Minister of Infrastructure Monte McNaughton, and Rick Nicholls, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Leamington, made the announcement at Cedarline Greenhouses, a company in Chatham-Kent that will be able to grow its business with this new expansion.
“Our priority is creating and protecting good jobs for the people of Ontario,” said McNaughton in a media reelase. “By lowering energy costs, we’re making businesses more competitive and sending the clear message that Ontario is open for business to create good jobs.”
The government’s new program is intended to enable natural gas expansion in the community of Chatham-Kent, including the construction of two new transmission pipelines and supporting distribution mains.
The Chatham-Kent project could expand natural gas to an estimated 1,300 households and 200 businesses. The municipality estimated the additional natural gas capacity could bring an estimated 1,400 jobs in the greenhouse industry alone.
Switching from propane, electric heat or oil to natural gas can also save an average residential customer between $800 and $2,500 a year.
“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.”
Chatham-Kent is the first community to be named as a recipient under the expansion program, which is targeted to begin in summer 2019. The program, which will be facilitated by the Independent Electricity System Operator, is designed to expand natural gas access to more parts of rural and Northern Ontario, including First Nations communities.
“The Natural Gas Expansion Support Program will help businesses in rural and Northern Ontario, including First Nations, cut energy costs, improve their competitiveness and attract more investment,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. “It will also help expand the natural gas distribution network to households, making life more affordable for families.”