Contact the Economic Partnership >>
Toll Free 1-800-972-7642

About Us
Email this page
Print this page
Enewsletter Sign up
Discoveries That Matter - Sarnia LambtonBest2Invest 2014
News Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership RSS Feed

Lambton community brand unveiled Read More >>

Community brand to be unveiled Read More >>

'Discoveries That Matter' community's new tag line Read More >>

New community brand unveiled Read More >>

2014 News

'Discoveries That Matter' community's new tag line2014-12-18
By Paul Morden, from   The Observer

A new logo with the tag line "Discoveries That Matter" was unveiled Thursday as part of a $70,000 branding effort for Sarnia-Lambton.

A dozen groups in the community funded the research and branding exercise carried out over two years with the help of Nashville-based North Star Destination Strategies and the Toronto firm Yfactor.

"I really liked it," said Sarnia-Lambton MP Pat Davidson, who was among the approximately 160 people attending the unveiling held at the Lambton College Residence and Event Centre.

"It think it's fresh and new," Davidson added.

"And, I think it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people."

According to background information on the branding exercise, "Discoveries" references exploration, new beginnings, growth and development, while the remainder of the tag line captures the idea of being meaningful and important, as well as alluding to chemical matter.

The logo's 14 flags in blue, green and yellow represent the 11 municipalities and three First Nations in the community, as well as referencing industrial machinery, nature and the dynamic of moving forward.

"I'm pleased with it," said Lambton Shores Mayor Bill Weber.

"I think it’s got a modern feels. It's talking about discovering our area. It fits."

George Mallay, general manager of the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, said Alison Mahon with the Community Roundtable first approached him several years ago with the idea of creating a new brand for the community.

Mallay said he was reluctant that first time but Mahon and the Roundtable made the request a second time, and they teamed up with other groups to fund and pursue the idea.

They included Blue Water Bridge Canada, Lambton County, the Grand Bend and Area Chamber of Commerce, Lambton College, the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation, Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce, Sarnia-Lambton Local Immigration Partnership, Sarnia-Lambton Real Estate Board, Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board, Tourism Sarnia-Lambton and the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park.

"It was the right time to tell our story in a different way," Mallay said in a video that was part of Thursday's unveiling.

He also noted Edmonton spent $1 million developing a new brand, so $70,000 "is not much" in comparison.

Mahon said the Community Roundtable approached the partnership because it had been hearing from local residents who said something new was needed to represent the area.

"There have been things going on to change others' impression of the community," she said.

"The community has been changing its own impression. We've been receiving recognition from outside sources. The timing was right."

Mahon said the new brand takes in the entire community, from its sunsets, to discoveries made by Chemical Valley industries, agriculture and other work happening in the area.

"I think it's great because we're finally able to work on a community brand that represents all of us," she said.

Don Anderson, general manager of the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation, said the group working on the project felt confident about the process, as well as the result.

"We really felt confident it was something that was reflective of the community and something we could be proud of moving forward," he said.

"I think we're launching a new road ahead here that is very positive for the community," Mallay said.

"The key is going to be implementation and getting as many stakeholders involved."

Marlene Wood, general manager of Tourism Sarnia-Lambton, said, "We all need to own this brand and take pride in it."

Warwick Township Mayor Todd Case, former warden of Lambton County, said the branding committee put in a lot of work.

"They've come up with a very unique design and I'm hoping the whole county will embrace it."

Information about the branding effort, along with the new logo, can be found at the website

New community brand unveiled2014-12-18

Lambton County unveiled a new community brand Thursday morning with the tag line “Discoveries That Matter.”

The brand was created by a group representing organizations across Lambton County. Working with the marketing design company YFactor, the new brand had a price tag of $70,000.

CEO of YFactor Anya Kodak says coming up with the design was a lengthy process.

Background information says the term “Discoveries” references exploration, new beginnings, growth and development, while “That Matter” captures the idea of being meaningful, important and recognized while also alluding to chemical matter.

GM of Tourism Sarnia-Lambton Marlene Wood says now the new brand is in place the community needs to help build it moving forward.

The logo’s 14 flags represents the 11 municipalities and three First Nation communities in the county.

You can find out more at

Lambton community brand unveiled2014-12-18

 December 18, 2014 – Lambton County, Ontario, Canada – A community brand for use by everyone in Lambton County, Ontario, featuring a customizable logo, was unveiled today. The brand was created by a group representing organizations from across Lambton County.

The brand logo, carrying the tag line “Discoveries That Matter”, is the visual representation of the Brand Print Statement for Lambton. The Brand Print Statement was the result of months of in-depth research on the perceptions and realities surrounding Lambton County as a whole and its individual municipalities. 
A key feature of the brand logo is its flexibility. Available with a number of geographic references related to Lambton County, including “Discoveries That Matter /  Lambton County” and “Discoveries That Matter / Sarnia-Lambton”, the logo’s geographic reference can also be “personalized” to represent any location within Lambton County. The use of “Ontario” or “Canada” are also permissible as geographic references on the logo. The maximum number of geographic references on a logo are two.
“We are thrilled to present this community brand to the people, businesses, and organizations of Lambton County,” said Susan Mills, General Manager of the Grand Bend and Area Chamber of Commerce and a participant in the brand’s working group. “It is truly a grass roots effort that reflects all of our community.”
The community brand is an “umbrella” brand, designed to be used in conjunction with existing brands in use by companies, municipalities, and organizations across the County. Its purpose is to produce a consistent positive message for all of Lambton County, to be used both within and outside of the area.
“Every logo that is used will build and reinforce the brand by carrying the same message and graphic design,” noted Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce President, Rory Ring. “Our County is big, and we each take pride in it, and in our own special part of it. This brand shows the world, and reminds us, that we are all part of the larger community of Lambton County.” 
The community brand can be downloaded at
Tourism Sarnia-Lambton’s General Manager, Marlene Wood, noted, “Unveiling the brand is just the start. Throughout the coming year we will continue to promote ‘Discoveries That Matter’ throughout Lambton. We look forward to watching it grow and become established as a brand that truly represents us all.”
The organizations that have been instrumental in creating the community brand are: Blue Water Bridge Canada; Community Round Table; County of Lambton; Grand Bend and Area Chamber of Commerce; Lambton College; Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation; Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce; Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership; Sarnia-Lambton Local Immigration Partnership; Sarnia-Lambton Real Estate Board; Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board; Tourism Sarnia-Lambton; and Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park.
The research phase of the community brand project was carried out by North Star Destination Strategies.
View the Brand Print Statement and associated research results at
The graphic design phase of the community brand project was carried out by Yfactor.
For further information:
George Mallay, GM
Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership
Marlene Wood, GM
Tourism Sarnia-Lambton
INFO ON LAMBTON’S COMMUNITY BRAND AND LOGO - The logo can be used with:  no geographic reference; one geographic reference; or two geographic references.  Geographic references must be within Lambton County, with the exception of “Ontario” or “Canada”. “Sarnia-Lambton” is considered to be two geographic references.
Name Description – Honing in on the point of differentiation, the brand name is directly reflective of the brand statement. It is purposely not the name of a distinct municipality or geographic region. Instead, it is a community brand name, selected to be used to promote the community equally well for tourism attraction, business attraction and retention, and resident attraction and retention.

Research Park lands bio medical research tenant2014-11-26
Sarnia, ON – The Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park has finalized a 5-year lease with a bio medical research company for 1,500 square feet of space.
Western Phytoceutica Inc. develops evidence-based, high quality, value-added natural health products from plant sources including American ginseng. It also develops alternative sourcing of plant materials for advanced processing. The company has signed a lease for 1,000 square feet of laboratory space and an additional 500 square feet for a pilot plant to accommodate research and development and commercialization.

"We are very pleased that Western Phytoceutica Inc. has selected the Western-Sarnia Lambton Research Park as the venue for furthering its product research and development," says Park Executive Director Tom Strifler. "Medical research is a new area of endeavour for our region and we are excited to work with this company as it establishes its presence locally."

With the lease, the Research Park is now operating at 97 per cent occupancy. It's expected the new tenant will begin operating out of the Research Park in January 2015.
The Western-Sarnia-Lambton Research Park was created in November 2003 with the inception of the Community Development Corporation, owned by the County of Lambton. The Research Park manages and operates the property owned by the CDC. It boasts 270,000 square feet of leasable area and is home to a number of high profile tenants including Nova Chemicals, Enbridge, and WorleyParsons.

Community brand to be unveiled2014-11-20
November 19, 2014 – Sarnia-Lambton, Ontario – Residents, businesses, organizations, and municipalities throughout Lambton County are invited to the unveiling of our community’s brand.

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Lambton College Residence and Event Centre
1457 London Rd
Sarnia ON N7S 6K4

Register online at to attend, or call Jeanny at 519-332-1820 or 1-800-972-7642.

The community brand has been created to produce a consistent message for all of Lambton County, with elements that can be easily incorporated for use by business, government, residents, the tourism sector, and community organizations.

Don Anderson, GM of the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation and one of 12 representatives from across Lambton that has been working on the development of the brand, noted, “It has been a process that has involved a lot of the community – companies, organizations, and residents have provided their thoughts and ideas. We truly feel it is a community effort, and that it is a brand that encompasses all of Lambton County.”

The group of local organizations has been working over the past two years on the brand creation. Destination marketing company North Star Destination Strategies carried out in-depth research, gathering input from over 2,000 contacts representing Sarnia-Lambton residents, businesses, community leaders, and contacts from competing regions in Michigan and the GTA.

The creation of the brand logo and tag line was carried out by marketing and graphics company Yfactor.

The organizations that have been instrumental in creating the brand are: Blue Water Bridge Canada; Community Round Table; County of Lambton; Grand Bend and Area Chamber of Commerce; Lambton College; Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation; Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce; Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership; Sarnia-Lambton Local Immigration Partnership; Sarnia-Lambton Real Estate Board; Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board; and Tourism Sarnia-Lambton.

- ## -

For further information:

George Mallay, GM
Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership

Sarnia area gets another 'look at us' article in Globe and Mail2014-11-19
November 19, 2014

We may have some visitors coming to Sarnia.

And they might be staying a while.

An article in Wednesday’s Globe and Mail newspaper (November 19) may be sparking interest in the community, where homes can be had for under a $100,000, according to Sean Ryan, a local Realtor with Century 21 Bluewater, who was quoted in the article.

The article, by freelancer Kira Vermond, features the story of Murray and Ann Jacobs, who moved to Sarnia some 14 years ago, lifting roots in Newmarket and heading west along the 402 to where they had once lived when Murray worked for CN.

After a promise from Murray that the reluctant Ann would “try it for a year,” they haven’t left.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley has said this kind of publicity can only be helpful to the Sarnia-Lambton area, long known by those of us who can’t imagine living anywhere else in Canada.

“Sarnia Lambton is attracting new residents and national publicity because of an abundance of amenities ranging from location, weather, low housing prices to the overall quality of life,” he said. “A community must be age friendly to all ages and the attraction of Students, Employees, Entrepreneurs and Retirees has been an ongoing strategy of the Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership.”

That so-called SEER strategy has been given a boost by Sarnia’s listing as one of the seven best places to retire in Canada, said Bradley.

“Many of today’s retiree’s retire earlier in life with active life styles, good pensions and disposable income,” he added.

The Globe and Mail story credits, at least in part, the efforts of the Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership, which has been slowly but surely helping to draw attention to those who don’t yet know what we know—this is a great place to live, work and play.

With average home prices in Toronto approaching $560,000, Sarnia’s $220,799 average (most sold were in the $150,000 to $199,000 range) may catch a few eyes.

And after recent days of snowfalls elsewhere, we can all say at least one thing in Sarnia’s favour: “We’re not in Buffalo.”

Measuring Sarnia's appeal, bin by bin2014-11-18
From  The Observer

By Tyler Kula

Free blue boxes are up for grabs to city newcomers as Sarnia tries to get a better sense of who's moving here and why.

Hundreds of unused plastic bins, currently filling a cargo container at public works, are being doled out to new city home owners and those who've been here since 2012.

The gesture is a welcome gift for newcomers and a chance to get to know the neighbours, said Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.

“We do know we have retirees moving here, we have entrepreneurs moving here, but why?” he asked.

Plenty of anecdotal evidence suggests people move to Sarnia for a cheaper cost of living, relatively good weather and other factors; but there's very little in the way of cold, hard facts, said Bradley.

“That's what we're trying to measure,” he said.

Folks who qualify for a free blue box will also be asked to follow up with information about themselves in a survey, including what brought them to Sarnia, city officials said.

That knowledge could help Sarnia when it comes to marketing itself, said Bradley.

The city's population grew 1.3% between 2006 and 2011, according to the most recent Statistics Canada data.

Bradley has said he wants to shoot for 6% to 7% growth.

Meanwhile, the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership (SLEP), responsible for newcomer attraction, Bradley said, has recently been reviewing its efforts.

“We've been struggling for years, trying to find a way to measure the results of what we've been doing,” he said.

“So this gives us at least something more scientific than the anecdotal stuff that we've been dealing with.”

The initiative was officially announced Monday and is funded by a $10,000 donation from Nova Chemicals.

Bought in bulk, each box costs about $5.60, city officials said.

Free blue boxes were also available to residents from the city in the past, said Bryan Prouse, operations manager, but the program was discontinued more than seven years ago for reasons unknown.

“Nova came forward with this opportunity to restart the program and away we go,” he said.

City Engineer Andre Morin has also said the move could help steer people away from using clear plastic bags for recycling.

Using the bags has been discouraged because it's problematic when it comes to waste diversion, he said.

Last year the city collected 4,900 metric tonnes of recyclables — including most fare other municipalities recycle, except Styrofoam, Prouse said. Styrofoam is recyclable, he said, but is very costly to collect.

Everything else “goes into the blue box and it's separated at the recycling centre in Cambridge,” he said.

By 2019, meanwhile, hopes are to have a green cart program in place to recycle kitchen waste like food scraps, Prouse said, noting provincial rules could be coming that make it a requirement.

“It's not here yet, but we are gearing up for it,” he said.

Corn stalk to chemicals project takes another step2014-11-13
From   The Observer
By Paul Morden

Government and private-sector funding is expected to move ahead proposal that could lead to the building of a commercial plant in Sarnia-Lambton to convert cornstalks and wheat stalks into sugar for use in the chemical industry.

Murray McLaughlin, executive director of Sarnia-based Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, said approximately $300,000 from the federal government’s Growing Forward 2 initiative, along with approximately $200,000 from other partners, will be used in the coming year to take a closer look at the technology and how to move it to commercial use.

The objective is to see a commercial plant developed by 2018.

Other partners in the project include the Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Cellulosic Sugar Produces Cooperative, BioAmber Inc., the Integrated Grain Producers Co-operative Inc., Jungbunzlauer Canada Inc., and Ontario Agri-Food Technologies.

This stage of the project is expected to take a year to complete.

"Basically, we're going to evaluate a number of processes that are being developed to process biomass corn stover and wheat straw into sugars, with the whole premise of trying to determine what might be the best technology for our region," McLaughlin said.

"By the end of this study we hope to be in a position where we can identify two or three technologies that would have the ability to produce sugars at the quality that we need."

Work is also being done to establish a cooperative that would look at the "early front-end stage" of collecting corn and wheat stalks to supply a plant.

"And then we would want to establish a sugar mill in the region to take that corn stover to sugar," McLaughlin said.

"Once you have sugar, you can convert those sugars to a number of different chemicals."

There will be conversations in the coming months with companies who could use the sugar to create building-block chemicals, much like the new BioAmber plant now under construction in Sarnia.

The sugar can also be used to make ethanol, McLaughlin said.

"The big thing here is can we get sugar from corn stover that will give us the quality and price that we need?"

Getting that sugar from bio-mass, like cornstalks and wheat stalks, "takes us away from the whole food-versus-fuel debates," McLaughlin said.

"Quality and price are critical," he said.

"As long as we can meet those two criteria, and the supply that's needed, we'll have a ready market, I think."

Plans are for an initial biomass-to-sugar plant in Lambton County, at a site that would be determined later in the process, he said.

Initial "early-stage thinking" is that the plant might require a minimum of 250,000 tonnes of corn stover.

"Which would give us about 125,000 tonnes of sugars."

What a plant would cost to build would depend on the technology used, but McLaughlin said a rough estimate could be between $50 million and $100 million.

Even more exciting, McLaughlin said, is what the production of the sugar could lead to.

"Because if you have sugars available for companies, like the BioAmbers, then it allows us to attract other companies of that nature."

A whole range of bio-based chemical companies could be developed out of the Sarnia region, he said.

Bioamber plant expected to be completed in 20152014-11-10

From   The Observer

Steel work is nearing completion for BioAmber's $135-million bio-succinic acid plant under construction on Vidal Street in Sarnia.

While releasing its quarterly financial results recently, the company provided a update on construction of its first production site in North America.

"Sarnia in a phase of rapid progress and is beginning its final sprint to mechanical completion," said Jean-Francois Huc, BioAmber's chief executive officer.

"We are seeing steady advancement with visible change on a daily basis."

The plant that will use high fructose corn syrup to manufacture bio-succinic acid, a platform chemical used in the making of plastic, cosmetics and other products, remains on-budget and on-schedule to be completed in early 2015, Huc said.

The company said all major pieces of process equipment have been delivered to the Sarnia site and erection of the plant's three large fermenters is approximately 70% completed.

With the steel work and equipment settings nearing completion, focus of the construction work is shifting to piping and electrical work.

Approximately 200 construction workers are on the work site daily, the company said.

BioAmber, formed approximately six years ago, has been making bio-succinic acid at a facility in France using technology that originated in the 1990s with the U.S. Department of Energy. It announced in 2011 it had selected Sarnia as the site for a global-scale plant.

The plant is expected to employ 60 permanent workers and the company has already begun hiring and training staff.

Along with loans and funds raised in the stock market, the company has received significant backing from Canadian government grants and loans.

While construction was underway on the 11-acre site at the Lanxess Bio-industrial Park in Sarnia, the company also announced plans for two additional plants, and recently completed another public offering that raised $36 million.

"The public offering completed in July strengthened our balance sheet and enabled us to accelerate work on our next plant, including initial engineering work, site screening and funding," Huc said.

The first of the company's future plant projects is expected to cost $400 million and will produce both succinic acid and butanediol. That facility is expected to be built in North America and BioAmber officials have said Sarnia is in the running.

Huc has said the company plans to have a site selected, and financing in place, by late next year. Construction is expected to begin in 2017.

Eastern Canada's energy hub2014-11-10

By Mudeeha Yousaf

A hub for all things oil and energy, the City of Sarnia located in southern Ontario is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a bang and with the vision of furthering its population, economy and pivotal industries. Sarnia, located in Lambton County, is invested in the continued evolution of changing the economy, not only to retain citizens and attract new ones, but also to put its name on the map and stand out for its innovative practices. The city houses a 165 square-kilometer area of land in the northwest corner of Sarnia-Lambton and bolsters a population of over 70, 000, combining the comfort of small-town living with the amenities of a large urban city.

Sarnia, the largest city on Lake Huron, started its roots as Port Sarnia in 1857 then shifted to a massive railroad community, to a manufacturing and petrochemical centre, and today participates in a combination of these activities and is pivotal to the nations economy, being the gateway to the Canada-United States border. The city houses large refining and chemical companies and nurtures a booming petrochemical industry, and under the leadership of Mayor Mike Bradley, Sarnia is active in driving the municipality’s economy forward. Mayor Bradley, who is Chair of the Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership – an organization responsible for economic development in the region – has had a hand in growing the city for the last 26 years and is in his 8th term as city leader. Mayor Bradley spoke to Business Elite Canada about the cities pivotal year and roaring energy industry.

Being well established as an economy driven by the petrochemical industry, the city aims to build its future based on the industry that has shaped its past, though wants to strategize a more effective way to develop this. “It is our strength and will continue to be our strength,” says Mayor Bradley. “Though, we will also move towards diversification and that is an on-going effort.” The next step for the development of the city is to move towards alternative fuels and energy sources, such as that found in bio-fuels. “Most of the work for improving our petrochemical industry in Sarnia goes through the University of Western Ontario Research Centre located right here in Sarnia. They take a leadership role including processing oil from the west.” The Western University Research Park established by Western University is a joint venture with the County of Lambton as well as the city of Sarnia and specializes in industrial biotechnology.

Internationally known as an industrial chemical centre, Sarnia is the base for many refineries because of its central location, access to raw materials and transportation routes. “We are eastern Canada’s energy centre,” says Mayor Bradley glowingly. “But we’re often undervalued in the Ontario economy.” The city is the home of the groundbreaking, state-of-the-art, BioAmber plant. “It’s the first of its kind in North America that takes acid from corn and turns it into anything from car parts to make-up. We have sites that were former operations that can be redeveloped and environmentally ready to go.” It is because of Sarnia’s large presence in the petrochemical industry that large refineries, such as Imperial Oil and Shell Canada, operate in the city, and Chemical Valley is home to over 62 facilities which is the heart of Sarnia’s infrastructure.

The city is also instrumental in adding value to the economy through its rich manufacturing sector for the U.S. and Canada. It also bolsters a booming labor market with over 5000 construction jobs for a high level of skilled laborers. A key aspect of the city, shares Bradley, is also to attract business, which has been a difficult climb since the recession in 2008. “We focused on other industries like call centers to create jobs and recently opened a 300 person call center a few months ago. We’ve also focused on gaming and other sectors, but the major industry is chemical and bio-fuels,” he shares. “Lambton College is a major educational facility which is integrating with us in training, and instrumental in developing our workforce and training for the petrochemical industry.”

Sarnia celebrated a century of existence through celebrations in their downtown core with a festival event which attracted over 10, 000 people, and featured successful Sarnia natives. “100 years is a blimp in time but in Canada it is significant. It is a benchmark of where we’re going,” says Mayor Bradley. “Our quality of life, workforce, educational facilities, affordable housing and proximity to the U.S. is significant to attracting people and is our strength as a city.”

Gas-fired powered plant rising near Courtright2014-11-08
From   The Observer

By Paul Morden

The natural gas-fired electricity plant voters in Mississauga didn't want is taking shape on Oil Springs Line in St. Clair Township.

Construction is well underway on the $360-million plant Ontario's Liberal government announced in 2012 for Lambton County, to replace a controversial one Toronto-based Eastern Power was building in Mississauga when the province called a halt to the work during the 2011 provincial election campaign.

Initially, the province offered Eastern Power the option of building a replacement 300-MW plant on land next to the now mothballed coal-fired Lambton Generating Station, but the company decided on a site just down the road and began construction in July 2013.

Hubert Vogt, vice-president of Eastern Power, said the buildings are now up at the site of what's known as the Greenfield South Power Corporation project.

Those buildings are being enclosed and an electrical switch yard is being built.

"Our heat recovery steam generator and our cooling tower are done, so all of the major pieces are pretty well there," Vogt said.

"Now, it's question of hooking it all up and integrating all of the pieces of equipment with one another."

Company officials hope the work can be completed in the spring of 2015, he said.

Vogt said there are approximately 150 construction trades people currently working at the site, as well as the company's supervision and engineering staff.

The plant is expected to have a full-time staff of approximately 20 workers, once it's operating.

A chief operating engineer for the site has been been the only permanent position filled so far, but the company has been working on plans to fill the rest of the staff positions, Vogt said.

"We've just got a process in place and it will be unfolding pretty soon."

He said construction has progressed without major issues, so far, although the recent cold winter was a challenge since much of the work happening at that time was outside.

"This year, we should have most of the work in the winter to be done indoors," Vogt said.

"We're happy that things have moved along as smoothly as they have.

"Hopefully in about half a year's time, or so, we'll be starting the plant up, and we'll end up with at least 20 years of operating time out of this facility, or maybe more."

City lands spot on Globe and Mail list2014-11-05
By Barbara Simpson, from   The Observer

Sarnia has been named one of the seven wonders of Canada in which to retire by Globe and Mail readers.

The lmperial City landed fifth on The Globe's "Seven great places - yes in Canada - to retire" list published in the national newspaper Wednesday.

While Globe readers helped shape the list with suggestions for communities, contributing writer Kira Vermond fleshed out why Sarniais a gem for retirees, pointing to the community's trails, beaches and golf courses, as well as inexpensive real estate.

"Sell a $700,000 home in Toronto and use $329,900 to purchase a three-bedroom bungalow on half an acre across from Lake Huron,"Vermond wrote in the article. "The median age in this mature community of 129,000 is 54.20, so you'll have plenty of retiree company."

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley welcomed the city's billing as a top retirement community from a national newspaper."lt's good publicity because the demographics in Canada are shiftìng," he said, poínting to baby boomers who are retiring early and areoften equipped with better pensions compared to previous generat¡ons of seniors.

By 2031, Statistics Canada has estimated that 23% of all Canadians will be seniors.

When asked if national businesses lookìng for young workforces may be detracted from setting up shop in a place dubbed aretirement community, Bradley said he didn't think that would be the case.

"We need to be an age-friendly community whether you're 20 or 80,' he said.The Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership and its partners have been working on efforts to attrect a variety of residents, includingstudents and immigrants, noted Bradley, who chairs the organization.

The City of Sarnia saw a 1.3% increase to its population between 2006 and 2011, according to the most recent Statistics Canada datamade available. The majority of Sarnia residents were between the ages of 45 and 64 in 2011.

But Bradley contends he isn't satisfied with the city's rate of population growth, suggesting it should be between 6% and 7o/o lor a citythe síze of Samia.

SLEP is in the process of reviewing all its resident-attraction efforts, he noted."We're looking at how successful those efforts are," he said.

Other Canadian communities who made the list of great places to retire include Crystal Beach, Ont., Sechelt, 8.C., Nanaìmo, 8.C., Stratford, Ont., the Bay of Quinte, Ont., and Brockville, ONt.

All of these communities are expected to be individually profiled in The Globe and Mail in a seven-part series.

Torontonians cashing in their chips help drive record home sales2014-10-22
From    The Sarnia Journal

Marco Vigliotti

Low interest rates, affordable prices and a swelling tide of seniors moving from the Toronto region are credited with propelling Sarnia home sales to unexpected record heights.

Donna Mathewson, sales representative with Royal LePage, says a combination of opportune financial conditions and a wave of newcomers is responsible for pushing home sales past the $40-million mark last month, the highest September total ever recorded by the Sarnia-Lambton Real Estate Board.

“It’s a bit of both,” she said of the role historically low interest rates and incoming retirees have played in driving sales.

“We do have some people coming in from outside of town … but we also have people moving up.”

Housing sales in dollar value were up 39% in the month of September and 13% over the year. The number of properties sold was 22% higher last month than a year ago.

The record sales figures are all the more surprising given Sarnia’s listless economy. The current municipal election campaign is dominated by debates on how to attract needed new investment and jobs.

Mathewson, though, remains optimistic. Sarnia is in a strong position after weathering the last recession better than many Ontario communities, she said.

“As long as our industry maintains here and as along as we can get secondary jobs in like our call centres, then I would predict that we’re going to sit better than our bigger city counterparts.”

Attracting newcomers has also been beneficial, according to Mathewson, who praises a campaign by the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership for successfully selling the region to retirees in the Greater Toronto Area.

“We have so much to offer for retirees that this select group has been targeting the Toronto area for the past few years. And I think it’s working,” she added.

The Real Estate Board is maintaining statistics on where people are relocating from but those numbers are not currently available.

Two new physicians to North Lambton Community Health Centre2014-10-21
The Physician Recruitment Taskforce of Sarnia Lambton in partnership with the North Lambton Community Health Centre are proud to announce the recruitment of Dr. Kate Brown and Dr. Natalia Koldewey.

Both physicians will be working part-time at the North Lambton Community Health Centre at the Forest and Kettle Point sites. Kathy Bresset, Executive Director for the Health Centre says, “We are pleased to have two female physicians join our team with experience with Aboriginal Health, Geriatrics, and physical fitness”

Dr. Kate Brown is a Sarnia-native, who has been on the Taskforce’s radar since she first began her medical education. Carly Nienhuis, physician recruiter for the Taskforce says, “We have been in communication with Dr. Brown since she first began her journey through medical school. The recruitment of Dr. Brown is a true testament to the time and dedication it can take in the recruitment of a new physician.” Brown was one of three recipients of the 9th Annual Legacy Scholarship Awards offered by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and the Physician Recruitment Taskforce in 2013. This year marked the final year of the scholarship.

Dr. Natalia Koldewey has been providing locum coverage at the Health Centre for the past 2 months, before deciding to make the move from Ottawa to Forest. She is currently still practicing in Ottawa until January 2015, when she will be relocating to Forest.

North Lambton Community Health Centre provides primary health care, chronic disease and health promotion programs in the surrounding areas of Forest, Kettle Point, Watford and Sarnia. Two additional sites operate in Sarnia for Cardiac Rehab on Essex Street and Pulmonary Rehab on Michigan Ave. The CHC team of staff, community board members and volunteers will be celebrating the promotion of health and well- being for 20 years in our communities.

“The rural areas of Lambton County have such a large need for family physicians that we hope to continue our partnership with the North Lambton Community Health Centre and Lambton Shores to assist in the recruitment of more physicians in the future.” says Nienhuis.

Pitch for bitumen upgrader in Sarnia-Lambton2014-10-10
Development of an estimated $10-billion bitumen upgrader refinery in Sarnia-Lambton was pitched recently in Edmonton.

Director of the Bowman Centre at the Sarnia-Lambton Research Park, Dr. Katherine Albion and Walter Petryschuk discussed the plans with a group of government, labour, business and academia representatives in a session hosted by the Alberta Federation of Labour and Unifor.

Albion says their presentation was made alongside another refinery proposal by Pacific Energy in British Columbia.

Albion says they highlighted that existing pipeline networks can be used in Lambton County to safely deliver the bitumen.

The refinery would produce ultra-low sulphur diesel, gasoline and other high-value products for the global market.

Sarnia-Lambton residents to be asked for input regarding internet connectivity2014-10-08
October 8, 2014 - Sarnia-Lambton ON – The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, in association with the Southwest Economic Alliance (SWEA), wants to hear from local residents regarding their accessibility to the internet and their use of information communication technologies (ICT) for earning income, communicating, and training.

To better understand the needs of the Sarnia-Lambton region and ultimately reduce gaps in access to the internet, and to determine ways to better utilize ICT for economic development, the Economic Partnership is partnering with SWEA to launch the Intelligent Region Initiative – Prosperity Through Connectivity Survey.

The upcoming ten minute on-line survey will gather information about local use of the internet for learning, economic development, employment and business applications, as well as gathering information on internet accessibility in Lambton County.

“Most areas of Sarnia-Lambton have excellent access to internet, but we do have areas with limited connectivity,” noted Economic Partnership GM George Mallay. “To remain competitive in a global market place, businesses and individuals must improve their use of information communication technologies, and have ready access to the internet.”

Lambton County residents, local municipalities, educational institutions, health care and social service agencies, small and medium businesses, farmers, not for profit agencies, and community groups who want to have their voices heard by participating in the survey can contact SWEA’s Sarnia-Lambton Community Engagement Coordinator at, or by calling the Economic Partnership at 519-332-1820, extension 239.

Survey results will be analyzed by a team of consultants from CISCO who will provide a benchmarking report in late 2014, early 2015. A roadmap outlining the path needed for Sarnia-Lambton to meet the criteria for the Intelligent Communities Forum's Intelligent Community designation will be custom designed for the Sarnia-Lambton area by CISCO.

For more information about this project visit

- ## -

For further information contact:

George Mallay
General Manager
Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership

200 more jobs at Atelka Sarnia2014-10-02
Atelka is proud to announce that after six months of Operation in Sarnia, we have been presented with an opportunity to expand our workforce to over 400 employees. Currently operating with an employee base of approximately 200, we look forward to achieving our new target of 400 employees by March 2015. This expansion will help support our existing Telecommunications client.

Lambton College launches entrepreneurship incubator2014-09-23
From  The Lambton Shield
By JD Booth
In an ongoing commitment to foster the entrepreneurial spirit of students, faculty and staff, Lambton College has launched an initiative designed to inspire entrepreneurship activities on campus and in the community.
Taking its cue from global business incubators, Lambton College’s “The Cube” was developed as an on-campus entrepreneurial hub in partnership with Enactus Lambton, which aims to help students achieve their goals of becoming entrepreneurs or corporate innovators.
With funding from the Government of Ontario’s On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) program, The Cube will also give local entrepreneurs the opportunity to build and expand their personal network through things like mentorship collaborations, community partnerships and access to global resources. Program administrators say the end goal is to develop a pipeline of people who are on course to become the region’s next generation of entrepreneurs.
“Fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among students is a key component of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy, through programs that help transfer their ideas and skills to the marketplace while creating rewarding careers,” says Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. “By partnering with colleges and universities to support entrepreneurship, we are ensuring our province’s business leaders of tomorrow are getting the support they need to succeed today.”
Funding in the amount of $200,000 from the OCEA program will help The Cube to establish entrepreneurship activities at the college over the next two years. The new hub has also received an additional $286,000 in the form of cash and in-kind contributions on behalf of the college and other regional partners. The program is being administered by Ontario Centres of Excellence.
“Ontario Centres of Excellence is pleased to be able to deliver this project as a trusted partner of the Government of Ontario. I look forward to putting our years of experience in connecting academia and industry, and our on-going support of young entrepreneurs to good use in making this initiative a tremendous success,” says Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence.
The program’s official kickoff event, fittingly dubbed Thrills of Entrepreneurship, will be held on Thursday, October 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the college’s cafeteria. The event is open to anyone from the community with an interest in entrepreneurship.
Other future activities on the roster include entrepreneurship boot camps, pitch competitions, a guest speaker series, networking events and external resource referrals. 
“Lambton College has always offered a diverse range of program delivery and experiential learning options in the area of entrepreneurship,” says Judith Morris, President & CEO, Lambton College. “The addition of this entrepreneurial hub will allow us to further arm our students with the skills needed to jumpstart the growth of businesses in Sarnia-Lambton as well as offer resources and support to other community innovators.”
Fostering entrepreneurship opportunities on campus was deemed one of the highlights of the college’s recently released Strategic Mandate Agreement. The launch of The Cube on campus falls directly in line with Lambton College’s focus on ensuring that students receive the entrepreneurial skills needed to succeed in a global market and their commitment to maintaining mutually beneficial partnerships with local businesses and industry.
For more information about The Cube and how you can get involved, please contact Anja Christensen, Entrepreneurship Officer, Lambton College at 519-542-7751 ext 3007 or
For event updates, connect with The Cube on social media by Liking their Facebook page at or following them on Twitter@TheCubeLC.
Working through the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs, the OCEA program is an initiative of the Government of Ontario under the Youth Jobs Strategy and is being managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence.

Alvinston grower raises edamame2014-09-23

EMI Agency

An Alvinston-area farming operation is being credited as the first producer of 100% naturally-grown edamame in Canada.An Alvinston-area farming operation is being credited as the first producer of 100% naturally-grown edamame in Canada.

Ninety-nine per cent of the edamame, a specialized soybean, consumed in Canada is imported from China.

Yet MacKellar Farms grows a product that’s GMO-free and wholly owned and operated in Canada.

Owner is Jacob MacKellar who says while many Canadians balk at buying other produce, such as apples, from China, they don’t give a second thought to the origins of their edamame.

“We’re a fourth-generation Canadian farm that proudly distributes a premium legume from our own backyard,” said MacKellar. “Our family saw an opportunity ripe for the picking in edamame. With the vast majority of edamame coming from China, we thought – why not replace the imports with something that’s local and Canadian?”

The locally-grown vegetable provides consumers with protein, fibre and essential amino acids, says the young Lambton farmer.

MacKellar has been growing edamame for five years. The first two were experimental, while the last three years have produced the commercial product. About 300 acres are grown annually.

The product is flash frozen so it can be sold year-round.

“We own the product all the way through the supply chain,” said MacKellar.

The edamame is sold in about 350 small stores, mostly health food stores in urban areas, as well as to some re-packers.

Ninety-nine per cent of the edamame, a specialized soybean, consumed in Canada is imported from China.

Yet MacKellar Farms grows a product that’s GMO-free and wholly owned and operated in Canada.

Owner is Jacob MacKellar who says while many Canadians balk at buying other produce, such as apples, from China, they don’t give a second thought to the origins of their edamame.

“We’re a fourth-generation Canadian farm that proudly distributes a premium legume from our own backyard,” said MacKellar. “Our family saw an opportunity ripe for the picking in edamame. With the vast majority of edamame coming from China, we thought – why not replace the imports with something that’s local and Canadian?”

The locally-grown vegetable provides consumers with protein, fibre and essential amino acids, says the young Lambton farmer.

MacKellar has been growing edamame for five years. The first two were experimental, while the last three years have produced the commercial product. About 300 acres are grown annually.

The product is flash frozen so it can be sold year-round.

“We own the product all the way through the supply chain,” said MacKellar.

The edamame is sold in about 350 small stores, mostly health food stores in urban areas, as well as to some re-packers. >

New housing starts up in Sarnia2014-09-20

By Paul Morden, from   The Observer

Sarnia is seeing plenty of new home construction this year.

As of the end of August, there were 79 new housing starts in the city, compared to 55 at the same point in 2013, said Alan Shaw, Sarnia's chief building official.

"We had a good month in August."

The total value of construction covered by the 430 permits issued that month in the city was $7.3 million, up from $6.6 million in August 2013.

But the total value of construction in the city stretching back to the beginning of the year sat at only $46.7 million as the end of August.

That's down from $51.1 million at the same point in 2013, Shaw said.

"This year is a bit wonky because of the cold winter," he added.

"A lot of projects were delayed so we're seeing that sort of echo through the year."

If the weather holds into the fall, Shaw said he expects healthy construction numbers will continue.

"A lot of the local builders and contractors and tradesmen are busy playing catch up," he said.

This year's building numbers are relatively stable, compared with the city's experience over the last decade.

"We had some really bonus years back in 2008-2009 with some major institutional, commercial type projects, but those number have subsided a little bit," Shaw said.

"We’re seeing more a return to what we've seen historically."

Students learn to grow what they cook2014-09-20

By Paul Morden, from   The Observer

When culinary students at Lambton College need some basil or oregano, they can go to the cupboard or they can step outside the program's kitchen and pick something fresh from one of the planter boxes set up in a quiet courtyard.

And, they'll graduate knowing how to create and maintain a sustainable garden for kitchens they go to work in.

It all began when Alastair Mackay, the college's culinary program coordinator, arranged for students to tour Smith Homestead Farm on Oil Springs Line, where Paul and Jan Smith raise herbs and berries, along with heirloom tomatoes and vegetables.

Paul Smith said it was during one of the tours that he told the students, "You guys are going to have to learn how to grow what you cook."

Beginning this school year, that's what second-year students in the culinary management program are doing in a new sustainable agriculture course taught by Smith.

It began with several boxes Smith designed for the courtyard and planted with herbs, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, leeks, beets, squash and other vegetables and plants, including flowers to attract pollinators needed for the garden to survive.

Most of the flowers are also edible and can be used in the program's kitchen by students in salads and to garnish plates.

With the summer winding down, some of the plants have also been allowed to go to seed, that will be collected and replanted as part of the approach to sustainable growing.

"Seed saving is an important factor for reducing costs for future years," Mackay said, about one of the practical lessons students will learn.

Several months ago, he began the process of gaining approval to include the new course in the program.

The class Smith teaches includes theory, as well as hands-on experience planting and growing food in the college's greenhouse.

Mackay said areas the course focuses on include soil fertility, seed diversity, crop rotation and companion planting.

The garden reinforces lessons learned in class, including a box demonstrating companion planting with its combination of tomatoes, peppers, basil and oregano.

"All four of those products not only go together on the plate," Mackay said, "they actually grow really well together."

They even tried out some approaches to growing produce through the winter last year, but most of the plants didn't make it through the long stretches of bitter cold days.

"However, the kale survived," Mackay said.

"We refer to kale as a super food, and now we know why."

Local food and organic food are buzzwords in the culinary industry today, and the program already teaches students about sourcing local food and creating seasonal menus.

"The premise of the course, for our students, is to give them the confidence that they can do this on their own," he said while standing in the garden.

"Not only teaching them to cook, but to cook with the food that they've grown."

The hands-on experience and knowledge gained in the garden, greenhouse and sustainable agriculture class is something students can put on their resume, and put to use in their careers, Mackay said.

"It's an important part of the culinary program that students are given an opportunity to not just understand, but be able to work inside a garden that engages in sustainable practices," said Donna Church, executive dean of academic affairs.

She added the work being done by Smith at the college may also lead to research projects, and as well as opportunities for the college's part-time studies program.

Production levels growing at Sombra bio-diesel plant2014-09-17

By Paul Morden, from   The Observer

Production at Methes Canada's Sombra bio-diesel plant hit a record level in August.

The company that manufactures bio-diesel at the Holt Line plant said it produced more than 412,000 gallons in August, surpassing the previous monthly high of 308,00 gallons recorded in November last year.

The renewable energy company took over the former Chinook Chemical plant in St. Clair Township and began production in 2013 of bio-diesel from used cooking oil and other renewable feedstocks.

Methes shipped a record 18 rail cars of production in August, generating revenues of more than $1.3 million.

"We quite proud of that," said CEO Michel Laporte.

"We're continuing on this strength of August, going forth for the rest of the year,"

Methes also reported record production of nearly 800,000 gallons of dio-diesel in Sombra in its third quarter.

The company said it expects to ship more than 25 rail cars in September.

Laporte said the team of 25 to 30 employees that Methes has in place in Sombra is working well and providing the company with "peace of mind."

Production hasn't reached full capacity at the Sombra facility, Laporte said.

"Our goal is to be very close to 100% in October, November and December," he said.

"We're in the midst of finalizing some contracts with our clients right now that would give us that volume."

Earlier announced plans to double production in Sombra are "still in the cards," he said.

"We're finalizing some engineering work on that front."

The proposed expansion to take annual capacity at the plant from 13 million gallons to 26 million gallons would require changes in the company's provincial environmental approvals.

"It's not just building something," Laporte said. "There is the compliance side that does take time."

He said the company is also being kept busy by the response to its recent announcement of Methes Energy has called a "game-changer" in its technology for pre-treating oils before making bio-diesel.

"We are receiving calls from around the world from some very large companies and some very nice players to be engaged with," he said.

Methes president Nicholas Ng said the company could be adding "significantly to our bottom line from equipment and catalyst sales over the next few years."

Laporte said the aim is to deploy the company's technology with current bio-diesel producers around the world.

Methes originally had high hopes for a new bio-diesel mandate in Ontario and the possibility it could boost domestic demand, but that hope faded when the provincial mandate was announced earlier this year.

"I don't think the mandate has enough teeth, in terms of volume," Laporte said.

"I don't see a big change in dynamics, or a huge spike in local demand because of the mandate. Unfortunately, I think the Ontario government took the wrong path."

Methes continues to push its product to markets in the U.S., he said.

Applied research proves mutually beneficial for College and Feher Machine2014-09-17
Sarnia, ON, September 17, 2014 -- In an ongoing commitment to strengthen industry partnerships and support local businesses, Lambton College Applied Research & Innovation continues to develop suitable working models for collaborative applied research and commercialization activities. These initiatives range from direct research contracts to collaborative projects supported by public funding. All of them are faculty-led and involve students, thus providing a real-life applied research experience on campus.

One such collaboration involving Feher Machine & Manufacturing Inc. has proven to be mutually beneficial between the college and the precision and custom CNC machining company. Family owned and operated for 35 years, Feher aims to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction by continuously improving their manufacturing processes.

The local business has an extensive collaborative history with Lambton College, which started with an initial partnership funded through the FedDev Applied Research and Commercialization program. The goal of the project was to mechanically improve Feher’s patented technology to manufacture flexible composite hose. Riding on the success of the project’s first phase, the college was granted further funding through the Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE) to develop a collapsible mandrel that allowed Feher to produce composite hose at different diameters to meet customer needs. The result meant a significant improvement from the original technology and, consequently, the company’s growth.

After experiencing the positive effects of the first two collaborations, Feher turned to Lambton College a third time, seeking assistance in improving the efficiency of their production line with a focus on automation and instrumentation. The college was able to secure funding for this project from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program to execute an assessment of the company’s FlexComp production line. Based on the results of this assessment and support from the college, Feher received additional funding from the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program to implement these findings into their own processes using college faculty and students, which included the installation of various instrumentation and automation systems.

Overall, these projects have helped Feher to decrease their production time by nearly 30 per cent, cut labour dependency by nearly half, and improve production line safety by 50 per cent.

“Partnering with Lambton College has given us access to knowledge and technologies pooled from resources that are not readily available to small businesses,” says Paul Feher, Vice President, Operations, Feher Machine & Manufacturing Inc.

Additionally, the upgrades to the FlexComp production line proved so successful that Feher saw a need to market their composite hose separately from their existing product line and target a more defined customer base. Once again, the manufacturer partnered with Lambton College to develop a website for FlexComp ( The e-commerce project was funded through the OCE Voucher for E-Business (VEB) program and developed by a Lambton College student, who was actually hired by the company as a marketing consultant upon completion.

“The multi-faceted partnership between Feher and Lambton College has proven to be mutually beneficial for both parties,” says Mehdi Sheikhzadeh, Dean, Applied Research & Innovation, Lambton College. “Our students have gained valuable experience from their involvement in the projects, our faculty are able to further develop their skills and expertise, while a company like Feher is given the opportunity to improve their technology and production lines along with the ability to market their product.”

Lambton College would like to share more stories like Feher’s to showcase the advantage and value of local collaborations. If you are interested in learning more about applied research at Lambton College, please contact Andrea Hands, Research Development & Outreach Coordinator, Lambton College at 519-542-7751 ext 3523 or via email at

For more information on Applied Research & Innovation at Lambton College, please visit

For media inquiries or more information, contact:

Jami Kloet
Corporate Communications Coordinator
Lambton College
Telephone: 519-542-7751 ext. 3337
Mobile: 519-328-2081

Making exporting easier the goal of new community effort2014-09-10

Sarnia-Lambton, Ontario, Canada – September 10, 2014 –The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation are partnering in a community wide effort to gather information that will identify opportunities and challenges associated with exporting goods and services from Lambton County.

The information collected will be used to identify needs, concerns and opportunities related to exporting; and ease the exporting process by identifying local actions that can be undertaken to meet exporters’ needs. The project will also customize and enhance procedures and programs to assist and support Sarnia-Lambton businesses with their exporting plans.

The ultimate goal of the project is to increase the prosperity of businesses in the area by helping them access cross-border and world-wide markets for their products and services.

Lambton County businesses that export, or companies that are considering exporting, will be asked for their participation.

George Mallay, General Manger of the Economic Partnership, noted that a Business and Retention Survey focused on exporting has been developed specifically for the project. “We have a slate of volunteers who will be contacting local companies,” he said. “We hope that that our local business owners and operators will have time to schedule 30 – 45 minutes in which our volunteers can visit to gather their input for the survey.”

The information collected will be used to identify needs, concerns and opportunities related to exporting, and to ease the exporting process by identifying local actions that can be undertaken to meet exporters’ needs.

“We also plan to customize and enhance procedures and programs that will assist and support Sarnia-Lambton businesses with their exporting plans,” noted Mallay.

Over the next two months a number of area businesses will be receiving invitation letters explaining they may benefit from the project, and requesting their assistance.

Any Sarnia-Lambton businesses person that wishes to participate in this project to enhance the exporting capabilities of the area may contact Jeanny Leung at the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership by phoning 519-332-1820, extension 230, or by e-mail at

The custom designed “Business Retention and Expansion” survey was developed with the assistance of the Ontario Ministry of Rural Affairs, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development & Infrastructure and Export Development Canada, among others.

- ## -

For further information contact:

Dave Moody
Project Leader – Business Growth Services
Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership

Sarnia-Lambton hungry for food processors2014-09-10

By Paul Morden, from The Observer

Sarnia-Lambton officials are stepping up efforts to draw food processing companies and jobs to the community.

The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership said that with the support of Bio-industrial Innovation Canada, and local farm organizations, a new project will work to boost awareness of the opportunities in the community, with the hope of attracting one or more food processing facilities and the jobs that come with them.

With the help of government funding, the partnership commissioned a study on food processing opportunities and is now following up on its recommendations, said George Mallay, general manager of the economic partnership, the agency funded by Lambton County to promote economic development.

"Food processing now employs more people than the automotive industry in Ontario, so it is important we at least be on the radar," Mallay said

"The food processing industry is a big industry and we have limited resources so the intent is to focus our efforts on those areas that indicate we might have the best chance for success."

Over the next two years, the partnership plans to focus on export-oriented processors who may be attracted to Sarnia-Lambton's location on the border with Michigan, companies looking for brownfield sites, as well as large-scale ingredient manufacturers.

Officials will be developing business cases for those sectors and continuing to talk with people in the industry.

"And then we will be rolling out a more aggressive program to target companies," Mallay said.

Confectionery is a product area the study identified could have potential for locating in Sarnia-Lambton, Mallay said.

That industry includes candy and chocolate makers, as well as baked confectionery.

"We're trying to get a better understanding of that industry, how it's structured, and who the key players are," he said.

"Another area for us is the potential for more greenhouse operations here."

The area has access to a large supply of natural gas, a source of energy used by that industry, Mallay said.

"We don't have as much greenhouse industry as other parts of southern Ontario, so we think there's more opportunity in that area."

The partnership has been looking at the food processing industry in recent years with the aim of diversifying the local economy.

Along with providing new jobs, processors attracted to the community could also provide new customers for local farms.

Mallay said the study found Sarnia-Lambton could be competitive in the industry.

"We do have lots of water," he said. "We do have lots of natural gas. We do have sites that are zoned and serviced for those types of uses. We are well located to export to the U.S."

One of the challenges is that, unlike other parts of Ontario, Sarnia-Lambton doesn't already have a cluster of food industries it can build on, Mallay said.

"Given that we don't have the infrastructure in place, and we don't have really any buildings that are purpose-built for food processing, that makes it more challenging for us."

Economic Partnership Board members meeting to update strategy2014-09-08

Sarnia-Lambton, Ontario, Canada – September 08, 2014 – The Board of the area’s economic development agency will be meeting to evaluate and update its current economic development strategy for Lambton County.

The directors of the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership will meet at a facilitated five-hour session to review the agency’s strategic action plan. The current strategic plan can be viewed online at

The public is invited to view the meeting; however there will be no public participation at this session. To register as an audience member, please contact Kathleen at 519-332-1820 / 1-800-972-7642 or

8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Septembere 16, 2014
Sarnia Riding Club
980 Riding Club Lane
Sarnia ON N7V 4J2

- ## -

Economic Partnership launches food processing development initiative2014-09-08

Sarnia-Lambton, Ontario – September 08, 2014 - The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership will begin a food processing development initiative to attract food processors to the area. The project will develop detailed business cases and marketing materials highlighting Sarnia-Lambton to target key food processing sectors.

With support from Bioindustrial Innovation Canada and local agricultural organizations, the project will create awareness of Sarnia-Lambton as a potential destination for food processors. They hope to attract one or more food processing facilities to the area.

Over the next two years, the Partnership will focus its attention on export-oriented processors who may want to take advantage of Sarnia-Lambton’s border location, food processing related facility relocations that may utilize brown field opportunities, and processed foods and industrial ingredients manufacturers.

The project was initiated to take advantage of the strong local agriculture industry with the aim of diversifying Sarnia-Lambton’s economy and job-base. If successful, the initiative will lead to an increase of local food processing facilities, potential value-chain opportunities for local agricultural producers, and create employment opportunities within the industry.

This project is funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.

For further information contact:

George Mallay
General Manager
Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership

Sarnia-Lambton agency endorsed by business magazine2014-09-02
By  Paul Morden, from   The Observer
The agency responsible for attracting businesses and industry to Sarnia-Lambton has been named one of Canada's top 10 economic development groups.
This is the fourth time the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership has made the annual list compiled by Site Selection magazine and announced Tuesday as part of the publication's seventh annual Canada's Best to Invest awards.
"It's always a good thing," said George Mallay, the partnership's general manager.
"The more recognition you can get for the area, the better."
The partnership also made the magazine's 2006-2007, 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 top 10 lists.
It isn't an award the partnership applies for, Mallay said.
"They kind of do their own thing."
The magazine, published by Atlanta-based Conway Data, chooses its annual top 10 economic development groups based on project data, regional partnerships, proactive and innovative programming, web tools and resources.
"The audience is, basically, people involved in the site selection business," Mallay said.
Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, chairperson of the partnership's board, said in a press release that credit for the award goes to the hard work being done by Mallay and the staff at the agency.
"The economy has been tough and the unemployment rate, obviously, is not where we want it," Mallay said.
"But, we are making progress."
As well as working to attract new employers, the agency funded by Lambton County promotes entrepreneurship and works with local businesses and industries.
He said industrial fabrication and engineering companies in Sarnia have been attracting customers in the western oil patch recently, and other success stories include the opening of an Atelka call centre, BioAmber's plant under construction on Vidal Street and plans by Ubiquity Solar to set up a manufacturing site in Sarnia-Lambton.
"We are getting more and more inquiries relating to hybrid chemistry," Mallay added.
"This year, we're going to be trying to do more with the creative industries."
Also making this year's top 10 list were the City of Ajax, Alberta's Industrial Heartlands Association, Canada's Technology Triangle, the City of Charlottetown, Hamiton Economic Development, Montreal International, Quebec International, Invest Toronto and the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corp.
The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Economic Partnership is scheduled to meet Sept. 16 to review local economic strategies.
"We'll be looking at our plan then, in terms of how we tweak it," Mallay said.
Sarnia-Lambton's unemployment rate was 9.3% in June, according to the Sarnia-Lambton Workforce Development Board. That's up from 8.2% in January.

Economic Partnership one of Top Canadian Economic Development Groups2014-09-02

“Site Selection” magazine has again recognized the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership as one of Canada’s Top Canadian Economic Development Groups.

The announcement was made today as part of the publication’s seventh annual “Canada’s Best to Invest” awards.

The accolade recognizes the top 10 local Canadian economic development groups; based on project data, regional partnership, proactive and innovative programming, and quality data and web tools and resources.

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition of the efforts put forth by the Economic Partnership,” said Economic Partnership GM, George Mallay. “Our community is well known for its collaborative efforts, and we believe that the economic initiatives we have undertaken with local partners factor in this award.”

The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership was also noted by “Site Selection” as a Top Canadian Economic Development Group in 2006-2007, 2007-2008, and 2009-2010.

“The award is because of the hard work of George Mallay and the staff team working with the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership Board, to put in place the fundamentals in the region to create jobs with a short and long term vision of Sarnia-Lambton’s future. To that end, on September 16th the Board will meet to review, refocus and recharge the economic strategies for the years ahead. The Economic Partnership Board is unique in having a community-based grass roots approach to economic development by having a Board that includes business, labour, First Nations, educators, agriculture and local government leaders and others working together,” noted Partnership Board chair, Mayor Mike Bradley.

“Site Selection’s” top Canadian economic development groups for 2014, are: City of Ajax (Ont.); Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association; Canada’s Technology Triangle (Ont.); City of Charlottetown (PEI); City of Hamilton Economic Development (Ont.); Montréal International, Québec International; Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership (Ont.); Invest Toronto; and Windsor Essex Economic Development Corp. (Ont.).

Site Selection magazine, published by Conway Data Inc., delivers expansion planning information to 49,000 executives of fast-growing firms. The senior publication in the development field, Site Selection is also available via

Conway Data is an international publishing, consulting and association management company headquartered in Atlanta. Conway owns and manages London-based Red Hot Locations, organizer of worldwide FDI events; Berlin-based FDI advisory firm Terrain Consulting; New York-based The PONT Group, a leading PR and lead-generation firm; economic development education and research organization the Janus Institute; and manages the Industrial Asset Management Council and the FDI Association.

- ## -

For further information contact:

George Mallay, General Manager
Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partership

Sarnia has a leg up for possible $10 billion refinery2014-08-29

By Jake Jeffrey, From

Public and Private cooperation is needed for a $10-billion refinery to become a reality in Sarnia Lambton.

A team of former Chemical Valley executives has been pushing for a refinery that would create jobs by processing and refining Western bitumen here instead of sending the crude  outside of Canada.

A study into the possibility of building it locally was officially announced yesterday at the Bowman Centre at the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park.

The  Canadian Academy of Engineering came up with nine potential sites for bitumen upgraders country-wide, and only one, Sarnia Lambton has the necessary pipeline infrastructure currently in place

Bowman Centre associate Walter Petryschuk says  industry has already contributed 130,000  to help pay for a $300,000 pre feasibility study but need senior level government to contribute as well

MPP Bob Bailey has already sent a letter to Premier Wynne, outlining the project and as well as reaching out to interim Tory leader Jim Wilson

Study examining potential for $10 billion refinery in Sarnia-Lambton launched2014-08-28

By Brent Boles, from   The Observer

A study examining the potential for a new $10-billion refinery in Sarnia-Lambton was officially launched on Thursday, with retired Chemical Valley executives and area politicians in attendance.

“The vision's been set. It's up to us to deliver,” said Clem Bowman, a former head of research at Imperial Oil in Sarnia, as more than 60 people sat listening at the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park.

The refinery would work with bitumen from the Alberta oil sands, a substance commonly used in asphalt.

In order to pay for a prefeasibility study, backers are looking to collect $300,000 in funding. They've already received about $130,000 from companies, said Bowman earlier this week. The next step is reaching out to government for the rest.

“I'm very supportive of it,” said Conservative MPP Bob Bailey, calling the refinery “the next major project in North America.”

He said he's sent a letter to the Premier Kathleen Wynne about the potential project and reached out to the interim leader of his own party, Jim Wilson as well.

“They're well aware at Queen's Park,” said Bailey.

Addressing the crowd, former Polysar vice-president and Bowman Centre associate Don Wood laid out his reasoning on why Sarnia is the best place to build a new refinery to capitalize on the production of the oil sands.

“We're within a day's drive of half the consumption in North America,” said Wood. He added that Sarnia is the only location that already has the infrastructure and pipelines to hit the ground running.

Wood also credits the community support and potential for environmental approval as being attractive assets for a new refinery.

But to handle the added volume a new facility would have to be built he said – converting an existing one would be a challenge, he said.

“Our refineries are not configured for easy expansion.”

There are still some issues that need to be addressed.

“The major negative we have is the power cost,” said Wood, adding that he hopes for the possibility of negotiating that aspect.

He also added that for the refinery idea to gain credibility, the group needs to attract an industry lead.

Walter Petryschuk, the former head of Suncor's refinery in Sarnia said that shipping the product out of country without reaping the rewards is a waste.

“If we do not take advantage of that opportunity... we are missing such a big boat, shame on us,” he said.

Investing $10 billion into the project could transfer to $50 billion worth of impact on business, he said.

“We have to build an affluence and wealth in the nation.”

Funding announced for e-business program2014-08-28

By Lee Michaels,

Lambton College has received additional funding to help local businesses develop and implement e-business tools.

$20,000 has been granted from the Ontario Centre of Excellence Voucher for an E-Business program.

College students and faculty will work with local businesses to help them increase their visibility, reduce marketing and operation costs as well as enter new markets and increase customer service

In April, Lambton students launched new websites for five area businesses with the next phase beginning in September. Any Lambton business interested in participating are asked to call the college.

BioAmber betting on Sarnia2014-08-28

By Paul Morden, from   The Observer

BioAmber has a lot riding on the $135-million plant it's building on Vidal Street in Sarnia.

"It is paramount," company vice-president Mike Hartmann said following a tour of the construction site.

"There is nothing more important to BioAmber than this facility."

Work began late last year on 11 acres at the Lanxess Bio-industrial Park, and construction is expected to finish in early 2015 on the facility where BioAmber will turn high fructose corn syrup into bio-succinic acid, a platform chemical used in the making of plastics, cosmetics and other products.

"It will determine our success as a company, and all our focus is on Sarnia," Hartmann said.

The plant will be the young company's first production site in North America and set the stage for two additional plants it has already planned.

"But nothing gets done without Sarnia," Hartmann added.

BioAmber, formed approximately six years ago, has been making bio-succinic acid at a facility in France using technology that originated in the 1990s with the U.S. Department of Energy. It announced in 2011 it would build a global-scale plant in Sarnia.

Since then, BioAmber has been developing and adjusting its plans, and putting financing in place through grants, government and commercial loans, partnerships and the stock market.

"Not often does a small company start from nowhere and end up building a huge, new disruptive technology that competes against incumbents extremely well," Hartmann said.

As well as being a green technology with a negative carbon footprint, BioAmber's corn-based succinic acid is cost-competitive with its petroleum-based competitors, the company says.

"Green is nice, and it's important, but a lot of times customers won't buy it if it's more expensive," Hartmann said.

Construction in Sarnia is on budget, and proceeding without any major issues, other than a few work days lost during the cold winter, he said.

A rare day of steamy high temperatures this week reduced the number of workers on site, but the mild summer has been a nearly perfect construction season, said health and safety manager Kelly Gulliford.

"If I was on vacation I wouldn't be too happy . . . but for construction it has been amazing weather."

Most of the siding is up on the office building and framing has been going up inside for offices, a large lab and a control room looking out on the process area.

Concrete bases are in place for the three large bio-converters that are part of the fermenting process that will begin in the lab and end at a warehouse where large bags of dry succinic acid will be trucked out.

"It looks like table salt," Hartmann said.

The metal bio-converters are being manufactured in Sarnia at Kel-Gor and are expected to begin arriving soon at the site where they will be assembled in sections.

Steel for another section of the process area has been arriving and will be assembled quickly in the coming days, Gulliford said.

"You can smell the paint," he said while walking by a fresh shipment of steel waiting to be unloaded.

"That was probably painted last night and then shipped here."

The project has reached a point where changes and progress can been seen almost daily, he said.

Racks are already in place for pipes that will bring in steam from neighbouring Lanxess.

"Part of the reason BioAmber choose this site was because of the infrastructure," Hartman said.

"We didn't have to build our own boilers for steam. It's very expensive to start from scratch."

One of the biggest surprises for the company was the skilled labour, fabrication shops, and industrial construction experience it found in Sarnia-Lambton, Hartmann said.

"We didn't realize the importance of it, as much as we do today."

Along with an estimated 150 construction jobs, the plant is expected to employ 60 permanent workers when it’s up and operating.

Approximately 20 of those permanent workers have already been hired.

There are approximately 90 construction workers on site currently, and that number is expected grow in the coming weeks.

"We're looking at 40 pipefitters and about the same for electricians," Gulliford said.

"It's going to be pretty significant here, pretty soon."

Like other companies it is joining in Chemical Valley, BioAmber places an emphasis on safety; after more than 100,000 construction man hours so far, there have been no loss-time accidents.

"And hopefully, that continues," Hartmann said.

Economic development agency gets creative2014-08-19

By Paul Morden, from   The Observer

The potential for mining creative industries and social enterprise for new businesses and jobs will be explored in Sarnia-Lambton, thanks to $248,450 in provincial funding announced Tuesday.

The 18-month project by the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership will work to identify opportunities in creative industries, such as information technology and the performing arts, and attempt to match them with entrepreneurs and funding.

It will also look at using the social enterprise co-operative model to help create new businesses.

"If you look at the numbers, 60 or 70% of job creation comes from within your own community," said Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, chairperson of the economic partnership.

The provincial funding will help the agency responsible for economic development in Sarnia-Lambton work on its strategy of growing the community's creative sector, Bradley said.

"With manufacturing decreasing, the creative sector has become a key growth factor in the economy in Ontario."

Bradley added the sector has also already played an important role in helping rejuvenate Sarnia's downtown.

Project leader Ted Zatylny said the first approximately 11 months will be spent on research to determine what creative industries and social enterprise already exists in Sarnia-Lambton.

Lambton County is providing $30,000 to help catalogue creative industries in the community.

The second part of the project will work to come up with new business ideas, attempt to join them with entrepreneurs and funding sources, "and make them into a real business," Zatylny said.

Once the 18-month project is complete, it's expected that a steering committee will be in place to continue working to seek out funding and business ideas, and connect them with entrepreneurs, he said.

The type of creative industries expected to be explored also include engineering technology, graphic design and content creation, according to a press release.

It added the project is expected to engage the local business and entrepreneurial community to help create a better understanding of alternative business structures, such as co-ops.

Bradley said the project is also expected to help develop opportunities in smaller communities around Lambton.

"There are many opportunities to start up in small places, but you need support," he said.

Creative industries to be focus of Economic Partnership project2014-08-19

Sarnia-Lambton, Ontario – August 19, 2014 – The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership has received $248,450 in funding from Employment Ontario. The funding will be provided through a Labour Market Partnership Project, and will be used to examine the potential for job creation, skills training, and local economic and community development. The project will look specifically at Social Enterprise as a development model for new and different businesses.

The 18-month project will identify promising opportunities within the creative industries, and will work to match those opportunities with entrepreneurs and appropriate sources of funding, including the Social Enterprise co-operative model, to create robust new businesses in Sarnia-Lambton.

Creative industries include engineering and information technology, as well as the performing arts, graphic design, and content creation. This has become a growing sector across Sarnia-Lambton. Project partners will undertake asset mapping through the assistance of $30,000 in funding from the County, to catalogue the current extent and reach of creative industries throughout Lambton County.

“The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership research project offers great potential for new jobs and investment,” said Reza Maridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. “Employment Ontario’s investment will help unlock the Sarnia-Lambton region’s economic potential and lead the way to a more dynamic and innovative business environment.”

“Lambton County’s creative class has been gaining momentum for a number of years,” states Lambton County Warden Todd Case. “This funding comes at the right time to build on Lambton County’s new cultural plan.”

Economic Partnership Chair, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, noted that the funding will assist the economic development office in working with one of its targeted sectors. “This funding fits well with our strategy of growing our creative class, and we look forward to putting the money to good use.”

As a local economic development tool, the project will benefit a number of groups including employers, entrepreneurs, and job seekers:

* The project will engage the business and entrepreneurial community and will create a better understanding of the potential benefits of alternative business structures such as co-ops.

* Local entrepreneurs will learn new methods of organizing their businesses, potentially resulting in more quantity, quality, and diversity in Sarnia-Lambton business start-ups.

* Particularly in Sarnia-Lambton’s smaller rural communities, the project is expected to create better use of human resources and commercial properties that are presently underutilized.

A steering committee will be established during the project to continue this work beyond the project’s 18 month timeline.

- ## -

For further information contact:

Ted Zatylny
Project Leader LMP
Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership
519-332-1820, extension 224

Lambton College new applied research partnership will bolster entrepreneurship2014-08-19
SARNIA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 19, 2014) - Industry Canada

Researchers at Lambton College will expand their development and testing of next-generation batteries in partnership with business thanks to an investment by the Harper Government. The investment was one of four highlighted by the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), and Patricia Davidson, Member of Parliament for Sarnia-Lambton, today in Sarnia.

Lambton College will purchase specialized equipment for testing eco-friendly nano-engineered materials-tiny engineered structures that are a fraction of the width of a human hair.

Dr. Shahram Karimi, NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Advanced Material Development for Generation, Storage and Integration of Renewable Energy and professor at Lambton College, and his research team are already using nano-engineered materials to develop the next generation of lithium-ion batteries. This type of lighter-weight, longer-lasting and quicker-charging battery could soon be used in smartphones and tablets, allowing them to become fully charged in seconds.

Nano-engineered materials offer a cost-effective alternative for Canadian manufacturers because they result in products that are stronger and lighter to transport, thereby saving on energy and fuel. The materials are also a clean alternative to fossil fuels, which benefits the health and well-being of all Canadians.

Quick facts

- Four research projects at Lambton College will share an investment of $505,000, each receiving an Applied Research Tools and Instruments Grant under the College and Community Innovation Program:

  * $150,000 for Dr. Karimi's project involving the development, characterization and optimization of nano-engineered materials for green energy conversion and storage;

  * $150,000 for a water analysis laboratory;

  * $150,000 for additive manufacturing and 3D digitizing technologies for the Bluewater Technology Access Centre; and

  * $55,000 for a distributed monitoring and control system.

- The College and Community Innovation Program is managed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

- Since its launch in 2009, the program has supported 90 colleges across Canada and more than 732 projects with $246.7 million.


"Moving ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace is key to driving Canadian innovation forward. Our government is strengthening partnerships between local businesses and Lambton College, bolstering entrepreneurship, creating jobs and economic prosperity, and improving the quality of life of Canadians."

- Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology)

"Our government's investments in innovative partnerships create jobs, improve the quality of life of those in our community and strengthen the Canadian economy. These partnerships will provide Lambton College with access to the people, resources and tools it needs to be at the forefront of innovation."

- Patricia Davidson, Member of Parliament for Sarnia-Lambton

"These investments help businesses tap into the talented people at Canada's colleges to stay at the forefront of innovation. The ultimate goal is to strengthen the ability of colleges to help businesses innovate, stimulating our economy and training the next generation of scientists and engineers."

- Janet Walden, Chief Operating Officer, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

"Lambton College has become a leader in applied research. These newly funded initiatives will allow us to continue to increase our research capacity and development services to support industry demand while enhancing experiential learning opportunities for students. This announcement will allow us to further expand our research and development capacity and establish a revolutionary working model that ranges from direct research contracts to collaborative projects. We thank our community partners for their support of these funding proposals and look forward to increasing our research capabilities on campus."

- Judith Morris, President and CEO, Lambton College

Associated links

Lambton College

Information about grants for colleges and the College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program

Results of the spring 2014 CCI competition

Follow us on Twitter: @industrycanada

NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports almost 30,000 post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding approximately 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging over 2,400 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.

Construction of BioAmber's $135 million plant on schedule and on budget2014-08-08

By Paul Morden, from   The Observer

While reporting the Montreal-based company's quarterly financial results this week, CEO Jean-Francois Huc said construction is expected to finish in early 2015.

"Over the past quarter, the pace of construction has picked up considerably and we now average over 100 workers on site every day," he said.

The company plans create 60 permanent jobs in Sarnia when it begins using sugar from corn to manufacture bio-succinic acid, a platform chemical used in plastic, cosmetics and other products.

Construction began last year at the Lanxess Bio-Industrial Park in Sarnia.

Huc said a warehouse building is now complete and work continues on an office building.

"The process building is going up in sequences to allow the various trades to work safely and effectively," he added.

"To date, 78 pieces of equipment have been delivered and another 28 are expected in the coming weeks."

BioAmber already has approximately 20 permanent workers in Sarnia, including six who were hired in the last quarter, Huc said.

"We have set up classes in Sarnia and are engaged in operator training on the production process to prepare for the commissioning and start up."

Huc said starting up the plant is expected to take five months.

"We might be able to do it a little faster, but I think the realistic expectation is that we would be selling product by the middle of the year, and possibly sooner."

BioAmber expects to have the Sarnia plant operating at 80% of its 30,000 tonne-a-year capacity in 2016.

"These plants, when they start up, they do take time and you need to do things sequentially and carefully, or you can run into problems down the line," Huc said.

The Sarnia plant will be BioAmber's first production site in North America and the company has already announced plans for two additional plants.

The first is expected to cost $400 million and will produce both succinic acid and butanediol. That facility is expected to be built in North America and BioAmber officials have said Sarnia is being considered as a location.

Huc said the company plans to have a site selected, and financing in place, by late next year. Construction is expected to begin in 2017.

Before it began building on Vidal Street, BioAmber said it planned to quickly expand production of succinic acid there to 50,000 tonnes annually.

Huc said the timing of that expansion is still being considered, adding the company would prefer to not have two construction projects happening at the same time.

"There are a number of factors that will play on this," Huc said about the timing of the Sarnia expansion.

"But, what we don't want to do is have significant demand we can't respond to that ends up in the hands of competitors, so we will have to assess that over the coming year."

Best July for real estate sales in 7 years2014-08-07
By Melanie Irwin, from Blackburn News,

Real estate sales in Sarnia-Lambton were the best they have been in the last seven years for the month of July.

Board Vice President Jane Baker says dollar volume of nearly $39.9-million was the highest since 2007.

197 properties sold compared to 180 in 2013, up 9 per cent over last year.

July listings were up 1 per cent at 340, compared to 336 in 2013.

47 properties sold last month in the $150,000 to $199,000 range and 45 in the $100,000 to $149,000 range.

The average price of a single family home so far this year is about $219,000, compared to $202,000 last year.

Methes Energies completes first biodiesel sale in US2014-07-14


LAS VEGAS, NV, July 14, 2014 - Methes Energies International Ltd. (NASDAQ: MEIL), a renewable energy company that offers an array of products and services to biodiesel fuel producers, today announced that it had completed its first biodiesel transaction in the United States. The transaction included the import of biodiesel from its Sombra, Ontario facility where its wholly owned U.S. subsidiary was the importer of record and the generator of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs).

This is the first time that Methes directly generated U.S. revenues. In the past, biodiesel produced at its Sombra, Ontario facility was sold to brokers and intermediaries that would import the biodiesel into the U.S. and resell the biodiesel to obligated parties and fuel distributors. With Methes now having the ability to import biodiesel to the U.S. and itself generate RINs, Methes can sell directly to U.S buyers, capitalize on new opportunities and improve its margins.

Nicholas Ng, President of Methes Energies, said, "This is another step forward for Methes and part of our plan to capitalize on more opportunities in the U.S. This is the first time that Methes directly generated U.S. revenues and U.S revenues will now start playing a much larger role in our overall growth strategy and enable us to expand our footprint in several states in the U.S. As for production in Sombra, things are going very well with more feedstock showing up tomorrow. In fact, we will be receiving our largest shipment by rail ever, a total of 12 railcars or over 2 million pounds of oil.”

About Methes Energies International Ltd.

Methes Energies International Ltd. is a renewable energy company that offers a variety of products and services to biodiesel fuel producers. Methes also offers biodiesel processors that are unique, truly compact, fully automated state

Maple syrup makers tour Lambton County2014-07-12
By Paul Morden,  from  The Observer

Al Williamson welcomed a busload of maple syrup producers who showed up Friday to poke around his sugar shack.

Williamson Farms near Ipperwash, where his family has been making maple syrup for more than 70 years, was a stop on a tour of southwestern Ontario syrup operations, organized as part of the annual meeting of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association being held in Lambeth.

Williamson said he has been on the other end of similar tours in other parts of the province.

"You always pick something up from other producers, I do anyway, he said.

Lori Costello, a director with the association, said the annual meeting travels to a different region of the province each year, and includes a large trade show, along with business and education sessions, as well as a banquet.

Approximately 150 people attended the conference, travelling from as far away as Sault Ste. Marie and Cornwall for a three-day gathering that also included tours at nine syrup makers in the region, ranging from small operations with a few hundred taps gathering sap, to those with several thousand.

Statistics Canada said Ontario produced approximately 2.2 million litres of maple syrup in 2011, with a value of $32.5 million.

"Quebec has the lion's share of production in Canada, but Ontario is up there behind them," said Costello, a producer from Powassan, near North Bay.

She said the association's 400 members had an average season this year.

"It was a strange winter, for sure, and we were all were holding our breath," she said. "But, at the end of the day, the sap did run."

Nelson McLachlan, a Parkhill syrup producer who is president of the association's southwest region, said the start of the season was delayed by the cold winter, and syrup making extended into early April.

"Everybody had a decent crop, and the grades of syrup were good," he added.

Friday, the association's tour buses also pulled into the Gilliard Family syrup operation and Ryan's Sweet Maple, both near Forest.

Ryan's Sweet Maple recently completed an expansion of its large sugar shack where the operation is highly mechanized, with underground lines delivering sap from 2,700 trees.

Most of the water in the sap is removed by reverse osmosis, followed by a few hours in an evaporator to finish the syrup.

"That gets polished after every boil," Ryan Vandenberg said, pointing to the shining metal evaporator in the Ryan's Sweet Maple sugar shack, where cleanliness is a top priority.

"It's a food product," he said.

The association's annual meeting began Thursday and was scheduled to wrap up Saturday.

Potential pipeline plans unveiled2014-07-11
By Brent Boles, from  The Observer

A roughly five-kilometre pipeline might be coming down the pipe south of Sarnia.

The proposed Union Gas project would connect Sarnia to the Dawn Hub, one of the largest storage facilities in North America, said a Union Gas official.

"It gives us access to pretty much all the North American supply basins," said spokesperson Andrea Stass. "It's all about security of supply."

The 20-inch steel pipeline would connect two facilities – one east of Ladysmith Road between Moore and Rokeby Line; and the other west of Highway 40 and south of Rokeby Line.

The company estimates the total distance would span 4.8 kilometres and based on maps posted on the company website, the route appears to follow existing roads.

The company has already held an information session in Mooretown and the next step for the proposal to move forward is approval from the Ontario Energy Board.

Stass said the group hopes to be able to start construction on the pipeline sometime in late spring of next year, which would put an estimated finishing time at around November 2015.

She added that Union Gas plans on working with the community during the construction process.

"We will use as many local resources as we can to build the pipeline," she said. "We are also going to be paying property taxes."

She estimated that the pipeline would provide an additional $90,000 a year for the community.

The pipeline will also position the company for the future.

"The second piece of it is it will also allow us to support future industrial growth in the area."

BioAmber making plans to grow2014-07-09
Paul Morden,  The Observer

As construction continues on BioAmber's Sarnia plant, the company is already making plans to build two more, including a bio-succinic acid production facility four times the size of Sarnia's.

Montreal-based BioAmber said this week it has signed a 210,000-ton (190,500-tonne) per year, 15-year contract for bio-succinic acid with Vinmar International, a Houston-based chemical company.

BioAmber and Vinmar earlier announced plans to partner in the building of a 100,000-ton (90,700-tonne) per year $330-million butanediol plant. Its construction is expected to begin in 2017, at a North American site still to be announced.

As part of a new agreement announced Monday, plans for that proposed butanediol plant have been expanded to include capacity to also produce 70,000 tons (63,500 tonnes) of bio-succinic acid.

Vinmar also plans to invest in a third bio-succinic acid plant with an annual capacity of 200,000 tons (181,400 tonnes) BioAmber expects to build and begin operating in late 2020.

"Sarnia is going to be considered for the next plant," said Mike Hartmann, BioAmber's executive vice-president.

The company is currently involved in site selection for the facility planned to produce both butanediol and bio-succinic somewhere in North America, he said.

"We know Sarnia very well, we like Sarnia, we think there's a lot of benefit for being there, and so it is definitely one of the sites we are looking at."

It's an opportunity Sarnia will pursue, said George Mallay, general manager of the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership.

The partnership responsible for promoting economic development in Sarnia-Lambton has been promoting the region as a prime location for hybrid chemistry and energy companies.

"We're at a time we can expect to see more growth in the industry," Mallay said.

"If you look around the world, right now, you're starting to see more bio-based plants built. They're moving from the demo phases to full commercial production."

The $135-million plant BioAmber is constructing next to Lanxess in Sarnia is expected to be completed in early 2015. It will initially produce 30,000 tonnes annually of bio-succinic acid made from corn sugar, and used as a building-block chemical in plastics, cosmetics and other products.

The company's bio-based butanediol is used in a wide range of products, including polyurethanes, biodegradable plastics and spandex.

The company has said it plans to increase bio-succinic acid production in Sarnia to 50,000 tonnes soon after the plant is up and operating.

Hartmann said BioAmber officials are excited about the progress of construction in Sarnia.

"As you drive by, you can see it coming up from the ground, and we're quite pleased with the progress."

In a press release, BioAmber CEO Jean-Francois Huc described the multi-plant deal with Vinmar as "a quantum leap forward" for the company's bio-succinic acid business, "and sets a clear path for rapid growth."

The agreement will help the company obtain project financing for its plans, he said.

Hartmann said Wall Street analysts have valued the multi-year agreement with Vinmar at $10 billion.

"This is the biggest announcement the industry has really seen in green chemicals," he said.

"These are significant numbers and Sarnia is going to play a very important role, at the very least with our first plant." Hartmann added, "Everything relies on that first plant being built on time, and on schedule, and that it works very well."

Western Research Parks ranked in Top 25 University Business Incubators in the world2014-07-03

Western University’s Research Parks have been ranked 22nd in the world by Swedish research company UBI Index in its Global Top 25 University Business Incubators 2014.
Western Research Parks performed exceptionally well compared to UBI’s global benchmark on post-incubation performance indicators. This signifies that clients of Western Research Parks generate positive economic impact for the region. Furthermore Western Research Parks clients have higher survival and growth rate than the global average.

"We are thrilled to share this remarkable accomplishment with the Western Research Parks in London," says Katherine Albion, Director of the Bowman Centre at the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park. "The Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park is dedicated to developing new programs and attracting new clients to our research, commercialization and business facilities to continue to evolve our world-class technology and business incubation centre."

UBI assessed 800 business incubators, accepted 400 into the program and finally benchmarked more than 300 university-affiliated business incubators in 67 countries, ultimately placing Western in the top 25.
Incubators were compared in three performance categories:

• Value to the “ecosystem”, which includes economy enhancement and talent retention;
• Value to the client, including access to funds, competence development, and access to a network; and
• Attractiveness of the incubation program, including the incubator’s offer to stakeholders and post-incubation performance. In total, more than 60 key performance indexes have been used to compare the incubation programs worldwide.

For nearly three decades, Western Research Parks have served as a strong link between academics and commerce, and a key contributor to the movement of an idea or a discovery from concept to the marketplace. The Parks are currently housed on three sites.

The Western-Sarnia-Lambton Research Park was established in 2003 as a joint initiative of the County of Lambton, the City of Sarnia, and Western University. Located adjacent to Lambton College, the Park is home to the Bowman Centre, Canada’s largest clean-tech incubator, focused on large scale industrial biotechnology. Conference facilities at the Park play host to a number of local, regional, and national events each year. Tenants range from large multi-national companies, to non-profit organizations, to small start-up companies and commercialization projects. The Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park serves as a catalyst for a new generation of high-growth companies and is the base for the area's knowledge economy.

Western’s Advanced Manufacturing Park is home to the Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composites Research, the WindEEE Research Institute and The Collider, a facility opened earlier this week that is designed to bring together researchers and industry under one roof to collaborate, innovate and bring new technologies to world markets.

The original Park, now called Western Discovery Park, is home to over 200,000 square feet of office space, lab space and industrial grade space, including the Stiller Centre for Technology Commercialization, one of Canada’s most successful biotechnology incubators.

The United States had the most incubators on UBI’s Top 25 with four. Canada and China tied for second, each with three incubators on the list. Joining Western in the ranking from Canada are Ryerson University’s DMZ and University of Alberta’s TEC Edmonton.

More information on this year’s rankings is available at

Western delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.


Katherine Albion, Director, The Bowman Centre
Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park
519-383-8303 ext. 240

BioAmber secures $7 M federal grant2014-07-02
From   The Observer

The Montreal-based company said Wednesday in a press release that the grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) is in addition to $7.5 million the federally-funded agency provided in 2012.

The Sarnia project has received other government loans and support, including $10 million announced earlier this year by Agriculture Canada.

BioAmber is spending $135 million to build a 30,000-tonne capacity plant on Vidal Street in Sarnia where it will use sugar from corn to product bio-succinic acid, a building-block chemical used in plastics, cosmetics and other products.

The plant is expected to be completed in early 2015 and have a permanent staff of 60 workers.

"Commercializing an innovative, clean technology that is cost disruptive to the petrochemical industry is a major undertaking, and it needs government support to become a reality," said Mike Hartmann, BioAmber's executive vice-president.

"We are making chemicals cleaner and cheaper than the petrochemical route, and this will translate into lasting environmental and economic benefits for Canada."

The company said it secured the additional SDTC funding after expanding the scope of the Sarnia project, nearly doubling the plant's planned capacity and increasing the number of jobs it will create.

The new funding also supports the company's move to use a second-generation yeast expected to be more cost competitive than the bacteria-based fermentation originally designed for the Sarnia plant.

Research Park gains international praise2014-07-02
From   Blackburn News

The Western-Sarnia-Lambton Research Park has been included in the best business incubators in the world.

The Modeland Rd. facility, along with two others at Western University, were ranked 22nd by the Swedish research company UBI Index in it’s top 25 world-wide business incubators.

UBI looked at 800 such research parks and compared them in three categories: value to the ecosystem, value to the client and the program’s attractiveness.

The Western-Sarnia-Lambton Research Park was established in 2003 as a joint initiative of the County of Lambton, the City of Sarnia, and Western University.

The Park is home to the Bowman Centre for Technology Commercialization, Canada’s largest clean-tech incubator, focused on large scale industrial biotechnology. It also contains small start-up companies and commercialization projects

Green companies taking root2014-06-30
From   The Sarnia Journal

Sarnia has taken two more small steps in moving from an oil-based economy to a more sustainable one. First up was BioAmber, which has secured a $20 million loan to build the world’s largest bio-based succinic acid production facility. The soon-to-open plant at Lanxess will convert corn into succinic acid, a chemical used in many everyday products including plastics, food additives and personal care products. The loan is coming from a consortium led by Canada Export Development Canada and includes Farm Credit Canada and Comerica Bank. BioAmber secured a $10-million interest free loan from Agriculture Canada earlier this year, and before that $35 million from a group of government organizations. The plant will create 50 full-time jobs and produce 30,000 tonnes of acid annually to start. And last week a pilot plant intended to build solar panel components in Sarnia received a $3.1 million boost from the federal government. Ubiquity Solar plans to open the plant at the TransAlta Bluewater Energy Park. It will produce high performance polysilicon wafers, which help photovoltaic panels that turn sunlight into electricity. President and CEO Ian MacLellan said his company’s product would allow panel makers to reduce costs without major process changes. The $10.9 million Sarnia pilot plant will also lay the foundation for a large production facility, he said. “We expect to create over 500 export focused jobs over the next five years in Canada.”

Economic Partnership 2013 annual progress presentation2014-06-27
Sarnia-Lambton, Ontario, Canada – June 27, 2014 - The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership released its Annual 2013 Economic Development Progress Presentation Report at its Board Meeting and Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, June 26, 2014. The presentation provides an overview of economic development and investment activity for 2013. The Economic Partnership provides economic development services to all of Lambton County.

The Economic Partnership continues to execute its 2012-2015 strategic plan. While southern Ontario continues to face strong economic challenges, Lambton County is continuing to make progress, particularly, in being recognized for hybrid chemistry and energy.

Two key investment announcements resulted from work completed in 2013. Ubiquity Solar announced it has selected the TransAlta site for construction of a new pilot plant for the production of polysilicon; with plans for a full scale 10,000 metric tonnes per annum commercial plant in 2016. The full scale plant is expected to employ several hundred people. This week Sustainable Development Technology Canada announced $3.1 million in funding in support of Ubiquity's $10.9 million pilot plant.

The other significant announcement was the Atelka call centre, which was announced in January of this year. The centre is now operational, with plans to employ up to 300 people.

The Economic Partnership has played a key role in the formation and ongoing support of the Sarnia-Lambton Industrial Alliance (SLIA). The community is starting to see increased investment activity and job creation from SLIA initiatives.

Supporting entrepreneurship and providing assistance to existing businesses is a key activity for the Economic Partnership. The Business Enterprise Centre, which runs out of the Partnership, worked with 30 firms that opened new businesses in Lambton County in 2013 and also handled 395 consultations with existing businesses. SLEP staff also maintained a strong business and farm visitation program with over 140 visits completed.

A key focus for the Partnership in 2014 is to work with local municipalities to establish more initiatives, projects, and investment across the County.

The 2013 Annual Report Presentation is available on the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership web site at

Biochemical leader2014-06-27
Contributed by Andrew Macklin
From  Generated June 27, 2014

Once the cornerstone of Canada's petrochemical industry, the border town of Sarnia, Ontario, has had to think smart to avoid the devastating impact of industries packing their bags and leaving town.

Woodland Biofuels is one of three companies that has constructed a pilot plant as part of The Bowman Centre at the
Western University Research Park in Sarnia.

Sarnia's potential downfall began in the early-2000s with the announcement that Dow Chemical was abandoning its Canadian operation and consolidating its assets in the American market. What could have been a serious blow for the community's economy instead served as a necessary wake-up call, forcing local officials to come together to explore ideas for how to continue as a thriving industrial community. The result was a commitment to compliment its still-strong petrochemical industry with the growth of a biochemical sector.

Opportunity Knocks

Getting Sarnia's biochemical industry moving forward has taken a collaborative effort of major partners from across the community and region. Western University (formerly the University of Western Ontario) worked with the Ontario Chemistry Value Chain Initiative, along with City and County officials, to establish a research park at the former Dow chemical site. An NSERC grant of $15 million in seed funding from the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program in 2008 established the BIC, now known as Bioindustrial Innovation Canada.

Bioindustrial Innovation Canada is the amalgamation of the former BIC and the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance. The BIC was integral in delivering funding and networking opportunities together for biochemical startup companies, providing the means necessary to commercialize new biochemical solutions. The BIC has worked to build the biocluster in Sarnia, bringing together networking and financing opportunities to help startup bio companies get projects off the ground. They built a Board of Directors that has provided these opportunities, as well as connections to materials, customers, feedstocks and labour.

In addition to the CECR funding, a $10 million grant for The Bowman Centre was applied for and received from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation in order to provide the infrastructure at the research park to create bioindustrial lab and pilot plant space for emerging companies and technologies in the biochemical industry.

Those two building blocks have become the foundation for the Western University Research Park, providing funding, networking, research and development resources for the biochemical industry in Sarnia.

The collaborative efforts of the education, association, municipal and corporate stakeholders began to pay dividends a few years later when the Bowman Centre welcomed its first pilot plant.

Woodland Biofuels received funding for its waste-to-biofuel plant in April of 2010 through the Innovation Demonstration Fund. The $12 million facility uses its own proprietary gasification and three-step catalytic conversion process technology to produce sustainable biofuel out of just about any type of biomass, including both agricultural and wood waste. The plant was commissioned in late-2012.

The Woodland production of cellulosic ethanol involves the gasification of biomass into syngas using either the air-blown or steam-blown gasifier. The syngas is conditioned and compressed before transferring to the ethanol reactor where catalytic chemical reactions convert the syngas to ethanol. The company then uses a well-established distillation process to purify the ethanol.

The second company to install a pilot facility in the Bowman Centre at the research park was KmX Corporation, which began operations in October of 2012.

KmX incorporated in 2004 after acquiring the rights to a pervaporation membrane technology. The company acquired a solvent recycling plant in New Church, Virginia, the headquarters for its U.S. subsidiary, KmX Chemical Corporation, and a demonstration facility for its membrane technologies.

At the Bowman Centre in Sarnia, the company is working on a fermentation and filtration system that will produce butanol. Fermenting biomass sugars into butanol can create a cellulosic biofuel that has the potential to be a gasoline substitute. Using biomass sugars to create biochemicals and biofuels is a current focus for the BIC.

The third company involved in the Bowman Centre is GreenCore Composites. In February of 2013, GreenCore announced that it was moving its manufacturing facility from Mississauga to the Bowman Centre at the Western University research park. According to GreenCore president and CEO Geoff Clarke, "the move gives us space to install the new production line which we did not have at our previous location. It also allows us to configure the lines for greater productivity and locates us near the U.S. markets where we expect rapid growth."

GreenCore's technology involves extracting nano fibres from various species of wood in the production of thermoplastic materials. In some cases, the fibres are being used to replace glass fibres to create recyclable plastics. The automotive and sports equipment industries are just a few examples of industrial sectors testing with GreenCore at the Bowman Centre pilot plant.

Education opportunities

The development of the research park has provided Lambton College and Western University with opportunities to provide complimentary education opportunities for their students.

Woodland Biofuels is one of three companies that has constructed a pilot plant as part of The Bowman Centre at the
Western University Research Park in Sarnia.

Lambton College began an applied research program in 2004-2005, focusing on synthetic and polymer-based materials. As the school expanded on its research capabilities, they began engaging local and regional companies to look for research opportunities that would benefit both the school and the companies involved.

It was at this time that Lambton began working with GreenField Specialty Alcohols, who were interested in research involving biomaterials. The result of working with GreenField, and the expanding research capabilities at Lambton College, was an increase in projects involving the biosector.

"We felt that there was a demand, there was a need for a certain kind of expertise," says Dr. Mehdi Sheikhzadeh, Dean of Applied Research and Innovation at Lambton College. "No one in Ontario was offering specific training for bio-process operators."

For Western University, the development of the research park has led to new opportunities within the biochemical sector.

"The research park is a tremendous opportunity, especially for Western students," says Katherine Albion, director of The Bowman Centre. "Since the park was established, Western has developed a Green Engineering program; the school offers a number of bio-based courses and there are thesis projects underway for students here."

There is also extensive work being done to build on bio-based educational opportunities by both Lambton and Western. Lambton will launch a new program stream focused on the biosector, called Bio-industrial Engineering Technology, scheduled to welcome its first class of students in the fall of 2015.

Western is looking to both expand on the courses offered at the research park and the complimentary tools that can be brought in to support the industries onsite.

"One of the opportunities we are currently pursuing is the development of an entrepreneurial centre," says Tom Strifler, executive director of the research park. "Together with Lambton College and other local partners, we are hoping to set that up in the region. It also builds on what we are doing for our existing clients -- that is a new focus area for us."

Natural infrastructure

Outside of the Lambton College/Western University centres, Sarnia opens up to a vast landscape of massive petrochemical properties. Many of Canada's largest oil companies call Sarnia home, like Imperial Oil, Suncor, and Shell Canada, as well as major chemical manufacturers like NOVA, DuPont and Praxair.

Sarnia has been hit with a series of closures in its recent past, leaving large patches of land with built-up chemical infrastructure. That infrastructure provides a strong case for companies in the biochemical sector to think about building there.

That infrastructure is at the heart of Sarnia's bio-industrial park, located amongst the massive oil refineries along the eastern shore of the St. Clair River. The property already includes Lanxess, the world's largest producer of synthetic rubber, along with TransAlta Energy, located at the adjacent Bluewater Energy Park.

The Sarnia bio-industrial park will also soon be home to the $110 million BioAmber bio-succinic acid production facility. BioAmber chose Sarnia over approximately 100 other locations for its new plant thanks, in part, to the existing infrastructure already in place. The plant expects to be operational some time during the first quarter of 2015.

Succinic acid is used as an acidity regulator in some food and beverage products, as well as in specialized polyesters and resins. The chemical is primarily derived from petrochemicals, but BioAmber has developed a system for creating bio-succinic acid from renewable feedstocks. At full production, BioAmber expects to produce 30,000 tonnes of bio- succinic acid per year.

Additional Resources

The collaboration of industrial, municipal and educational partners has created an environment that can attract additional companies like BioAmber to locate in Sarnia. But there is a second group of local resources that fill out the other key needs of the cluster.

The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership takes a leading role in promoting the community to the global biochemical sector. The company encourages the infrastructure, partnership opportunities, and staff and training capabilities as the driving force for promoting the area as the destination for the biochemical sector. But the cooperation received from the industry itself also plays an important role in attracting businesses to the region.

"The industry wants these companies here," says Matt Slotwinski, a coordinator with the Partnership. "They are rallying together to try and make these projects happen."

Ontario Federation of Agriculture vice-president Don McCabe has also been involved with the Sarnia biocluster, providing insight on feedstock and logistics issues as a member of the BIC Board.

"The number one issue for feedstock is logistics at a price," says McCabe. "You have to have feedstock at a good price in order to make the technology economically viable."

McCabe cited that there is an approximate annual volume of 500,000 tonnes of sustainable feedstock available within the region. Companies looking to locate in the Sarnia biocluster can utilize that feedstock, especially as farmers in the area get a better grasp of the land use opportunities that exist in order to boost profitability.

The recent establishment of the Bluewater Technology Access Centre will also provide resources for the biocluster in the form of education and training opportunities. Funded in 2013, Technology Access Centres enable colleges to support technological development with industry in order to become more competitive.

"BTAC identifies the projects, and then we will take them to the research and technology division," says Maike Luiken, director of BTAC.

The result will be BTAC working with Lambton College to provide additional applied research and technology development resources, as well as research, technical, and training services for industrial partners in the biosector in Sarnia.

Moving Forward

The roots of the Sarnia biocluster has now been established with a thriving Western University Research Park and bioindustrial partners throughout the city's landscape. But according to the BIC, there is still work to be done to grow the biochemical industry in the region.

"What we really need to fill this cluster out is a couple more major investments to come in and expand out the cluster," says Sandy Marshall, chair of the BIC.

With the structure that has been built, there is little doubt that Sarnia will succeed in fulfilling that need.

BioAmber secures additional financing2014-06-23


BioAmber has made another financing announcement Monday for its $125-million bio-succinic acid plant being built in Sarnia.

A news release out of Minneapolis says the company’s Canadian subsidiary has secured a $20-million commercial loan from a consortium led by Export Development Canada including Farm Credit Canada and Comerica Bank.

Montreal-based BioAmber is building a 30,000 tonne capacity plant on the Lanxess site on Vidal St.

When complete early next year the plant will convert Canadian agricultural products like corn into bio-succinic acid that’s used in cosmetics, plastics and other products.

The Sarnia project has received other government support previously including $10-million from Agriculture Canada.

The $20-million dollar loan will be used to complete construction and fund start up and commissioning.

It’s expected 60 permanent positions will be created initially and a total of 155 by 2019.


Ubiquity Solar secures funding2014-06-23


Ubiquity Solar Inc. is one of five new Ontario-based companies sharing a federal government investment of $10-million dollars for clean technology projects announced Monday.

$3.1-million is allocated to Ubiquity which has plans this year for an $11-million pilot plant in TransAlta’s Bluewater Energy Park in Sarnia.

President and CEO Ian MacLellan had said previously he hopes in 2016 to build a $600-million full scale plant with the potential for 500 full time jobs.

Ubiquity Solar uses polysilicon to produce wafers used in the production of solar panels.

Ubiquity Solar secures federal funding for Sarnia pilot plant2014-06-23
by Paul Morden, from   The Observer

The federal government is kicking in $3.1 million for a proposed $11-million pilot plant to build solar panel materials in Sarnia.

The funding for Ubiquity Solar's polysilicon and ingot pilot plant was announced Monday in Waterloo by Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford.

Ian MacLellan, president of Ubiquity Solar, said the company is working to set up the pilot plant at TransAlta's Bluewater Energy Park on the former Dow Chemical plant site beginning this summer, and then plans to scale up to commercial production there.

"Everything is on track," he said. "It's taking a bit longer than we would like, with all the paperwork and agreements."

But, he added the company has "made a lot of progress" since it began talking about the project several months ago.

"We're probably 80% there, from where we were then to where we need to be to launch," he said. "So, we're getting pretty close."

Ubiquity Solar has begun moving materials to the energy park and the initial demonstration pilot plant will be housed in an existing building there, followed by an expanded pilot plant to be assembled nearby, MacLellan said.

"We're busy working away on designs and we have selected an engineering firm."

MacLellan said the pilot phase will "ramp up quite quickly" to a staff of approximately 50 people, and then level off before building again when the first phase of a production plant is completed.

"Our five-year plan is to get up to over 500 people in five years," he said.

MacLellan said the company is using a modular technology, "so we can grow in steps."

MacLellan said he's pleased with the support from the federal government's Sustainable Development Technology Canada's SD Tech Fund.

"It lays the foundation for a 10,000 metric tonne per annum integrated production plant," he said.

It will make polysilicon wafers used in the manufacturing of photovoltaic cells for solar panels.

"It's a big step forward for them," Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said about the federal funding for Ubiquity Solar.

"It does show that while there can be criticism of the Green Energy Act in this region, you also understand there can economic opportunities," he said.

Bradley said he's looking forward to seeing the company's plans develop, adding the TransAlta energy park, as well as one at Lanxess, are locations the community has focus on for industrial development.

"They're a natural fit there," he said.

MacLellan said the outlook for the solar energy market has improved since he spoke in Sarnia last November about the company's plans.

"The numbers for 2013 came in better than most people had forecast," he said.

"We've seen this in Europe for the last couple of years where solar has been the dominate new energy source, and we're seeing it certainly growing faster than wind."

MacLellan has said jobs at the commercial-scale plant would to similar to those found at Chemical Valley industries, including engineers, technicians and operators.

BIC and LSQ to partner on commercializing new technologies2014-06-23
From    Bioindustrial Innovation Canada

SARNIA, ON - Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) has agreed to partner with Life Sciences Queensland Ltd. (LSQ) in accelerating the commercialization of high-tech projects. The partners will strive to facilitate the internationalization of their research, development, technological results and innovation.

“Our organizations will work together to advance technologies in the area of conversion of biomass and renewable raw materials into value-added bio-based products,” said Dr. Murray McLaughlin, Executive Director of BIC. “This partnership recognizes the key elements of the Canadian and Queensland innovation strategies, including the concept of regional innovation clusters and development of an industry around sustainable products.”

A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between BIC and LSQ calls for collaboration on such priority areas as chemicals from sugars, lignin based materials and composites. The MOU, effective June 22, 2014, extends for a three-year period.

“We are situated in two western jurisdictions with the ability to grow and develop vast quantities of biomass,” said Mario Pennisi Chief Executive Officer of LSQ. “It makes strategic and economic sense that LSQ and BIC work together to leverage the know-how, interest and innovations of the respective stakeholder groups for mutual benefits and outcomes with global impact.”

BIC and LSQ agree to work together to exchange information and establish business relations between their networks and members. They will promote the human capital agenda and develop research, development and demonstration projects for technologies that convert sustainable feedstock into energy and value-added chemicals and materials.

Bioindustrial Innovation Canada is a Canadian not-for-profit organization catalyzing the commercialization of bio-based and sustainable chemistry-based technologies, with a focus on advanced biofuels, biochemicals, biomaterials and bio-ingredients. Based in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, BIC supports the creation of jobs and economic value sustainably for Canada.

Life Sciences Queensland Ltd. is an industry-led organisation, working closely with its members to provide leadership, promotion and growth opportunities for life sciences firms and organizations in Queensland, Australia. LSQ is helping to shape the strategic direction of the industry and influence public policy.

BTAC using 3D printing to manufacture parts for industry2014-06-17
By Tyler Kula, from   The Observer

In a sparse office at the Western University Research Park there's a hum as scorching hot plastic is squeezed into the shape of custom cardholders.

On a nearby table rest different plastic vents, filters and other industrial-looking parts, all built by the Bluewater Technology Access Centre's (BTAC) 3D printer.

Since March the agency that helps partner Lambton College with industries for research and development projects has been testing the $30,000 fused deposition modeling machine's capabilities.

It uses plastic coils melted to near 300 F and squeezed through a nozzle to build virtually anything, layer by layer, from a digital blueprint.

The technology has been around for decades, but is starting to take hold in Sarnia-Lambton's industrial sector, said Maike Luiken, BTAC's director.

“A couple of manufacturing associations in Ontario made a very strong statement a couple of years ago, saying that if we didn't look at 3D printing, or additive manufacturing as one part of our toolbox, then Canada would fall behind,” she said.

BTAC is planning to not only bolster local industries, but also build relationships and opportunities with college students by producing custom “production-grade” parts.

It gives students exposure to different companies, and provides companies with access to college resources, Luiken said.

Three companies have already signed on — two from Chemical Valley — to have prototypes made up, she said. Several others are interested.

But BTAC is buying another, more powerful 3D printer within three months that can use materials other than just plastic, and will be able to make functional parts for industry, she said. Plans are to also acquire a 3D scanner.

3D printing can be used for custom auto parts, building custom replacement teeth, or even scale replicas of a patient's body so surgeons can practice difficult operations before the real thing.

It's faster — typically a matter of hours — and often cheaper, to produce parts that are custom or difficult-to-find replacement's Luiken said, adding the technology could one day change how much businesses rely on warehousing.

“If we can produce something on order and have it shipped in two days, then we don't need to have … parts in a warehouse,” she said.

The centre, formed last September, receives $350,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada per year for technology projects that foster collaboration with the college, like 3D printing.

It also receives extra funding from Lambton College and other companies, Luiken said.

BTAC is hosting a pair of demonstrations June 18 at its research park locale, from 9-11 a.m. and 6-8 p.m.

“We'd like to take the myth out of additive manufacturing and show the true possibilities,” Luiken said.

To register, visit or email

Blue flag to fly at Canatara2014-05-31
By Paul Morden, from   The Observer

Years of effort are behind the blue flag set to rise this summer over Sarnia's Canatara Park beach.

The popular Lake Huron beach spent several of those years as a pilot site for the international Blue Flag program that awards the designation to beaches and marines meeting standards in water quality, environmental management and education, as well as safety and services.

This time, Canatara made the cut and joins 24 other Canadian beaches, along with four marinas, authorized to fly the blue flag this summer.

"We're all really excited," said Shelley Erwin, a city recreation coordinator.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley praised for her work on the project, along with her fellow city worker Dave Meyers.

"They've been working on this for over a decade, and it is prestigious," Bradley said.

Maintaining a good record of water quality through a summer season was one of the last criteria the beach needed to check off to get across the finish line, and that happened last year, Erwin said.

This year, the Grand Bend Beach in Lambton Shores, along with municipally-owned marinas in Grand Bend and Port Franks, also maintained the Blue Flag designations they've held since 2009.

"The Blue Flag sets a level of high standards for operation of these sites which are recognized worldwide," said Ashley Farr, a facilitator of recreation and leisure with Lambton Shores.

Environmental Defence administers the Blue Flag program in Canada, but it operates worldwide, certifying more than 4,000 beaches and marinas in 48 countries.

Bradley said the designation for Canatara beach comes as efforts to have the St. Clair River taken off a North American list of environmental hotspots are moving closer to being successful.

"You've now got this premier beachfront being declared one of the best in Canada," he added.

"You can get no more ringing endorsement."

Home to refineries and chemical plants, Sarnia-Lambton has long battled a poor environmental image but Bradley said that's a war public relations campaigns can't win.

"You only win it by actions," he said, "and this is a very concrete example of actions that resulted in this designation."

Erwin said an official flag raising ceremony is planned for later in June at Canatara beach, but she added work to improve and maintain the lakefront park will continue.

Among the individuals and groups working there is environmental educator Kim Gledhill, who is involved in a project with King George VI Public School to plant dune grass in the park, and help preserve and restore its natural areas.

There are plans for the students to do more planting in the dunes this fall, and also put up post and rope "nautical fencing," along with removable boardwalks to protect the grass.

The boardwalk will be combined with rollout mats the city has that also help make the beach more accessible to visitors with disabilities.

While dune grass develops extensive root systems, it can't withstand trampling by beach goers, according to Gledhill.

"It doesn't take much," she said. "A few times walking on it, and it kills it."

As well as helping maintain the dunes by preventing erosion, dune grass provides a rare habitat for several species at risk, including the Butler's garter snake and another reptile called the five-lined skink.

"Less than 2% of the dune grasses are left around the Great Lakes," Gledhill said, who repeated a warning she said is often given by the Lake Huron Coastal Centre, "No grasses, no beach."

Projects by several environmental groups, with the support of the city, have improved the lakefront park significantly over the last decade, Gledhill said.

"People are really starting to care, and they're getting involved."

Economic Partnership adds website for entrepreneurs to newcomer attraction toolbox2014-05-30
Media release – Economic Partnership adds website for entrepreneurs to its newcomer attraction toolbox

Sarnia-Lambton, Ontario, Canada – May 30, 2014 – The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership has added a new entrepreneurial website to its arsenal of newcomer attraction tools with the creation of

The new website features a searchable real estate section that provides information on available retail, commercial, and industrial properties in Lambton County, and also a link to information on Sarnia-Lambton’s array of municipal and private business and industrial parks.

“The new website builds on the work we have been doing over the past few years in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA),” noted Economic Partnership General Manager George Mallay. “One of the points on which we are educating potential residents is the fact that an entrepreneur can relocate from the GTA to Lambton County and realize significant savings from Sarnia-Lambton’s lower housing and real estate costs; funds that can then be applied to the new business or business relocation.”

Along with the real estate search feature, the website highlights Sarnia-Lambton’s excellent newcomer support services and the area’s variety of rural, urban, and waterfront lifestyles. The site is graphically designed to complement sister site, which is geared to attract young retirees to the area.

The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership would like to acknowledge the valuable assistance of the Sarnia-Lambton Real Estate Board, with whom they worked closely on the creation of the site’s searchable real estate feature.

- ## -

For further information contact:

Ted Zatylny
Project Leader
New Resident Attraction and Retention
Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership


Sarnia-Lambton group making case for new refinery2014-05-23
By Paul Morden, from  The Observer

Canada's economy is giving away $2.5 billion a year by not building another refinery in Chemical Valley to upgrade oil sands bitumen, say those promoting the project.

The case for a $10-billion, 150,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Sarnia-Lambton to upgrade more bitumen from the western oil sands was repeated this week in a special energy supplement in the Globe and Mail.

Members of the Sarnia-based Bowman Centre have been arguing Canada should benefit from wealth and jobs that could be created by processing more oil sands bitumen at home, instead of exporting it to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast and elsewhere.

Don Wood, an associate of the Bowman Centre and former Polysar vice-president, argues a new refinery in Sarnia-Lambton could pay for itself in three years, and allow Canada to capture $2.5 billion a year in wealth and jobs now going elsewhere.

"We've been pretty active," Wood said about the work he and others at the centre have been doing, along with the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership.

As part of the effort, Wood has travelled to Alberta to speak at conferences and meet with oil industry representatives.

"Alberta has an overhang of bitumen and they're developing production capacity faster than they're developing the ability to take it away to market," Wood said.

At the same time, Ontario needs more jobs.

"There's a commonality of interest," he said.

Wood said he's encouraged some oil sands companies, particularly those using thermal processes to recover the oil, have shown interest in exploring the idea of a new Canadian upgrading refinery "as a strategic option."

Wood said delays in the U.S. approval for the Keystone pipeline have oil companies looking at other ways of getting bitumen to refineries on the Gulf Coast, but those additional transportation costs lower the price they're receiving.

That's a good deal for Gulf Coast refiners who can buy the bitumen cheaper and make more money upgrading and processing it, but the Bowman Centre argues Canadians should receive more of the benefits from adding value to their own natural resource.

And Sarnia, home to existing refineries and chemical plants, is already connected to western Canada by pipelines, plus it has the workforce, infrastructure and community support needed for the project, Wood said.

"While other locations have indefinite time lines that are influenced heavily by a whole host of political and social issues, ours is faster and much less uncertain," he said.

The idea is getting attention, according to Wood.

"What we need to do," he added, "is focus more resources on the business development activity."

The Bowman Centre is named for Clem Bowman, a former head of Imperial Oil's research department in Sarnia who went on to play an important role in the developing of Alberta's oil sands.

Last year, the centre organized a conference that drew oil industry representatives to Sarnia-Lambton to talk about the possibility of a new refinery.

Biobased Delta teams up with Bioindustrial Innovation Canada2014-05-15


South-western Netherlands-based Biobased Delta Foundation has agreed to work closely with the Canadian sustainable chemistry alliance Bioindustrial Innovation Canada. Together they aim to accelerate the international commercialization of advanced new technologies. Biorizon is one of the flagships of the Biobased Delta.

A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between both Biobased Delta and Bioindustrial Innovation Canada was signed yesterday during the Bio World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Philadelphia at the Holland Pavilion, coordinated by BE-Basic Foundation. The MOU, effective May 14, 2014, calls for collaboration on such areas as pyrolysis, chemicals from sugars and lignin-based materials. It extends for a three-year period.

Fruitful cooperation

“We very much welcome our partnership with Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, primarily in order to collaborate on joint promising biobased business opportunities”, says Dr. Willem Sederel, Managing Director of Biobased Delta. “Our core values of entrepreneurship, innovation, inclusiveness and pragmatism fit perfectly with the ambitions of Bioindustrial Innovation Canada. We are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation.”

Dr. Murray McLaughlin, Executive Director of Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, calls the cooperation agreement “an exciting opportunity as we move forward in catalyzing the commercialization of biobased and sustainable chemistry-based technologies, creating jobs and economic value for Canada”. He continues: “It recognizes the key elements of the innovation strategies of the Canadian and Dutch governments, including the concept of regional innovation clusters and the development of sustainable chemistry technology platforms.”

Joint projects and educational programs

Relationships between industrial, academic or governmental organizations will be established in order to initiate joint projects in research, development, demonstration or commercial partnering. Biobased Delta and Bioindustrial Innovation Canada will support the initiation of these projects and the acquisition of private and/or public funds to finance the projects.

 This collaboration will also contribute to building enablers for scientific community development. It includes sharing of knowledge and best practices, organizing seminars and scientific conferences, attracting and developing young talent. The development of joint educational programs in the field of novel biobased processes and products and the wide communication of scientific results are also included.

About Biobased Delta

Biobased Delta is an open innovation cluster based on a successful crossover between the agro, horticulture and chemical sector. Entrepreneurs, knowledge institutions and government agencies strengthen the front runner position of the South-western Netherlands in the biobased economy. Biobased Delta focuses on green raw materials, green building blocks and a sustainable process technology. The innovation cluster aims for an optimal link to education and educational institutes.

 Bioindustrial Innovation Canada is Canada's preeminent accelerator for the commercialization of large-scale industrial biotechnology and related sustainable chemistry. Within the bioindustrial alliance the SME sector, government agencies, multinationals and knowledge institutions collaborate to turn renewable resources, such as agricultural and forestry by-products and wastes, into energy and value-added chemicals for use in applications ranging from construction to automotive parts.

Bean protein shows potential2014-05-13
By Tyler Kula, From   The Observer

A Waterloo-based engineering, research and development company is considering the Western University Research Park in Sarnia for an estimated $700,000 pilot plant that would extract protein from gluten-free bean flour.

The plant, which would be supplied with milled bean flour from International Food Products in Chatham-Kent, would produce about 100kg of protein isolate and concentrate an hour and employ about five people over its five to six years in the area, said Amin Rajabzadeh, research director with Advanced CERT Canada (AdCERT).

The protein is used in workout supplements.

“It's a huge market for sure,” Rajabzadeh said about the product.

Currently, all protein isolate and protein concentrate powders are produced using acid that makes absorbing those proteins only about 20% effective, Rajabzadeh said.

AdCERT is planning to use a dry process — no water, no chemicals.

“We're not changing the functionality” of the protein, he said.

But first, the company is partnering with Lambton College to test its new methods of extracting those proteins.

For the next year, students and faculty at the college will be testing different data points to prove the concept — using electrostatic filters to create a magnetic field that separates the particles from each other, said Mehdi Sheikhzadeh, dean of applied research and innovation at Lambton College.

AdCERT was attracted to the area because of the biohybrid cluster Sarnia-Lambton has been working towards, including companies like BioAmber, KmX and Woodland Biofuels, he said.

“And they saw the expertise in us,” he added.

It's a combination of strong programs, good analytical equipment available for testing, and access to government funds that creates a good platform for research projects at Lambton College, he said.

The college is getting $45,000 from the Ontario Centre of Excellence and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council for the testing, along with $5,000 cash and $27,000 of in-kind services from AdCERT.

“We are excited and we are hoping that gradually we will expand the number of projects in (the bio) area,” Sheikhzadeh said.

Other benefits of the no-solvent approach to isolating bean proteins is no environmental fallout from harsh chemicals, he said, noting it also eliminates the cost of salvaging and reusing the solvent.

“The whole idea is to somehow extract the protein from beans and find the specific process that is not environmentally harmful, and at the same time relatively cheap to operate,” he said.

The pilot plant facility would be the first of its kind in Ontario, Rajabzadeh said, noting proteins used in commercial powders in the province now are brought in from the United States, China or Israel.

“There's a good market,” he said.

Beans used would include, navy, kidney, chickpea, and soy — one of Sarnia-Lambton's cash crops.

Sarnia would also “hopefully” be one of the sites considered for a full-scale manufacturing plant once the pilot project runs its course, Rajabzadeh said.

BioAmber on budget2014-05-10
By Paul Morden, From   The Observer

BioAmber's $125-million bio-succinic acid plant being built in Sarnia remains on budget, the company reported this week while releasing financial results for the first quarter of 2014.

Montreal-based BioAmber is building the 30,000-tonne capacity plant on Vidal Street where it will use sugar from corn to produce bio-succinic acid, a platform chemical used in plastic, cosmetics and other products.

"We have made steady progress toward completing the construction of the Sarnia plant on budget and on schedule," said CEO Jean-Francois Huc.

BioAmber reported in March that several working days lost to the harsh winter, as well as other issues, could delay completion of the project by four to six weeks.

There have been no additional delays since then, Huc said.

"We are now nearing completion of the warehouse and have made good progress on the office and process building work," he said.

"We're finishing up on the underground utilities for the site and are currently on schedule."

Construction is expected to be completed late this year, or early in 2015, followed by a period of several months needed to commission and start the plant.

Huc said the company had 15 people working in Sarnia, as of the end of the first quarter.

The plant is expected to have a permanent staff of 60.

Hiring is on schedule, with plant operators expected to be brought on this summer to begin safety and process training ahead of the start up, Huc said.

He said current projections show construction costs are within the company's $125-million budget.

Huc reported BioAmber continues to pursue government-backed loans to complete financing for the Sarnia project.

Earlier this year, Agriculture Canada announced $10 million for the plant and another $20 million in government loans is expected to be announced in the coming quarter, Huc said.

BioAmber recently announced it had signed a contract for the Sarnia plant to be the principal supplier of bio-succinic acid for a plastics plant being constructed in Thailand.

Rail Advocacy In Lambton discussing three-year pilot project proposal with VIA2014-05-03

By Tyler Kula, from The Observer

A Sarnia-Lambton group fighting to restore rail service in the county and Southwestern Ontario is vying for three years of increased train traffic, to see if it raises ridership rates.

“If at the end of three years we don't get an increase in ridership, or we don't get any better results from patronizing the service … then all the effort will be for naught,” said Jim Houston, president of Rail Advocacy in Lambton (RAIL).

The proposed pilot project has only been discussed with VIA, Houston said. He's meeting with company brass in Montreal May 21 to hammer out details.

“We have now put some schedules together and we're prepared to discuss those across the table and see if they're willing to go,” he said.

The basic idea though, he said, is to have three trains in and out of Sarnia per day, with London as a hub connecting to the main line.

Currently Sarnia-Lambton has one train leaving around 6 a.m. and one train returning around 10:30 p.m., after VIA Rail service was slashed almost two years ago.

Lack of ridership was cited at the time as one of the reasons for the cuts, with trains averaging about 30 people — well below the 120-passenger benchmark, VIA officials have said.

Federal funding has also been harder to come by in recent years for the Crown corporation, perpetuating service cuts, Houston said.

VIA's corporate plan from 2011 says federal funding shrank by $148 million between 1990 and 2010, to $262 million. The company's most recent annual report, from 2012, shows $279.1-million in operating funding from the feds.

Sarnia-Lambton MP Pat Davidson, said the government has given more than $1-billion to VIA since 2006.

“Our government really supports the rail service in Canada. We know it's important,” she said, adding the three-year pilot project is a good idea.

She noted RAIL has been working directly with Transport Canada on a number of issues.

“We're hopeful that will happen,” she said.

“We know that it's been a real blow to our community to see the rail service diminish.”

Meanwhile the lack of ticket agents at Sarnia's station is another issue to discuss, Houston said.

“The only time it's open to get a ticket is half an hour before train time.”

He noted a partnership with Robert Q to compensate for lost rail services also isn't performing well enough to connect with London trains.

He repeated his call for a national rail policy so VIA isn't at the “whim” of Cabinet.

A recent provincial announcement that Ontario is studying up on the feasibility of building a high-speed rail line between London and Toronto was welcome news for the group, he said.

“VIA Rail or somebody has to service that high-speed rail program,” he said. “There has to be connectors to the other areas within the southwest.”

Group members discussed bringing Sarnia and the region into the plan with Transport Minister Glenn Murray earlier this week.

While the minister said the area hasn't been forgotten, Houston said, he added there needs to be co-operation with the federal government for line improvements.

“It just makes us work harder,” Houston said of the announcement, adding, “We're not going to go away.”

Bio-secure truck wash planned2014-05-02
By Paul Morden, from The Observer

By Paul Morden

Lambton County trucking company plans to open what's billed as Ontario's first bio-secure livestock truck and trailer washing station designed to help prevent the spread of disease among farm animals.

Nancy Venhuizen, chief executive officer of Warner Transport in Plympton-Wyoming, said renovations have began at a former lumber storage building in Thedford where they hope to officially open the new washing station in two to three months.

"It's a long time in coming in the industry," Venhuizen said.

Ontario's pork farmers have recently been hit by the spread of the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus that isn't a risk to human health but is generally fatal for very young pigs.

Since it was first detected in Ontario in late January, PED has been found on more than 50 farms, including three in Lambton. The latest infected hog farm was confirmed Wednesday in Middlesex County.

It's suspected PED initially entered Ontario in pork feed but, because the highly contagious virus spreads through contaminated pig feces, Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture and Food has been stressing the need for strict bio-security measures by farmers, truckers and suppliers.

Venhuisen said a $135,000 grant from Ontario's Economic Development Program will cover approximately one-third of the cost of setting up the station, expected to clean and dry an average of 10 trucks a day for other transport companies, as well as Warner Transport.

Venhuisen said Warner Transport has been trucking livestock for approximately 18 years and bio-security "has definitely been a gap in the industry."

Similar truck washes are in place in western Canada and Quebec, Venhuisen said.

"We've gone to these facilities to check out what they've done, to see how we can make ours just as good, if not better," she said.

"All our farmers know we're doing this and they're definitely looking forward to it."

The number of new cases of PED in Ontario has slowed recently, according to Bill Wymenga, a Chatham-Kent farmer and a director for the region that includes Lambton on the producer organization Ontario Pork.

He credits increased bio-security efforts by farmers, as well as the arrival of warmer weather. Winter conditions can make it difficult to control the spread of the virus.

"That's good news that we're seeing investments made in truck washing facilities," Wymenga said.

"We're probably short of those facility."

He said government has been helping with funding for the facilities, as well as efforts to improve bio-security on farms.

"Those measures, we're hoping, will help put us in a better situation when the cold weather comes in this fall and winter."

Lambton College researchers investigate new use for cleaning technology2014-04-25
By Barbara Simpson, from  The Observer

Lambton College researchers are tapping into the power of technology used to clean NHL and NFL equipment to help score a touchdown for firefighting departments.

The college's Fire & Public Safety Centre of Excellence has launched its first large-scale research project to investigate the possibility of using ozone chambers to clean and kill bacteria off of firefighting equipment.

The $90,000 research project is being funded partially by the federal and provincial governments. Quebec-based company Sani Sport, who designed the first sports equipment-cleaning machine, has come up with half of the funding.

"Right now there's a very traditional way of cleaning these firefighting gears," said Mehdi Sheikhzadeh, the college's dean of applied research and innovation. "They're sending it to the (cleaning) companies and they're just washing the firefighting gear and it's pretty time-consuming and costly. You don't have access to it until you get it back."

But with the use of these ozone chambers, Sheikhzadeh said firefighting gear could be cleaned right at the stations cheaper and quicker.

Sani Sport ozone chambers are already being used by 27 NHL and 15 NFL teams to clean their players' equipment. Teams include the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Montreal Canadiens, the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers.

"This is going to open a unique application for the equipment," Sheikhzadeh said of the firefighting research. "It requires a little bit of modification which is the goal of the project."

A pair of faculty members are heading up the research with the assistance of students. All the firefighting equipment will undergo a series of tissue and microbiological testing to ensure the level of cleanliness and that durability of the equipment isn't affected by the cleaning process.

This large-scale project comes at a time when Ontario colleges are emphasizing their capabilities to conduct research to help commercialize a host of products and technologies.

Once thought of as the domain strictly of universities, research efforts in college settings are receiving increasing levels of funding, noted Lambton College president Judy Morris.

"The federal government in particular has really gotten to understanding if they are interested in commercializing projects, which in the end would result in higher productivity for Canada, they know colleges in particular are closer to industry and more able to commercialize the research projects," she said.

Lambton College has just received an additional $505,000 in federal funding to purchase equipment for four more research and development projects.

A total of $150,000 has been earmarked for a lab for water treatment research, followed by $150,000 for research into green energy conversion and storage and another $150,000 for a 3D technology project. A total of $55,000 will go towards a distributed monitoring and control system.

In the case of the 3D technology project, Morris said a printer will help with local research and development efforts.

"The (3D printer) projects are endless, so what we would anticipate is businesses who are looking to build a building or to identify a new way to make a ball bearing or a piece of machinery that they would come use our 3D equipment in our Bluewater Technology Access Centre generally for a small fee and they'd get a prototype," she said.

She anticipates more research funding will come down the government pipelines in the next few years.

"As they see colleges as a great opportunity to enhance skills development and jobs, they also see us as the foray into commercialization," she added.


$505,000 federal funding to purchase equipment for four Lambton College research projects

$45,000 in funding from Sani Sport to support firefighting research project

$25,000 contribution from federal government

$20,000 contribution from provincial government

(Source: Lambton College)

Entropex expands operations2014-04-14


By Lee Michaels

A Sarnia company has become a world leader in the reprocessing of used industrial and consumer plastics.

Entropex President Keith Bechard says they’ve developed a process to recover, then recycle “Bulky Rigid” plastics: things such as old lawn chairs, children’s slides and laundry baskets.

They recover these items from area municipalities and from as far away as Chicago and New York, diverting them from landfills.

The new recycling technology has resulted in an extra shift being added to the 180,000 sq.ft. Lougar Ave. facility. 22 new employees have been hired, bringing the payroll to 200.

RAIL group working to better rail service in SW Ont2014-04-13

By Tyler Kula

A Sarnia-Lambton advocacy group fighting for better rail transportation service has been teaming up with similar groups to take the cause across Southwestern Ontario.

Rail Advocacy in Lambton (RAIL) was formed in the wake of slashed VIA Rail service in Sarnia in 2012.

Current service includes one train leaving around 6 a.m., and one train returning around 10:30 p.m.

Group president Jim Houston calls it “total isolation.

“I can certainly see why people wouldn't ride the train when you have to be away a matter of 16 hours in a day to go to a two-hour meeting in Toronto,” he said.

Group members recently hosted the Southwestern Ontario Transportation Alliance in Sarnia to talk about next steps to better rail transportation in the region.

“One of our hopes is (to) increase ridership,” Houston said, “if we can get a connection out of Toronto mid-afternoon say so that business people in Chatham, Windsor, Sarnia will start utilizing the service.”

The idea is to make London a hub of sorts, he said, explaining most connections from places like Chatham or Sarnia, going to places like Kitchener or Stratford, currently have long waits in between.

“They have to wait two to three hours for a connection in London,” Houston said. “That's not acceptable.”

The RAIL group was part of a victory late last year that saw more stops included on train 84's route from Sarnia to London, and a quicker connection to the Toronto-bound train 70.

Houston said he's hoping to arrange a meeting with VIA and CN officials sometime next month to talk about other changes the group would like to see.

“We're looking for more acceptable connection times,” he said .”We'd like to see the afternoon train here around 3 p.m. reinstated.”

A followup meeting for the Southwestern Ontario Transportation Alliance, likely a teleconference, he said, is scheduled for early May.

The group is hoping to appoint a regional executive to help re-establish Via Rail services to cities affected by funding reductions to the train company.

“VIA Rail, being at the whim of the House of Commons with no national rail strategy, they have to take what's dealt to them, in regards to funding and administration and everything else,” Houston said.

SLEP GM speaking to int'l energy crowd; debuts new energy video2014-04-09

Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership General Manager, George Mallay, will be speaking today to an audience of energy sector representatives at the All-Energy Canada 2014 conference taking place in Toronto April 09 and 10.

Mallay will be presenting and participating in a panel discussion at 3:30 p.m., ‘Developing the Labour Skills in the Sustainable Energy Economy’.  Mallay noted that the topic is a natural fit for Sarnia-Lambton. “Our community is positioning itself as a leader in the hybrid chemical and energy sector, and part of that foresight is training for these future jobs.”

The Economic Partnership’s GM will also be speaking today at 12:30 p.m. at a “Near and Far Markets” session, where a new 4 minute video promoting Sarnia-Lambton’s energy sector will debut.  “We’re getting information out on Sarnia-Lambton’s global-scale energy sector and the excellent service and manufacturing companies we have here that support it,” Mallay noted.  “The energy-related skills and products found in Sarnia-Lambton can easily be exported around the world; a fact that we will be heavily promoting at the event.”

To view the Economic Partnership’s new video on Sarnia-Lambton’s energy industry go to and click on the “Sarnia-Lambton’s Energy Cluster” video link. 

The video was created by local media company Storyboard Solutions.

All-Energy Canada 2014 is the third event in a global All-Energy series. It is a multi-stream conference that brings together renewable energy experts from around the world. The conference focuses on solution-based renewable and sustainable energy technologies.  

For further information:

George Mallay
General Manager
Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership

Sarnia construction values holding steady2014-04-06
From    The Observer

Construction values continued to remain strong in Sarnia last month.

For the third month in a row, March's construction values topped last year's numbers. In total, $4.52 million worth of building permits were issued last month compared to $3.06 million in March 2013.

Since January, the city has issued a total of $14.17 million worth of permits, almost double last year's figures for the same three-month time period.

A bulk of that construction is happening at Imperial Oil. More than $840,000 worth of renovations is planned for the Christina Street South site, according to a report from the city.

A total of $740,000 worth of renovations is also planned for the Real Canadian Superstore plaza on Murphy Road.

Last month, the city issued 29 building permits, including 10 single family dwellings.

SLEP GM testifies at Standing Committee on Natural Resources2014-04-03
In Ottawa today Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership GM, George Mallay, spoke before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources. The committee was meeting to study the Cross-Canada benefits of developing the Oil and Gas Industry of the Energy Sector.

Mallay noted that it was a good opportunity to put forward three key points to the Standing Committee: 1. awareness of building a hybrid chemistry complex in Sarnia-Lambton; 2. the need for more awareness and support for the Sarnia-Lambton Industrial Alliance’s initiative to penetrate the Alberta market; and 3, the fact that Sarnia-Lambton receives the oil, has the market location, and has strong community support for the creation of a refinery here.

Mallay noted, “The Standing Committee was made aware of the investments taking place here by NOVA, Union Gas and other companies; and the potential for additional investment in Sarnia-Lambton because of the opportunities presented by shale gas feed stocks.”

In addition to Mallay, witnesses presenting to the Committee were:

- Suncor Energy Inc.: Heather Kennedy, Vice-President, Government Relations, Business Services; Jean Côté, Vice-President, Montreal Refinery, Refining and Marketing.

- Canadian Steel Producers Association: Ron Watkins, President

- As individuals: Normand Mousseau, Professor, Université de Montréal, Department of Physics

- Andrew Leach, Associate Professor, Author, Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta.

US company still pursuing LNG2014-03-26
By Paul Morden, from   The Observer

The president of an American shipping company lined up to buy liquified natural gas (LNG) from a proposed new production unit Shell Canada put on hold last week says he still believes the fuel has a future on the Great Lakes.

Interlake Steamship Company, based in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, was identified last spring as a customer for the LNG Shell said it was planning to produce at its Sarnia Manufacturing Centre near Corunna.

But Shell confirmed last week it has paused that project, and a similar one planned for Louisiana, while it reviews its LNG-for-transport opportunities in North America.

"We'd like to see LNG on the lakes, and I think we're still hopeful that will come," said Interlake president Mark Barker.

"We've done a lot of work to understand and develop that technology, and what it takes to use LNG, and we're still pursuing it."

Interlake announced last spring it had reached an agreement in principle with Shell for a supply of LNG.

"They are taking a pause," Barker said, "but we are still working with them to see if there's a way that we can continue the work we've done, to see if we can run our ships on LNG."

Barker said Interlake expected to begin using the fuel in spring 2016 and hasn't begun converting any of its nine ships from heavy oil to cleaner burning, and less-expensive LNG.

"Marine transportation is the most environmental way of moving stuff on a ton per mile basis," he said. "LNG would just make it that much better."

The small-scale gas liquefaction unit Shell was planning for Corunna would have been able to produce 250,000 tonnes of LNG, and would have created approximately 10 new jobs at the site, as well as several hundred short-time construction jobs.

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey he's continuing to push for his Natural Gas Superhighway private member's bill that received unanimous support in September at second reading in the legislature.

"I think it's even more important now, in light of Shell's announcement," Bailey said.

"I'm glad they say it's a 'pause' and not an out-and-outright stop."

Passing his bill, designed to adjust trucking weight restrictions and provide tax credits for purchasing LNG-burning trucks, would tell the fuel and trucking industries government is serious about developing use of the fuel in Ontario, Bailey said.

Sarnia Lambton Industrial Alliance wins Chamber Innovation Award2014-03-25
Sarnia, Ontario, March 25, 2014 - Sarnia Lambton Industrial Alliance (SLIA) Chairman Rick Perdeaux accepted the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Achievement Award for “Innovation” at the awards ceremony in Sarnia on Friday March 21, 2014. SLIA was chosen as the recipient of the Innovation award from a strong line up of very qualified nominees.

SLIA, with the efforts of an enthusiastic volunteer Board of Directors and the participation of nearly 40 local member companies, has created something that is both unique and innovative. It is a not-for-profit industry group of companies that has agreed to work together to promote the exceptional skills and abilities of members to new markets outside their traditional local service area. Some of these companies are long-time direct competitors, while others provide complementary services. All have recognized the potential benefit in capturing more work for Sarnia-Lambton, in Canada and around the world, in the sectors of industrial fabrication, machine shop, engineering, environmental, water and wastewater services.

Their group efforts are being noticed. Bidding opportunities and actual work has been generated, and more is anticipated. SLIA has brought attention to our area’s leading-edge capabilities and capacity for growth. Industry representatives, media, politicians and government officials that may not otherwise have been aware are noticing. Putting people to work and creating economic growth is a popular goal, and many are lining up to support the idea. SLIA representatives note that it has proven to be easier to do as a group, than with each company working individually.

Mr. Perdeaux indicates that the SLIA group is thankful for the recognition by the Chamber and will be celebrating this achievement, but has no intention of “resting on its laurels”. The group continues to expand its efforts to reach new markets and potential clients for the wide range of products and services available in Sarnia-Lambton. They are also continuing their efforts to develop an “oversized load corridor” from member shops to a suitable deep-water dock facility. Such a route would reduce shipping costs, allowing them to compete more effectively and create more job opportunities.

Last, but not least, SLIA welcomes potential new members to bring their ideas and skills to the group so the innovative ideas can continue to grow!

- ## -

For further information contact:

David Moody
Project Leader – Business Growth Services
Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership
519-332-1820, Ext 226

Revision to Sarnia to Toronto passenger rail2014-03-20
Eastbound from Sarnia to Toronto

R.A.I.L. proposed a schedule revision, which was well-received by VIA executives in 2013. Effective December 2013, it was made available for online ticket sales access by early 2014. The revised schedule was deemed an effective first collaborative step in creating better passenger rail connections for Sarnia-Lambton… and its American visitors.

Benefits created by this renewed schedule:
• Option of a faster ride from Sarnia to Toronto (transfer from Train 84 to Train 70weekday/80weekends in London) arrival in Toronto will now be 10:04 instead of 10:50 (46mins. faster).
• Option of a stop in Aldershot and if desired, connecting to GO into Niagara
• Option of stops along the way to Toronto are: Woodstock, Brantford, Aldershot, Oakville
• Stops renewed at Wyoming & Strathroy - must book by 5:30 a.m. day of departure (or 40mins. prior to Sarnia departure)

Yes, train 84 still leaves at 6:11am. Help us bring more train traffic to Sarnia.

Visit WWW.E-RAIL.CA to learn more and link to our Facebook Page
or email to offer your suggestions and support.
Call us at 519-542-7751 Ext: 3110
Be sure to check for VIA’s Tuesday 24hr. special each week at VIARAIL.CA

Report from:
Rail Advocacy in Lambton
MFH/March 20, 2014

Shell project put on hold2014-03-20
From   The Observer

Shell Canada says it is hitting the pause button on plans for a liquified natural gas (LNG) processing unit at its Corunna refinery.

The company said last March it was adding small-scale gas liquefaction units at its Sarnia Manufacturing Centre near Corunna, as well as at a facility in Louisiana, aimed at the commercial transportation markets.

"We did inform employees (Wednesday) that Shell is pausing the ongoing development of the liquefaction units that were planned for both Geismar, Louisiana and the Sarnia Manufacturing Centre," Shell spokesperson Randy Provencal said Thursday.

"It's going to allow us an opportunity to review our broader LNG-for-transport opportunities in North America, really, so that we can ensure that we have a flexible and competitive portfolio."

The project, planned for five to 10 acres at the Shell facility, was expected to create a few hundred construction jobs, as well as 10 full-time refinery positions operating the unit that would cool natural gas to turn it into a liquid.

"Certainly, we're disappointed to hear that it's not going ahead," said Ray Curran, spokesperson for the Sarnia Construction Association.

"We need capital projects in the community here."

But, Curran added Shell officials have assured the association the company has long-term plans in the community.

"For the next 20 years, this plant is going to be in Sarnia, we feel," he said.

Lambton County Warden Todd Case called the news "very unfortunate," but added his hope is that "the project does still happen, in the very near future."

Provencal said he wasn't able to say how much money the company was planning to spend on the LNG unit at Corunna.

Shell had five employees working at the refinery site on the project, who will deployed to other projects within the site, Provencal said.

Shell said in March 2013 that each of the new units it was planning to build would be able to produce 250,000 tones of LNG. They were originally expected to be operating two years from now.

"Of course, news like this comes as a disappointment," Provencal said regarding reaction at the Corunna facility.

"It's a setback for us, however the future is bright for the Sarnia Manufacturing Centre, and for Shell in this community."

He said Shell has "a number of growth projects that we're working towards, right now."

Several years ago, Shell considered building a new multi-billion dollar refinery near Courtright but officially pulled the plug on that proposal in July 2008 after two years of study and planning.

Last year, Shell said the Ohio-based Interlake Steamship Company was expected to be its first marine customers for LNG on the Great Lakes.

Interlake later announced it had reached an agreement in principle with Shell for a supply of LNG for ships it was planning to convert to the fuel.

"I can't speak to specific companies or contracts," Provencal said when asked about the agreement with Interlake.

"We believe in the opportunities that were identified in these corridors, the gulf coast corridor and the Great Lakes corridor, but we want to ensure they're going to provide the best value for Shell and our customers," he said.

Construction beginning on new home for Central Lambton Family Health Team2014-03-14

From  The Observer

A sod-turning ceremony is taking place 10 a.m. March 25 at the site for the new $4-million, 19,500-square-foot structure at Englehart Park in Petrolia. The site was chosen to give patients easy access to Bluewater Health's Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital.

The single-storey building will house the health team — including seven doctors — a pharmacy, a dentist's office, and other yet-to-be-confirmed health services.

"We have been looking forward to this day for some time," said Petrolia Mayor John McCharles in a news release. "This will tie our communities together and secure the future of Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital."

The centre is expected to serve about 10,500 patients and is scheduled to open in the fall.

Enbridge Line 9 approved for piping crude east2014-03-07

By Daniel Proussalidis, National Bureau
From   The Observer

OTTAWA - The National Energy Board (NEB) has given the go-ahead to Enbridge Pipelines to reverse the flow along the full length of the existing Line 9 pipeline to send crude eastward from Sarnia, Ont., to Montreal and the Quebec City area.

In the decision released Thursday, the NEB says it will also let Enbridge increase the overall capacity of the pipeline from 240,000 to 300,000 barrels of oil per day, including heavy crude from Western Canada and the Bakken fields in the U.S.

"The Board's decision enables Enbridge to react to market forces and provide benefits to Canadians, while at the same time implementing the Project in a safe and environmentally sensitive manner," the NEB said in its decision.

Enbridge will also have to follow 30 conditions, which includes creating "comprehensive site-specific spill contingency measures."

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver welcomed the NEB decision.

"This will protect high-quality, skilled jobs in Quebec and create market opportunities for Western Canada's oil producers," he said in a statement. "Furthermore, by replacing higher-cost foreign crude with Canadian crude, the reversal will strengthen Quebec's refining and petrochemical industries."

Oliver also notes the NEB heard testimony "from 60 interveners including four First Nations, 23 associations and 12 governmental organizations" before making its decision.

Still, the anti-oilsands Environmental Defence slammed the NEB for deciding to "rubber-stamp this risky project."

Others promise to disrupt Enbridge's plans.

"Rising Tide is calling for civil disobedience to show opposition to Line 9 and 'tar sands' expansion," Rising Tide's Shirley Ceravolo said in a news release.

Sugar beet growers want to expand into industrial market2014-03-06

From  The Observer

By Peter Epp, March 06, 2014

Sugar beet growers in Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton want to grow more beets, but not for use as sugar. The beets would be processed as a feedstock to be used in Sarnia-Lambton's growing bio-chemical sector.

Mark Lumley, a Sarnia-area sugar beet grower who was acclaimed as chair of the Ontario Sugarbeet Growers' Association on Thursday, says there are various potential uses for the “thin juice” or “running sugar water” produced at a sugar beet factory before that juice is crystallized.

“It could be used as a feedstock for bio-chemical use,” Lumley explained to QMI Agency. “It could be used to enhance the production of corn ethanol. It could, in fact, be used as one of the ingredients in the production of polyethylene. It would be an alternative to petroleum.”

Lumley said the association's members are serious about finding an alternative use for their sugar beets, and are working toward the development of a processing facility in Sarnia-Lambton that would prepare the thin juice for bio-chemical customers.

“We're just not talking about this,” Lumley said. “We want to do this. The end game for all of this discussion is that we want to grow more sugar beets in Ontario.”

The association's members have been growing sugar beets for the Michigan Sugar Company since the mid-1990s, but their agreement is to produce 10,000 acres of sugar beets annually. The beets are processed at Croswell, Michigan and used for refined sugar.

But Lumley said there's an opportunity for the Ontario growers to expand their acreage, although any new production would likely be used for industrial production.

“We could refine our own sugar right here, but it's just not economical,” Lumley said. “But every sugar refinery must first make thin juice to make sugar, and there's an opportunity to make the thin juice only.”

Lumley said part of the reason for an expansion in Ontario's beet industry comes from the area's superior production. Sugar beet growers in Lambton County and Chatham-Kent consistently out-produce their Michigan colleagues, he said.

“We're smoking the rest of Michigan and all of the United States. This is one of the most productive areas in all of North America for sugar beet production. If there was a demand for 50,000 acres of sugar beets grown in this area, we could grow it. We have the people, we have the technology, and we have the soil.”

Lumley said an opportunity exists to sell the thin juice to BioAmber in Sarnia, and added there has been “a lot of discussion” with BioInnovation Canada about the role of the sugar beet in the bio-chemical sector.

Speaking to the association's 80 growers on Thursday, Lumley said there's no reason why the industry can't expand.

“We have a 10,000-acre cap with Michigan Sugar, but there's no reason why we can't grow 40,000 acres for that excess sugar and have it processed in Sarnia-Lambton,” he said.

Earlier in the meeting, members heard from Dresden-area grower Mark Richards about the association joining the Canadian Sugar Beet Association, which currently represents sugar beet growers in Southern Alberta.

Richards said membership in the national association would hopefully raise the industry's domestic profile, both politically and industrially. He said the Alberta and Ontario growers could benefit from sharing research and working toward an expansion in their market.

The Alberta growers sell their sugar beets to two companies, Atlantic Sugar and Redparh. Atlantic has a refinery in Vancouver, while Redpath has refineries in Toronto and Montreal.

Rob Boras, president of the Canadian Sugar Beet Association, welcomed the Ontario growers' membership. He said the national body is particularly concerned with the proposed trade agreement with the European Union, fearing that European sugar will be “dumped” into Canada. The trade agreement, Boras said, doesn't adequately protect Canadian sugar beet growers.

Sarnia's first brewery2014-03-05

From   Blackburn News

By Lee Michaels, March 05, 2014

The finishing touches are being put on Sarnia’s first ever craft brewery.

Refined Fool Brewing Company hopes to open on Davis St. near Christina St. on the First Friday event in May.

Nathan Colquhoun is one of ten investors in the company

He says the cost will be comparable to other craft beers.

They’ve installed 400 L fermenters and 200 L boil kettles with six ales offered initially.

Although they’ll first operate as a manufacturing and retail outlet, they hope to eventually offer a pub service as well.

Lets talk energy!2014-02-20
Oil Springs, ON – Get in on the energy conversation! From February 21 – 28, 2014 the Oil Museum of Canada is proud to be part of Canada’s first ever national energy awareness week. Let’s Talk Energy Week – IT’S ON! invites Canadians to explore and discuss the vital role energy plays in all aspects of our lives. Visit for more information.

"Let's Talk Energy is a national program that aims to enhance energy awareness and literacy among Canadians to contribute to a sustainable energy future" says Oil Museum Supervisor Connie Bell.

The public is invited to the Oil Museum of Canada during Let's Talk Energy week to learn more about oil as well as other energy sources. Visitors are also welcome to fill out a ballot for a prize package of a Let's Talk Energy t-shirt, the children's book Luz Sees the Light, and Bernie Gilmore's CD Oil Boom.

During February the Oil Museum of Canada is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information about Lambton County, visit


Connie Bell
Oil Museum of Canada
Telephone: 519-834-2840

$10 million from Ag Canada for Bioamber's S-L plant2014-02-19
By Tyler Kula, from  The Observer

More federal dollars have arrived to bolster BioAmber's $125-million Sarnia-Lambton plant.

Wednesday, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced a $10-million AgriInnovation Program loan — part of the government's Growing Forward 2 initiative — for BioAmber at Lanxess, where BioAmber's biosuccinic acid plant is being built.

Construction is expected to wrap up by year's end, officials said.

“Once it's fully operational it's estimated the plant will use the equivalent of three million bushels of Ontario corn annually,” said Ritz.

“This is great news for Ontario corn farmers who want to diversify their farm businesses.”

The first-of-its-kind in Canada commercial plant will use biosuccinic acid from corn sugar to manufacture products ranging from automotive parts to cosmetics. It's expected to create about 50 permanent jobs and produce 30,000 tonnes per year at startup, Ritz said.

A 20,000-tonne expansion is planned within a year, company officials have said, eventually leading to an estimated 155 jobs at the Sarnia plant by 2019, said Ritz.

“I want to congratulate BioAmber on this exciting new venture,” he said. “Our government is pleased to be a partner in projects that provide growth and prosperity to Canadian farmers and the sector as a whole.”

Creating more markets for crops tends to raise prices: good news for farmers, he said, adding the plant — and others like it in the future — could lead to new varieties of corn grown in Ontario specifically for biosuccinic acid.

“This is like the Internet in the late 90s,” said company CEO Jean-Francois Huc.

“Fifteen years from now we're not going to believe how much of our agriculture, biomass, waste, corn and other, are being transformed into value-added products and ending up in everything from tires to automobiles, to the plastic cups we use, to the cosmetics, everything.”

Both he and executive vice-president Mike Hartmann said they were thrilled with the $10-million loan.

“I think it makes a lot of sense that Canada is involved in this and it's a big project,” Hartmann said.

Details of the loan repayment aren't being made public, Ritz said.

BioAmber raised $71.9 million in an initial public stock offering, arranged a $25-million loan from Hercules Capital and has received other provincial and federal government funding for the Sarnia project announced in 2011.

The Montreal-based company has partnered with Mitsui & Co. for the Sarnia plant, and two other facilities it plans to build.

Sarnia is in the running for those other plants, including a 100,000-ton bio-based butanediol (BDO) plant, expected to cost between $330 million and $350 million to build. BDO is made from biosuccinic acid and used in things like plastics and spandex, Hartmann said

“We're in the process of doing site evaluations throughout North America,” he said.

But Canada and Sarnia are well-positioned for the future, Huc said.

“We're very excited to be on the leading edge, but this is just the beginning.”

Great Lakes and St. Lawerence Cities set for Sarnia2014-02-18
A bevy of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway-area mayors will be in town next year, seeing what Sarnia-Lambton has to offer as it hosts the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative's annual meeting and conference.

The most important event of the year for the 112-municipal-member group, representing 17 million people on either side of the border, is an opportunity to showcase Sarnia-Lambton, said Beverley Horodyski with Tourism Sarnia-Lambton.

“It was fantastic news when we heard we were selected,” she said.

Provincial, state and federal representatives also usually attend, along with non-government and private sector delegates.

In all, up to 150 representatives are expected to stay at the Point Edward Holiday Inn during the June 17-19, 2015 conference, Horodyski said, praising the group for its work to protect, restore and promote the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence region.

“From a tourism point of view that's great news for us because we're literally in the heart of the Great Lakes region,” she said.

A planning committee will be working over the next 16 months to develop activities and programs for the conference, she said.

It's unclear exactly what the theme of next year's meeting will be yet, said initiative executive director David Ullrich, noting this year's — in Thunder Bay this June — will be focusing on climate change.

Using the Great Lakes to transport oil, especially near Sarnia where officials have been petitioning to play a greater role in upgrading oil sands bitumen, could be among the topics, he said.

“We don't decide that until a little closer to it,” he said. “Because sometimes issues develop.”

Keynote speakers will also be selected closer to the date, he said.

Past host cities include Quebec City and Marquette Mich.

In making it's decision, the initiative's board of directors were impressed with Sarnia-Lambton's proposal, and that it's centrally located in the Great Lakes region, and somewhere the initiative hasn't hosted an annual conference before, said Ullrich.

“And with the heavy industry in Sarnia, it makes for very interesting field trips that we can take as part of the tour,” he said.

The initiative celebrated its 10th anniversary last year and was created to give voice to municipalities on issues that concern Great Lakes and St. Lawrence-area waterways, Ullrich said.

Typically about 30 to 40 mayors attend annual conferences, he said.

“What we really try to do as an organization is integrate these things: the economy, the environment, and the society, into a much more liveable and sustainable Great Lakes,” he said. “Sarnia will be just a perfect example of that.”

Bio-diesel makers join forces2014-02-08
By Paul Morden,  From  The Observer

Ontario bio-diesel producers have formed an association to promote the fuel as the province considers mandating that at least 2% of its diesel come from renewable sources.

The three founding members of the Ontario Bio-diesel Association includes Methes Energies Canada Inc., operator of a plant near near Sombra that makes bio-diesel from used cooking oil and other renewable feedstocks.

Methes CEO Michel Laporte said the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association has been promoting alternative and renewable fuels nationally.

"But, when it came to specifically to Ontario, we felt we could be better represented by having our own association, which is very specific to bio-diesel," he said.

The new association has already held talks with provincial government officials, including a meeting this week in Toronto, Laporte said.

Other members of the association include Great Lakes Bio-diesel, a company that operates a refinery in Welland, and Noroxel Energy Ltd., near Alymer. Paul Grenier of Welland has been named its executive director.

Ontario announced in its 2013 budget it would consult with the industry on mandating use of bio-diesel in the province. In November, the government posted a proposed regulation to the Environment Registry that would set a minimum mandate of 2% bio-diesel beginning this spring, and growing to 4% in 2016.

Environment Ministry spokesperson Kate Jordan said technical discussions are continuing with stakeholders.

"The ministry will consider all feedback received through the consultation before any decisions on next steps are made," she said.

Laporte said a 2% mandate won't necessarily create new demand for Ontario-produced bio-diesel since the large fuel companies in the province will be free to buy it from anywhere.

But, he expects they will turn to Ontario's four bio-diesel refiners because of the logistical advantage.

"This is our backyard, and we're much closer to where the demand's going to be," he said.

The combined capacity of Ontario's existing bio-diesel refiners is "pretty close" to being able to supply a 2% mandate, Laporte said.

Growing to 4% would create some opportunities, he added.

They include increasing capacity at the existing bio-diesel plants, and encouraging new companies to enter the industry, Laporte said.

"We do believe there is a bright future."

Methes took over a former Chinook Chemical plant near Sombra, on Holt Line in St. Clair Township, where it began manufacturing bio-diesel last year.

Laporte said the company is planning to expand production there later this year.

Methes currently has the capacity to produce 55 million litres of bio-diesel annually at its facilities in Sombra and Mississauga, and has customers in the U.S. where there is a strong mandate requiring its use.

Last year, the U.S. mandate required use of 1.3 billion gallons of bio-diesel, and the industry produced about 1.9 billion gallons.

"Which means there is a good demand for bio-diesel," beyond the government mandate, Laporte said.
By Paul Morden, From The Observer
February 08, 2014

By Paul Morden

Ontario bio-diesel producers have formed an association to promote the fuel as the province considers mandating that at least 2% of its diesel come from renewable sources.

The three founding members of the Ontario Bio-diesel Association includes Methes Energies Canada Inc., operator of a plant near near Sombra that makes bio-diesel from used cooking oil and other renewable feedstocks.

Methes CEO Michel Laporte said the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association has been promoting alternative and renewable fuels nationally.

"But, when it came to specifically to Ontario, we felt we could be better represented by having our own association, which is very specific to bio-diesel," he said.

The new association has already held talks with provincial government officials, including a meeting this week in Toronto, Laporte said.

Other members of the association include Great Lakes Bio-diesel, a company that operates a refinery in Welland, and Noroxel Energy Ltd., near Alymer. Paul Grenier of Welland has been named its executive director.

Ontario announced in its 2013 budget it would consult with the industry on mandating use of bio-diesel in the province. In November, the government posted a proposed regulation to the Environment Registry that would set a minimum mandate of 2% bio-diesel beginning this spring, and growing to 4% in 2016.

Environment Ministry spokesperson Kate Jordan said technical discussions are continuing with stakeholders.

"The ministry will consider all feedback received through the consultation before any decisions on next steps are made," she said.

Laporte said a 2% mandate won't necessarily create new demand for Ontario-produced bio-diesel since the large fuel companies in the province will be free to buy it from anywhere.

But, he expects they will turn to Ontario's four bio-diesel refiners because of the logistical advantage.

"This is our backyard, and we're much closer to where the demand's going to be," he said.

The combined capacity of Ontario's existing bio-diesel refiners is "pretty close" to being able to supply a 2% mandate, Laporte said.

Growing to 4% would create some opportunities, he added.

They include increasing capacity at the existing bio-diesel plants, and encouraging new companies to enter the industry, Laporte said.

"We do believe there is a bright future."

Methes took over a former Chinook Chemical plant near Sombra, on Holt Line in St. Clair Township, where it began manufacturing bio-diesel last year.

Laporte said the company is planning to expand production there later this year.

Methes currently has the capacity to produce 55 million litres of bio-diesel annually at its facilities in Sombra and Mississauga, and has customers in the U.S. where there is a strong mandate requiring its use.

Last year, the U.S. mandate required use of 1.3 billion gallons of bio-diesel, and the industry produced about 1.9 billion gallons.

"Which means there is a good demand for bio-diesel," beyond the government mandate, Laporte said.

Atelka holdilng job fair in Sarnia, Friday and Saturday2014-01-31
By Paul Morden, from  The Observer

A job fair to fill 300 positions at a new call centre in Sarnia was two hours away from opening its doors Friday morning, and Atelka CEO Georges Karam was already feeling pleased.

The Montreal-based company began accepting resumes on its website after announcing a little more than two weeks ago it's setting up its eighth Canadian contact centre at the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park in Sarnia.

"We have, already, a lot of resumes for agents and for supervisors and for site directors," Karam said.

"I think we're going to have a great day today."

Friday's job fair in the research park's conference centre was set to run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday,10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Job seekers were being encouraged to show up with resumes and Karam said they plan to begin hiring by mid-February, begin training in early March and begin operating in early April.

Karam said they look at several criteria when locating a contact centre in a community, including the facilities available, but most important is the quality and experience of the workforce.

"We found that Sarnia has all of it," he said.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, and other local officials, gathered at the research park Friday morning to welcome Atelka to town.

"They've already had a strong response," Bradley said, "with 300 resumes coming in, online."

Staff at the county-owned research park, and the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, had been working to attract a new call centre at the facility since a NCO call centre closed there in 2012, putting 500 people out of work.

Karam said Ontario's announcement of a coming raise in the minimum wage will have an impact, but added Atelka only pays workers that rate during training.

"Once the agents is trained and ready to go on the floor, they are paid more than the minimum wage."

Karam said he wasn't able to give an exact wage rate Friday for what agents in Sarnia will be earning.

But, he added, Ontario's move to a higher minimum wage "is something to consider for our future expansion."

Founded in 2003 by two Montreal entrepreneurs, Atelka employs more than 2,000 people at sites in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

"Any time we open a centre, we look at it for the long-term," Karam said.

"We have a very success record for staying in the cities that we select."

SLEP calls for province-wide strategy to promote chemical industry2014-01-28

By Barbara Simpson, from   The Observer

The Ontario government needs to roll out the welcome mat to the chemical industry, says one of Sarnia's top economic officials.

George Mallay, of the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, is calling on the provincial government to create a strategy to attract new business in the oil, shale gas and bio-based industries to Ontario.

“I think the government needs to have a strategy and indicate that Ontario is open to business in terms of the chemistry industry – and I think it is – but I think we need a strategy and action plan and resources tied together to make stuff happen,” Mallay said.

Ontario is expected to see 600 person-years of employment thanks to the Canadian oil sands, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

Local officials are still working on developing a heavy haul route to allow local fabricating plants to build and easily ship industrial modules for Alberta's oil companies.

Along with a province-wide strategy, SLEP officials are also recommending increasing funding for pilot-scale production facilities as part of the province's upcoming budget.

At one time, the Ontario Demonstration Fund provided 50% of funding up to $4 million to create pilot plants, Mallay noted. Both Woodland Biofuels and KmX Corporation benefited from funding through the program.

However, the provincial fund is no longer accepting applications, he noted.

“Generally it's been difficult to raise funding in Canada for technology projects,” he said.

With capital costs ranging from $200 to $300 million for a commercial plant, Mallay said the province should provide low interest loans and loan guarantees.

BioAmber has received a $15-million low interest loan for its biosuccinic acid plant through the province.

Mallay also pointed to the government's current industrial electricity incentive program as another area for the province to address in its upcoming budget.

At current rates, large industrial users are paying in the range of 10 to 11 cents per kilowatt hour, Mallay noted. In the U.S. Gulf Coast, the cost is 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

Nova Chemicals is considering both Sarnia-Lambton and the Gulf Coast to be home to a new polyethylene plant.

“The province needs to have a program that can enable industrial users to have electricity pricing that is competitive with other global locations,” Mallay said. “In Ontario, electrical prices were historically one of the key economic advantages.”

Sarnia-Lambton in the running for bio-based butanediol facility2014-01-23
By Paul Morden,  from    The Observer

As Montreal-based BioAmber continues construction of a $125-million plant in Sarnia-Lambton, the community is among sites being considered for a second manufacturing facility that the company wants to commission in 2017.

Bio-Amber said this week it has signed a long-term deal that will see Houston-based Vinmar International buy bio-based butanediol (BDO) manufactured at a proposed 100,000-ton-a-year capacity plant. Vinmar also plans to invest in the plant, alongside BioAmber.

Sarnia-Lambton is "definitely" in the running for the BDO facility, said BioAmber CEO Jean-Francois Huc.

"We have not finalized the site-selection process, by any means," he added.

"We probably won't make a final decision until next year."

Huc said sites in both the U.S. and Canada are being considered, and the contract with Vinmar is expected to help secure project financing.

"Vinmar has a proven track record of selling large volumes of BDO, has global logistics expertise and vast experience executing large chemical projects," said Fabrice Orecchioni, BioAmber's chief operations officer.

Work began in 2013 on a bio-succinic acid plant BioAmber is building on Vidal street in Sarnia. The company plans to create 60 permanent jobs there using sugar from corn to produce bio-succinic acid for use in manufacturing products ranging from automotive parts to cosmetics.

"Things are advancing well in Sarnia," Huc said.

"Right now our core push is still on getting Sarnia completed by the end of the year, and getting product shipped out of that plant."

BioAmber produces BDO by combining its succinic acid technology with a catalyst technology licensed from DuPont. The company says its bio-based BDO is cost competitive with BDO made from petroleum for use as a building block chemical in a wide range of products, including polyurethanes, biodegradable plastics and spandex.

The 100,000-ton BDO plant is expected to cost between $330 million and $350 million to build, Huc said.

"There are a lot of reasons to set up in Sarnia, so they are definitely in the running," he said.

"We want to have a site selected and we want to have financing in place in 2015."

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, chairperson of the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, said it will be following up with BioAmber about the possibility of a second plant.

"They are the best ambassadors you could come up with," Bradley said about the way Montreal company's officials talk about Sarnia-Lambton.

"They are just so high on the site, the workforce, the cooperation, and all those things," he said.

Capacity to increase on lesser-known Line 72014-01-23
By Paul Morden, from   The Observer

Work to boost the capacity of Enbridge's Line 7 oil pipeline from Sarnia to Westover, Ont., is expected to carried out next month.

The project to expand the pipeline's capacity from 147,000 to 180,000 barrels a day received approval in October from the National Energy Board.

Enbridge spokesperson Graham White said an inert polymer chemical, known as a "drag-reducing agent," will be injected into the line to reduce friction between the pipe wall and the oil. That will increase the line's capacity without the need to increase the diameter of the pipe, or the pressure, he said.

"It's a fairly common procedure in the pipeline industry."

The line, built in 1957, carries western oil from Sarnia to Westover, Ontario, White said.

The work to expand the line's capacity followed a request from eastern refineries for an increase in access to supplies of western oil, he said.

White said Line 7 went through a series of inspections between 2011 and 2013.

"The line is in very good shape, it's very safe and we've been able to verify that recently," he said.

Information about the project was sent to 14 municipalities along the pipeline, including Sarnia and Lambton County, as well as First Nations, White said.

"There will be no discernible difference from operations for anyone in the public, or landowners, or any other stakeholders," he said.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said the city received two notices about the Line 7 project, but council didn't raise any concerns.

The Ontario Pipeline Landowners Association asked the National Energy Board to hold a full hearing into Enbridge's plans but the board said it wasn't warranted.

White said Enbridge is expecting a decision soon from the National Energy Board on the company's more widely-known application to reverse the flow of oil in its Line 9 pipeline running from North Westover to Montreal. The board has already approved a reversal in the flow on the section of Line 9 from Sarnia to North Westover.

Built in the 1970s, Line 9 originally sent western oil east but the flow was reversed in the 1990s to carry then-cheaper offshore oil west.

As well as returning the pipeline's flow to its original direction, Enbridge wants to expand Line 9's capacity from 240,000 to 300,000 barrels a day.

The Line 9 reversal plan has attracted opposition from environmental groups.

Marcellus shale feedstock gives Lambton plant bright future2014-01-17

By Paul Morden, from   The Observer

The outlook for Nova Chemicals' Corunna plant is very different today than it was just a half decade ago, according to the company's chief executive officer.

Nova's Randy Woelfel spoke about the turnaround during a celebration held at the plant Thursday for the introduction of ethane, piped from the Marcellus shale region of the eastern U.S., as a new lower-cost feedstock for the Corunna facility.  "There's no question that the outlook is fundamentally more positive today than it was just a few years ago," he said.

The Corunna plant was built in 1977 and by 2008 it was aging and struggling financially as it used a mix of oil and natural gas-based feedstocks to make ethylene used in the manufacturing of polyethylene plastics.

"In fact, in 2008, we lost significant money here," said Woelfel. That poor financial performance was repeated in 2009.

"It was not clear whether we could see, ultimately, a long-term future here," Woelfel said.

But, the company saw an opportunity in the emerging Marcellus shale region to take advantage a less expensive feedstock and make the Corunna plant competitive again.

"We got a jump on the rest of our industry and we were a first mover to capitalize on the Marcellus opportunity," Woelfel said.

Nova moved in 2011 to spent hundreds of millions of dollars equipping its Corunna plant to use up to 100% ethane from natural gas, and to connect the site by pipeline to Pennsylvania's Marcellus basin.

That work is now nearly complete, leading to Thursday celebration by Nova officials, alongside community representatives.

"Today, Nova is the first player in North America that is actually taking ethane out of Marcellus, adding value to it, and ultimately putting it into the marketplace," Woelfel.

In December, Nova announced plans to spend another $300 million to expand the Corunna site's capacity by 20%, and upgrade Nova's nearby Moore plant, one of two in St. Clair Township that manufactures polyethylene.

"Which would bring us close to almost $1 billion of capital committed and spent here by Nova since 2009," Woelfel said.

While that work is being done, the company will continue to explore building a new world-scale polyethylene plant, possibly in Sarnia-Lambton, along with an additional expansion at Corunna to feed it.

"The potential is for a multi-billion-dollar investment," Woelfel said.

Technology allowing natural gas to be extracted from shale deposits has been part of a major change in North America's energy industry, but it has also be controversial and has raised environmental concerns.

Woelfel said Nova took that into consideration, early on, when it explored using ethane from the Marcellus region

"It was very important for us, if we were going to hang our hats for the long-term on this source of feedstock, we had to feel comfortable," he said.

He said there's risk in any industrial process but Nova is confident "what we're doing, in fact, is environmentally responsible and sustainable for the long-term."

What they're saying

- "We in St. Clair Township are very pleased and thankful with the foresight that Nova Chemicals had in leading the way to utilize this latest feedstock development." St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold

- "Nova Chemicals is a key partner and anchor company in the region that has shown strong support for Ontario’s manufacturing sector by investing here as part of its long-term growth strategy." Eric Hoskins, Ontario's Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment

- "I want to congratulate Nova Chemicals and the Corunna site on achieving the goal of being the first North American facility to utilize ethane from the Marcellus Shale Basin. Sarnia-Lambton has a long and storied history as a hub of energy and chemistry innovation." Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey

- "Our cracker revamp coupled with the availability of new, cost-competitive feedstock sources creates a great foundation for our recently announced growth plans in the Sarnia, Ontario region." Tom Thompson, Nova Chemicals manufacturing leader in Sarnia

Atelka expansion means 300 new jobs in Sarnia and area2014-01-15
For Immediate Release

Canada’s Largest Independent Contact Centre Chooses Sarnia For New Location

Montreal, January 15, 2014 - Atelka is proud to announce the opening of a new contact centre in Sarnia, Ontario scheduled for March 2014. Operating at full capacity, this new contact centre will employ over 300 full-time customer service agents for one of the company’s major telecommunication clients.

“This announcement is great news for both Atelka and for Sarnia! Representing our 8th Canadian facility, this expansion is completely in line with Atelka’s growth objectives and is testimony to the quality of Sarnia’s employee base. For Sarnia, this news represents hundreds of quality jobs and the potential for significant economic growth in the area,” said Georges Karam, President and CEO, Atelka.

The Atelka-Sarnia collaboration comes at a time when both are celebrating important milestones in their history – Atelka’s 10th anniversary and the City’s 100th anniversary.

“The Atelka announcement is a great opportunity for the residents of Sarnia-Lambton as well as an excellent addition to the Western Research Park. This will be a great opportunity for many local residents to work for a Canadian based contact centre company,” said Mike Bradley, Mayor of Sarnia.

Atelka’s new contact centre, which will be located in the University Of Western Ontario Research Park on Modeland Road, will host two Job Fairs:

January 31st – 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
February 1st – 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

To apply for a job and obtain further details, please visit

Founded in 2003 by two Montreal entrepreneurs, Atelka is a Canadian company offering businesses a complete line of business process outsourcing (BPO) services. Ranked 7th fastest growing company in Quebec by Les Affaires, Atelka is also the largest independent contact centre in Canada employing over 2000 people across 7 sites in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and PEI. Atelka’s business solutions are bilingual and cover all existing client-contact platforms.

Kilmer Capital Partners acquired a majority interest in Atelka in May 2012. Kilmer Capital Partners is a leader in making private equity investments in mid-sized businesses undergoing periods of rapid growth, significant change or ownership transition.

For more information:
Nathalie Bock
Communications and Marketing
514.448.4905 x 2004

Tenancy targets exceeded at Research Park2014-01-15
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - For Immediate Release

Sarnia, ON – The Community Development Corporation has surpassed its targeted 85% tenancy rate for the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park. Atelka has signed a 10 year lease for up to 28,000 square feet of office space, effective March 1, 2014.

Initially, the company plans to hire over 300 employees. The addition of the new tenant is expected to increase the Park's independence and ability to support ongoing research being undertaken at the Park's Bowman Centre by researchers from Western University, Lambton College and several other private enterprises.

With the newly signed lease, the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park has achieved an 87% occupancy rate and is now expected to generate over $3,000,000 in revenue annually.

"The Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park is delivering on its target of increasing the lease occupancy of the Park," says Executive Director Tom Strifler. "The goal is to continuously grow the Park's presence in the community by aggressively seeking out project opportunities and attracting new business."

The Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park was created in November 2003 with the inception of the Community Development Corporation, owned by the County of Lambton. The Research Park manages and operates the property owned by the CDC. It boasts 270,000 square feet of leasable area and is home to a number of high profile tenants including Nova Chemicals, Enbridge, and Worley Parsons.

For more information about Lambton County, visit



Mike Bradley
Community Development Corporation
Telephone: 519-332-0330 ext. 3312

Tom Strifler
Executive Director
Western Sarni9a-Lambton Research park
Telephone: 519-383-8303 ext 245

2014 looks promising for St. Clair Township2014-01-02

By Josh Boyce   From

Lambton Generating Station is officially closed but St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold sees a lot of promise for the area in 2014.

Arnold says although it hurts to lose LGS in the community, there are a few upcoming projects he’s excited about.

NOVA is spending in excess of $300-million at its Corunna and Moore plants, Eastern Power is moving ahead with $360-million gas-fired generating plant, and Shell will begin construction on a new Liquefied Natural Gas unit.

Arnold has been in talks with the various companies and says the projects will use as many local tradespeople and contain as much local content as possible.

Sector viable despite Heinz and Kellogg closings, study finds2014-01-01

By Debora Van Brenk, from  The London Free Press / The Observer

Stifled by regulatory issues and legacy costs such as outdated plants, Canada’s food-processing sector will grow only with concerted efforts to guide new and long-time companies, says a leading Canadian agricultural think-tank.

“You don’t do this on the back of an envelope. You don’t do it at the 11th hour. You need to do this early,” said Bob Seguin, executive director of the George Morris Centre for agricultural policy and author of a report about the imminent departure from Southwestern Ontario of two food giants, Heinz and Kellogg.

Heinz is closing its Leamington tomato-processing plant and Kellogg its London cereal factory, shutdowns that will cost the region more than 1,300 full-time jobs.

Seguin is author of a new analysis of trends in the food-processing industry and concludes it’s a viable sector but needs tweaking and considerable shepherding.

He said consolidation in food-processing will continue in the next 10 years, but other companies will want to enter the marketplace. Enticing and hanging onto companies in Southwestern Ontario will require looking at factors that might be disincentives — unneeded regulations, outdated technologies, government red tape, for example — and figuring out how to overcome them.

It means asking not just “ ‘how can we help you?’ but ‘how else can we help you?’ ” Seguin said. It could also mean more co-ordinated efforts by governments and agencies in job-training, streamlining regulatory approvals and reinvesting in technology.

“Sometimes, the stuff that’s here-and-now needs attention and care and feeding,” he said.

Seguin noted the imminent opening of a frozen pizza plant in London by German company Dr. Oetker is one example how a business can be cultivated, in this case by the private sector and all levels of government.

“It’s not as if we’re getting worse at food processing — we’re getting better,” he said.

But so is the rest of the world.

•$92.8 billion: value of Canadian food and beverage shipments
•14.5%: industry’s share of manufacturing in Canada, second only to transportation
•280,000+: employment
•55%: share of food-processing manufacturing in Ontario and Quebec.

Sources: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, George Morris Centre

For News Archives click here