A group of individuals who continue to advocate for what could, if they are successful, be one of Sarnia-Lambton’s largest commercial projects in decades has been recognized by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.
The Bowman Centre, which is based at the Western Research Park Sarnia-Lambton, was singled out for the award at a ceremony last Friday.
“This group has dedicated an enormous amount of time and considerable expertise to create prosperity in Sarnia-Lambton,” said Rob Taylor, chair of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, referring to several individuals who were in attendance.
Those included Walter Petryschuk, an associate who has spent much of his career in Chemical Valley (he was once plant manager at the former Polysar complex); Don Wood, also an associate; and Katherine Albion, who is director of the Bowman Centre.
One of the major initiatives at the Bowman Centre is a proposed Sarnia-Lambton Advanced Bitumen Energy Refinery—SABER—an initiative that came from a conference held in Sarnia in 2013.
A precipitous fall in oil prices since then has clearly presented a challenge, although it has also sparked a degree of flexibility.
One example of that, says Wood, is reducing the initial scale of the proposed project, along with the inclusion of bio-feedstocks and even the product mix being proposed for SABER.
The core idea behind the project remains consistent, says Petryschuk.
“The fact is, we’re losing billions of dollars in potential added value by not refining bitumen in Canada,” he says. “that, to me, is almost criminal.”
The SABER project hasn’t altered the Bowman Centre’s vision and the existing pipeline infrastructure is sufficient to make the project viable.
Petryschuk also credited the support of the community and various volunteers with the Bowman Centre for their contributions. “Without them, we just wouldn’t get this job done,” he says.