Councillor wants city to establish PPE production to see return of manufacturing jobs
If Councillor Ron Ashmore has his way Kawartha Lakes could one day be a manufacturing hub for PPE, therapeutics, and vaccines.
A majority of council, at the committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 12, recommended a written proposal from the Ward Six councillor to investigate attracting medical manufacturers with hopes of reducing the area’s concerning 9 per cent unemployment rate.
Ashmore would like to see the 120 acres of city-owned property on the northeast side of Lindsay on Highway 36 become the home to as many of these vitally important companies as the city can attract. Ashmore is hoping an industrial hub can be established there despite the city having declared this property surplus.
“Canada is experiencing a dire need for medical supplies and other PPE equipment since the pandemic hit our shores in March 2020,” Ashmore wrote.
“Ontario and Canada are very vulnerable for the foreseeable future as we are dependent on a global supply chain of healthcare products.”
Ashmore continued, “Given that Canada is in need and short supply of critical products like therapeutics, PPE and vaccines we need to step up and begin manufacturing these products again.”
He is hoping the city would attract companies to Kawartha Lakes using a combination of inexpensive and easily available real estate and a decision made by council in 2019 to drop all commercial development charges to 0 per cent for the first 27,000 feet of newly constructed facilities.
“By encouraging such a medical supply manufacturing park we are creating jobs, generating taxes for our municipality and, most importantly, saving lives by manufacturing our own healthcare supplies,” Ashmore wrote.
In his presentation of the letter to council Ashmore stated, “We have the land available. PPE should not be made 11,000 kilometres away.”
Mayor Andy Letham asked Ashmore if he had spoken to Economic Development regarding his proposal.
Ashmore responded that he had, but Economic Development would not proceed with taking action until council was behind the idea.
More concrete action on this initiative is expected if Ashmore’s proposal receives approval at the formal council meeting on Jan. 28.