With all the fervor around the Pan Am games, it's easy to lose sight of other things that are percolating in the city. As reported in The Spec, (see full article here), Siemens Canada has won a massive new order for wind turbines and plans to build a new factory to manufacture blades for them.
Two Hamilton locations are in the running for that new plant . The company said the new plant, the first blade manufacturing site in Ontario, could mean up to 300 direct jobs and another 600 construction positions.
Siemens is closing the Hamilton plant in order to move its production to North Carolina, where it was promised heavy incentives. By directing new work to Hamilton, some argue the company will gain both a chance to recover from that public relations black eye and access to a highly skilled work force it already knows.
The Spec reports that Bill Smith, senior vice-president of the energy sector for Siemens Canada, said a decision about the new plant's location should be made by the end of September. The company is looking at 16 potential locations along the shores of lakes Ontario and Erie between Kingston and Windsor. Two Hamilton locations are in the running.Among the deciding factors will be a location with good road and rail access -- access to a port would also be nice. A large space is required because the turbine blades can be 55 metres long.
Smith said Siemens' existing Hamilton plant has been studied, along with a second unnamed location here. The company has no preference for an established industrial building versus a "greenfield" site.
Employees of the Hamilton plant will be given a chance to apply for positions at the new factory once a location has been chosen. Applications will be taken at a job fair to be held by the company. A similar event for outside applicants will also be held.