$45.3 million investment in Welland Canal to revitalize Port Colborne wharfs

A $45.3-million project to reconstruct wharfs along the Welland Canal was announced last week.

“We recognized that empty, jobless lands along the canal and throughout Niagara Centre, which once employed thousands, were unacceptable,” Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey said in a statement.

Ottawa is contributing $22.7 million and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. is investing $22.6 million.

Wednesday’s announcement, by Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, was held on one of the wharfs to be reconstructed and rehabilitated by the seaway corporation.

Wharfs 18-1, 18-2 and 18-3, on the west side of the canal running from the end of West Street south to ADM milling, have sat vacant for more than a decade due to crumbling walls.

Bowles said the federal government owns the lands, with the seaway managing them.

“We try and develop the lands in a way that will attract more marine business to the region and seaway. That’s what we have here.”

As he spoke, Bowles asked people in attendance to use their imagination as to what the property will look like.

“It will be a centre of activity. There will be storage facilities where we stand and cruise ships pulling up to the new wharves. There will be a power station where vessels can hook up and shut down their engines and generators, with power supplied by our hydro-generating stations along the canal.”

Bowles said the city will see trucks and rail cars moving goods from the area.

“This is only one piece of our plan for the Niagara Trade Corridor, which is a key part of Canada’s supply chain. We’re looking at lands at Ramey’s Bend, just up the canal from here, the Riverland property and Wharf 10 in Welland,” he said.

Port Colborne Mayor Bill Steele said the investment in the land is great for the city.

“It works well with our cruise ship initiative and will allow the larger cruise ships to dock with some depth below them as opposed to using the working Snider Dock. We appreciate all the work Snider has done for us and the cruise ships over the years.” The work will be “transformational for the Niagara regio”n and is the federal government’s way of investing in and strengthening the national supply chain, adding one million tonnes of freight capacity to the area.

Construction will revive the wharves, which are currently out-of-service, to support operations and increase capacity of the trade corridor.

The Welland Canal is a ship canal that connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. It forms a key section of the St. Lawrence Seaway.


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