Reaction to NOVA announcement is predictably positive in community

Chamber of Commerce joins various specialty industry groups in lauding $2 billion investment

Pictured is the quality control lab at NOVA Chemicals' Corunna facility.

A chorus of positive reaction is following Friday’s announcement by NOVA Chemicals of a final go-ahead for a $2 billion investment that includes a new polyethylene plant immediately south of its existing Corunna facility.

Among the flurry of positive reactions is that from the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, headed by CEO Shirley de Silva.

“Our members and the entire business community recognize that NOVA’s stature as a great neighbour and a great partner with strong roots says much about the future of our area. And clearly, they have put their words into action in a very significant and visible way,” said de Silva in a news release issued Friday evening.

The investment by NOVA is said to be the largest single investment in the history of Sarnia-Lambton.

Rick Perdeaux, owner of Toolrite Engineering and chair of the Sarnia Lambton Industrial Alliance, said the major investment, including the design, construction, and commissioning of the new plant “will truly define the region as global leaders within the industry.”

‘Announcements like this help demonstrate how taking the long view is what makes this community such a harbour of strength for the new economy.’—Shirley de Silva, CEO, Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

The Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership, Lambton County’s economic development agency, also issued a news release in support of the NOVA announcement.

Bruce Hein, the owner of the Express Employment Professionals office in Sarnia-Lambton, is chair of SLEP.

“Sarnia-Lambton represented a tempting choice for the ownership of NOVA because of its proximity to three existing NOVA Chemicals manufacturing sites, existing pipelines, and transportation infrastructure, however, we believe the local leadership with NOVA and our community earned this opportunity.”

Clearly, the economic benefits of the NOVA announcement will be wide-ranging throughout the community, added Stephen Thompson, SLEP’s CEO, who recently succeeded the now-retired George Mallay.

“The economic boost to both the Sarnia-Lambton petrochemical and refining complex and hybrid chemistry cluster creates a positive climate for research and development, new technologies, innovation, and growth,” said Thompson. “I am confident that our highly-skilled workforce will play a key role in this world-scale polyethylene facility using the best practices and environmental technologies that Sarnia-Lambton has become well known for.”

SLEP officials have said the organization will be planning a roundtable discussion for community and business leaders to discuss how they can be part NOVA’s success and grow from the significant economic opportunities driven by the project.

De Silva of the Chamber of Commerce said NOVA’s announcement is further evidence of how working together as a business community is key for the economy, with Sarnia-Lambton helping propel that engine of growth.

“Announcements like this help demonstrate how taking the long view is what makes this community such a harbour of strength for the new economy,” added de Silva.

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