December 13, 2017
By Dave Johnson, Tribune Staff
Construction of GE’s Welland Brilliant Factory is moving at a fast and furious pace, says Mayor Frank Campion.
“I was there two weeks ago. It’s amazing how quickly it’s being put together,” Campion said of the 45,000-square-metre facility under construction in Harry Diffin Industrial Park on the west side of Highway 140 between Buchner Road and Silverthorn Street.
The mayor said he’s been to the site a few times now, starting with when the concrete foundation was poured and when walls were being assembled.
His latest visit saw him tour inside the facility, where at least 300 people were working.
While city council doesn’t get regular updates on the construction, there is a city building inspector on site monitoring the work. That inspector is dedicated to the site and knows the project intimately, the mayor said.
“We’re really more notified if there are any problems, and we haven’t had any issues. Things are running smoothly.”
Campion said GE is very pleased with the co-operation it has received from the city and the on-site building inspector, especially due to its schedule and tight deadlines.
“It keeps the project moving forward at a good rate. Time is money,” he said of the co-operation.
It’s also a competitive edge Welland offers, the mayor added. He said it allows the city to get developments into the ground and under construction quickly.
Campion said during his walkthrough of the facility, he saw familiar faces amongst the contractors working on site. Those contractors are both from Welland and across Niagara, he added.
All of those workers, Campion said, create spinoff business for the local economy.
“Those people are going shopping and to restaurants getting food.”
All of those workers should be off the site when it starts production sometime next summer.
“They’re shooting to be up and operating sometime in July.”
While work continues both inside and outside the facility, Campion said nearby roadwork, connected to the GE project, on Highway 140 was recently completed. The highway was widened to allow for turning lanes in both directions at Buchner Road.
“With the increase in traffic coming to the plant it was a great idea to have that intersection signalized. It will help prevent accidents.”