Wednesday, March 3, 2021

253 new jobs expected, as two C-K businesses are expanding

Approximately 253 new jobs are expected in Chatham-Kent, as two Chatham businesses are looking to expand.

Municipal staff said in a report to Council that Onbelay Automotive Inc. approached the Municipality to consider the sale of Kent Condominium #12, Unit 5 located at 540 Park Avenue East.

“Unit 5 lies adjacent to Onbelay’s current operations and serves as a storage bay, maintenance and wash bay for 40 units of the Municipality’s heavy equipment and specialty vehicles used by Public Works,” a staff report indicates.

“The size of the facility is 25,000 square feet. Meritor Suspension Systems Company (MSSC), 201 Park Avenue East, would like to transfer stabilizer bar production from their Kentucky facility to Chatham-Kent in November of 2020. MSSC product is shipped to Onbelay Automotive Inc. (540 Park Avenue East) for subsequent powder coating, assembly and shipment to Original Equipment Manufacturers.”

At their August 10 electronic meeting, Council approved a staff recommendation for administration to proceed with the $750,000 sale of 540 Park Avenue East, Kent Condominium #12, Unit 5 in Chatham to Onbelay Automotive Inc.

Council also approved and directed staff to proceed with the design and construction of a new building at the Park Avenue Business Centre (PABC) at an estimated net investment of $2,750,000.

Municipal staff said the resulting new employment is 253 jobs with an incremental annual payroll of $17-million.

Here is how the jobs break-down:

“In terms of the type of jobs being created, in 2018, the Chatham-Kent Prosperity Round Table announced that the living wage in Chatham-Kent was $34,000 per year,” a staff report says.

“The projected new jobs created pay well above this figure and are in line with the manufacturing national annual salary average of $52,000. Eight of the new jobs at MSSC will comprise a Product Development team of college or university degreed engineers.”

Staff said it was noted that with the sale of Unit #5, both manufacturing companies will reduce operating costs as well as their environmental footprint due to a reduction in transportation and movement of goods.

Also, Unit 5 was never designed to be used as a Public Works facility, staff said in a report.

“There is sufficient space available at the current PABC site to build a new Public Works garage and capture all the synergies with existing resources and other departments,” staff said in a report.

“It is proposed that a new building be located at PABC or potentially added to the new Fleet garage. A reduction in the current footprint is feasible because the facility will be specifically designed for Public Works operations”.

Staff added: “The new 20,000 sq. ft. facility including all site works will cost an estimated $3,500,000 with a life of 75 years. All of the current deficiencies in the Public Works garage listed previously will be corrected which will improve the overall efficiency and the health and safety of employees.”

Read the staff report, here.

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