DAN CEARNS The Standard
DURHAM: Durham Region Chair John Henry gave those in attendance at a recent Scugog Chamber of Commerce luncheon an upbeat update on the Region’s initiatives.
They held the luncheon on Thursday, June 27th at the Latcham Centre in Port Perry.
The Regional Chair called Durham Region “one of the fastest growing regions in the country.”
He also spoke about ongoing construction work in the region.
“We have projects in every part of the Region of Durham today,” Chair Henry said.
Durham’s Regional Chair said the first seven months since taking on that role have been “challenging”, especially when General Motors made the announcement in November they were closing the Oshawa plant.
“A signal was sent through the Region we were going to have difficult times,” Chair Henry said.
However, GM later announced in early May they would make a large investment to transition the plant from vehicle production to stamping, sub-assembly and testing of autonomous and advanced technology vehicles.
“General Motors realized how important the talent level of this community was,” Chair Henry said, adding this deal will allow for Durham to be involved with the “next evolution of vehicles.”
The Regional Chair also told those in attendance the unemployment rate in Durham is low, calling it “an amazing story for our young people.”
“There are opportunities right here,” Chair Henry said.
Chair Henry then gave his vision for the Pickering Airport.
“I believe those lands should be farmed. I absolutely believe they can be farmed in conjunction with an airport,” he said.
The Regional Chair said he believes some jobs lost at the GM plant can be replaced by airplane assembly jobs.
He also believes strongly in the removal of tolls on Highway 412 and Highway 418.
“Our residents helped pay for the infrastructure of every road connecting to the 407 in the province of Ontario, so why are we paying tolls to use those two roads?” Chair Henry said.
The Regional Chair praised Port Perry’s Hospital as “the most up-to-date hospital in all of Ontario.”
Overall, with a growing population in Durham, Chair Henry said “it is our time, it is the perfect storm. We have enough land, we have the talent.”