of public affairs and government relations, said officials were “doing our homework” regarding use of local firms and professionals for the project, which is slated for completion by the spring of 2016.
“We came to engage local people as much as possible,” he said. “We need a builder and we’ve being meeting with architects, lawyers, IT people and communications groups,” he said. “We’ve very pleased with what we’ve found. We want to deal locally wherever possible.”
The huge building – which is being called the Global Development Centre – is hoped to eventually be home to as many as 80-100 different offshore businesses.
The concept is for Brightenview to build the structure and supply support for offshore small- and medium-sized businesses to the point that all they need to do is bring their manufacturing knowledge with them and they’ll be able to begin operations.
The centre will have 400,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space, 250,000 sq. ft. of shared warehousing, and 30,000 sq. ft. of office space that Brightenview will use to provide support to companies to deal with various levels of government, as well as providing numerous other areas of operational assistance.
Municipal officials estimated the project could provide as many as 500 jobs.
Two weeks ago, Chatham-Kent council approved sale of 34 acres on Hyland Drive in the Blenheim Industrial Park to Brightenview for $804,000.
I'm confused. Didn't we witness a sod turning / big announcement at the end of September? Yet according to this article, (three weeks later), it states approval for selling the land was only approved two weeks ago. If it was approved, did the sale go through? Simple question regarding a land sale of $804,000.
I also have a question about which municipal officials estimated the 500 job growth? If you are going to make statements like that, I would like to know who the officials are that are making these figures.
The article also states the company, Brightenview Development is slated for completion in the spring of 2016. Will this date be as firmly etched in stone as Brightenview's Dundurn Mega-mall in Saskatchewan? That little project that will only cost $120 Million and is supposed to house 350 showrooms for Chinese businesses?
I'm a concerned citizen worried about pipe dreams and promises that raise false hope for the thousands of unemployed and underemployed in Chatham-Kent. Why were all the trips to China necessary when it appears the Chinese connection has been based in Saskatchewan all along? I found the timing of this announcement a bit too convenient and then to have the Chairman of Brightenview Development praise our (current) mayor as being largely responsible for this huge economic boon to C-K just a little too reminiscent of something similar four years ago.
The title of the article is what causes me the most fear: "Brightenview people seek local support" We have the desire to bring employment to the area, the skills to build this structure and the manpower. What kind of support do they need? Hopefully nothing financial as we simply can't afford to subsidize another major project to a private corporation.
Please, someone let us know when the cheque for $804,000 has been deposited and the funds cleared. Until then, please excuse me if I don't hold my breath.
WOW!!! Henrie talk about a negative Nellie. What we have here is a group of good people who have decided to come together in Chatham Kent to invest their money in our area to create jobs for our citizens and low and behold there are people, like you, who have probably never been a part of any type of negotiation, first out of the gate with not one positive word to offer. I for one, know what I am talking about because I was the person who brought these people together. I have traveled to China with Mr. Nystrom and met with many groups and individuals over there in an effort to bring jobs to this area. I have been fortunate to know Mayor Randy Hope and I re-acquainted him with Mr. Nystrom while both were in China. The rest is history. Why would anyone try and switch the meaning of words to aid in your negative tone. Mr. Nystrom and the Brightenview group committed the building of this project to include as much local help as possible. I think you are just an individual who has a personal axe to grind with our Mayor. You just can't grasp all the good he has done for us citizens of Chatham Kent. Sure he has made mistakes and has made people upset but his main goal is for the betterment of this area. So if you don't want people to invest here in Chatham Kent put up big sign telling investors to stay away. If you don't want our progressive Mayor in office then put you name in the political ring and run for the position. If you don't want your friends and neighbors to have access to good paying jobs then keep on being the negative Nellie you are and your wishes might come true because people who invest in new areas don't just look for cheap land and financial packages they look at the people of the area and what they have to offer. They relate to the culture of the city and the volunteers who support the many community programs being offered. They must feel comfortable with the Leaders and the Mayor who leads the community. I know Mr. Joe Zhou and Mr. Lorne Nystrom believe in our area and have told me so. So as citizens of Chatham Kent I feel we owe it to everyone to welcome this project and the people from Brightenview Development. I hope we can work with the Mayor and this group to better our communities. Remember when this is successful other investors will come here to join in the success of our area.
Dan Gelinas. I'm not negative, nor critical. I am however a cynic. Over the last decade, I have seen one major project after another get hyped beyond belief only to see them disappear like the fog when the light of day broke through. Oil refinery in Sombra, Fertilizer Plant in Wallaceburg, Medicinal Pot Farm also for Wallaceburg, just to name three.
Your suggestion I have an axe to grind with Randy Hope is just ludicrous. I have known Randy since the late 70's. He is the only candidate who I know other than by name, and he knows me as well.
I want investment in Chatham Kent. I want investment in Ontario, what I don't want is false hope.
I will make a wager with you, Dan. If I am wrong, (and I hope I am), I will agree to let the Chatham Voice run a full page picture of me with the title "Loser" and I will even pay for the full page color ad *if* this project is built by 2016. If not, you will offer the same. Deal?
Henrie Timmers great offer my friend, but not very practical. I would never consider you or myself a looser and would not want you to publish anything to that effect. You are a concerned citizen who doesn't want his community hurt again. Believe me I understand. I do think we all have to have a little faith and trust. I do know this project is the real deal since I have been best friends with Lorne since 1982. I am privy to much concerning this deal and I think I understand what is going on. Again I do understand why you are concerned if this project will take place. I worked at Navistar and so did my wife and the hurt to us and all our friends and family who worked there with us is still being felt. So Henri I will offer you this, the next time Lorne is in town I will invite you to sit down with us and you can ask questions regarding your concerns. I think you will walk away with a different attitude and understanding of what is going on. Now that saves you money and you keep your picture out of the "Voice". And when this venture becomes a reality I'm sure our friend Jim Blake would put a picture of the both of us celebrating our grand opening.
Dan Gelinas, You have yourself a deal, Dan. I would love to meet with Lorne. I really do want to have hope that Chatham-Kent once again regains at least part of it's economic power that I enjoyed being a part of in the late 70's and early 80's. Every day I think of all the serious jobs, ones that allowed people to earn a decent living, that have left the area. I still name them off in my head.
We have been through a very rough time, and promises of a brighter future have been dangled and lost so many times.
In principle I thought the idea was a good one, and I cite Alibaba.com as an example of why it would work. I believe that group is worth 6 times or does six times the business that Amazon.com does, so I see potential. I just didn't want to hold out hope without something concrete to hold on to.
Please, Dan, keep me updated, keep all of us updated, and I look forward to celebrating the grand opening!