July 15, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Volkswagen plant in St. Thomas: Valuable farmland at risk, FAO says

Anne-Marie Trickey

We need to keep our farmland because Ontario is losing 319 acres a day. At this rate, in a hundred years we will have no farms for our agricultural produce.Vice President of CAM, Crispin Colvin.

Farmer Crispin Colvin owns 200 acres of land in the London, Ontario area.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Anne-Marie Trickey

A farmer by nature, Mr. Colvin owns 200 acres of land London and mainly grows corn and soybeans.

We need to protect our farmland to feed ourselves and the world. »

A quote from Crispin Colvin, Vice President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture

It is especially important to be able to feed ourselves from our population [ontarienne] As the world’s population growsHe \ he said.

A garage in front of the farm land.

Crispin Colvin’s farm is near London, Ontario. He mainly grows soybeans and corn.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Anne-Marie Trickey

According to Crispin ColvinA new Volkswagen factory, announced in March, will contribute to the loss of farmland.

And these are not just any lands.

It’s disappointing that this kind of development is happening in southwestern Ontario, because that’s where the best agricultural land is. »

A quote from Crispin Colvin, Vice President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture

We put this plant on our best farm land in the province. Our soil is well graded in Ontario and the best soils are in the SouthwestHe adds.

According to the auto giant, the 370-acre plant is equivalent to 210 soccer fields.

The entire industrial park covers an area of ​​1500 acres. The farmer suggests that more farmland will disappear due to the infrastructure that follows factory construction.

It’s not just the factory, it’s everything to come. Highways, houses and businesses have to be built. Another 2000 acres are at risk of disappearingwill find Crispin Colvin.

From an economic point of view the plant is definitely a great success for the province.He \ he said. But from an agricultural perspective, industrial developments like these reduce our self-sufficiency and our ability to produce the food our people need.

A strategic location

Choice of Saint Thomas According to Flavio Volpe, president of the Association of Automobile Parts Manufacturers, the new factory is well thought out.

Flavio Volpe.

Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Laura MacNaughton

This is the best place for the plant. It is a strategic location that allows easy shipping of products to factories in Ontario and North America.He explains.

Mr. Volpe said St. Thomas has a strong manufacturing culture because the city was once home to an automotive plant: the Ford plant, which closed in 2009.

This project is very important for the future generations of the region. »

A quote from Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association

Saint Thomas, it’s a car town. Yes, the factory costs farmland and I won’t discount that, but when we look at the benefits of that particular land, in that town, there’s no doubt that it’s positive.Flavio Volpe says.

It is also chaired by Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Saint Thomas As the land is large, flat and close to essential services, it is one of the best sites for this plant.

Crispin Colvin Recognizes the economic importance of a Volkswagen plant in Ontario. However, the farmer would prefer Volkswagen and the various governments to install him elsewhere in the province, such as the east or the north, where agricultural land is not as valuable.

Economic benefits to the region

After all, the plant represents significant financial benefits Saint Thomas And the South West Region, Minister Fedeli said.

Vic Fedeli, before the podium, presented the first budget of the Ford government.

Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. (File Photo)

Photo: Radio-Canada / Pierre-Oliver Bernatchez

The Volkswagen plant will create 3,000 direct jobs at Volkswagen, with an additional 30,000 indirect jobs in the same sector, thanks to other companies setting up in the region.He says.

Every square centimeter of this land is used for job creation. This is very important. »

A quote from Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

The federal government plans to invest $13 billion for the Volkswagen plant, while the $500 million investment will come from the provincial government.

For his part, Crispin Colvin CAM He praised these investments for the automotive sector, but he would like to see more investments to ensure the sustainability of Ontario’s agricultural sector.

If we take some of the investment for the battery factory and put it into agriculture, helping young farmers get started in the field, I will definitely pay double.He \ he said. Above all, it helps us protect our lands.

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